The Dirth of Superheroes on the Small Screen

Andy Greenwald, writing for Grantland:

The reason Marvel’s shared movie universe made waves was the visual impact of seeing its iconic characters brought to life, sure. But the reason it continues to make money — truly insane, Tony Stark/Warren Worthington amounts of money — is due precisely to the sort of sprawling serialization usually found on TV.10 TV can’t beat movies by fighting over the unwanted crumbs of empire, the dwindling reserves of crime-fighting C-listers. (Matter-Eater Lad: The Series, coming soon to Hulu Minus!) TV can’t beat movies because, in this instance, movies already won by being TV.

But here’s where the Uncle Ben/Jor-El life lesson comes in. Historically the best television never comes from settling for the stories other mediums won’t tell; it occurs when TV champions the stories that other places can’t.

It’s amazing to me that the current landscape of TV serialization and world-building hasn’t led to more and better superhero TV shows. That could change and hopefully will because the current TV environment is ripe for a masked adventure — beyond the CW’s ‘Arrow’ of course, which is enjoyable on a certain “guilty pleasure” level.

Time will tell if ABC and Joss Whedon can make ‘Agents of SHIELD‘ work for TV.

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