Can we not appreciate the fact that these publishers care enough to bring their material to the TV screen? That is the question which comes to mind when I see how some view these shows and want more than they are really entitled to as fans.
It’s obvious that not everyone will like every superhero TV series that comes out, some might not like them at all. From Arrow, to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to The Walking Dead, there is no shortage of criticisms about them, but that’s fine because they aren’t made for everyone. That is something everyone should understand when watching anything with a focus on comic books. There is understanding the audience and intent of these TV series foremost, and then there is creating the false expectation of the next award-winning TV series that is almost perfect every week. They aren’t out there to win awards or please the whole world, they are made to entertain. Serious or light-hearted adaptations from popular books that engage the world in a way that the books alone can’t. That is entertainment value a its core and a lot these days seem to forget that, and after that all there is to say is this is why we can’t have nice things.
It’s safe to say that some people may have forgotten what these heroes mean to people. Becoming quick to dismiss and insult without being informed because they want to over-think something so simple. This could be comic fans who have no respect for the culture, the general audience who have no respect for the culture, or critics who don’t and never will. People just don’t understand comics, what we have forgotten is why we read them. The respect and entertainment value of them has been lost over time. Always about some deep plot, relating to fictional characters, wanting depth from the very beginning, dismissing jokes as cheesy, wanting everything and excepting nothing else. Forgetting why comic fans take things to heart, why they care what people think, how characters are portrayed, who is neglected from portrayal, their growth, development, the art, why we argue over the smallest issues.
The problem with viewers is that they have become more cynical over time. Overly critical, and looking for logic in things that weren’t meant to be picked apart to such an extent. Tearing down Walking Dead for how people react in a post apocalyptic world, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for how they act as agents rather than normal people, Smallville for its validity, and Arrow for the amount of drama that they focus on. All things that affect how people view these series and forgetting why it’s not important, that would be because they are adapted from comic stories. Stories that you should understand first before treating them like some higher form of storytelling like Breaking Bad.
From the flip of the page to the musk of fresh printed paper. Whether we’re readers, TV viewers, movie goers, there’s a million reasons why we love comics and why we’d invest our time to see them in our living rooms every week kicking ass. Some of these heroes didn’t have that popularity before they hit the big screen and that is what Marvel and DC are trying to build up when it comes to these cinematic worlds they are creating. They are expanding their fanbases to old readers, present readers and non-readers. You aren’t turning the channel to watch the next best show like Breaking Bad, you are watching it to be reminded of how great it is to be a comic fan and show your understanding of them by showing support for more.
I can understand the whole debates such as Arrow vs. Agents, though even then to a certain extent. That is something you can’t change and that is still better than the views others choose to take upon either or both.
Film and television are designed to appeal to general audiences and make as much revenue as possible. The costs of creating movies or a TV series can be astronomical when compared to comics, so studios will opt for what they believe is a sure thing rather than take as many chances with original programming. That means sure thing as in not targeted to you specifically, it won’t be all about what you want.
This year alone we’ve had so many publishers announcing that they are bringing their titles to your living room. So far 12 have been announced and there is a reason to be excited for all of them be it a Marvel, DC, Vertigo, or Image fan. They will not all come out at the same time and will either be connected to other shows or movies, it’s a great time to be a comic fan indeed. But, that is only if you can see what each of them will bring in terms of appeal. Flash, Constantine, Chew, IZombie, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Gotham, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Daredevil, Luke Cage, The Defenders, and Hourman. Could you not say that any one of those you are excited for? For those out there who would call this over-saturation? Keep in mind that cop shows, reality shows, and game shows are all already there.
Like I said with the movies, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. You gain nothing from watching something that’s clearly not something you enjoy, so why do so and subject yourself to disappointment? Don’t just look at it from an outside view, look at it from those who grew up with these heroes and treat them as more than just fiction. Respect that they don’t see it the same way and don’t push to remove something from a medium because it doesn’t meet YOUR standards. Comic book TV series aren’t going anywhere any time soon. There is so much to anticipate, so much to enjoy, and so much to talk about with the thought of these publishers giving us more than one way to experience these stories. Except nothing more and nothing less, they’re comic book TV series, they will reflect the storytelling of comics and will not get into whatever complex tale you think would do better.