With the recent news that Brandon Routh’s Ray “Atom” Palmer may be headed for a CW series of his own and that Vixen will be receiving her own animated, web-only series, its apparent that the network is looking to expand its super-hero universe in as many ways as possible.
As network execs look to the future, it’s important that they attempt to diversify their offerings from a gender perspective. While the Vixen animated series is certainly a step in the right direction, it’s animated online format comes with disadvantages. It’s exposure will be relatively limited compared to the prime time live-action likes of the Flash, Arrow, and the possible Atom series. It also doesn’t offer a real opportunity for an actress of color to strut her stuff.
With that in mind, here are a couple of options that the CW should look to explore as they move forward.
Tatsu Yamashiro has a checkered past in print, having been member of The Outsiders, The Birds of Prey, and the Justice League. Her solo series in the New 52 didn’t last very long, but she has already started to show her value in other forms of media. As a cast member on the animated Batman: Brave and the Bold, Katana was heralded as a fantastic addition by none other than Batman super-fan and Fat Man on Batman producer/host Kevin Smith.
She is also already a part of the Arrow-verse canon. While Rila Fukushima’s version of Tatsu has yet to don a costume, viewers have already seen the first appearance of the sword-wielding femme fatale and gotten a taste of her skills with a blade. Granted, that version of the character still has a good length to travel on the path which leads her to becoming a costumed assassin. While Arrow hasn’t steered completely clear of playing fast and loose with established canon, we don’t want to spoil things for devoted viewers. Let’s just say it would be a good idea not to get too attached to her beautiful family.
A Katana series focused on Tatsu’s quest for vengeance and struggle to control the power she finds herself in possession of would make for compelling television, a sort of fusion of The Fugitive and Alias as she travels the world seeking to cut down evildoers with righteous fury.
If Katana’s Soultaker sword can be considered in play, then magic of a purer sort should certainly be on the table. Who better to encapsulate that world for the CW than their own resident sorceress supreme: Zatanna.
With the CW about to close the book on a decade of Supernatural and Constantine still maintaining residence over at rival network NBC, there is room in the CW’s schedule for a series which deals with the things which go bump in the night. The concept of following the young sorceress as she deals with the death of her father and attempting to master the powerful magics at her command while attempting to keep the blissfully ignorant world safe from ghouls, goblins, witches, and warlocks could prove potent for the network as it looks to move on from the brothers Winchester.
In a television market hungry for the eyeballs of young, female viewers, a Stargirl series starring an optimistic, upbeat young girl working to change the world through the power of social media as much as with the stellar-energy-powered weaponry she wields could be a huge hit. Courtney Whitmore’s lone live-action appearance on the Geoff Johns-penned “Absolute Justice” two-part episode of Smallville showed that it was possible to do her costume and power-set well on television without coming off as campy.
This is also an ideal time to raise the profile for a relatively new character who has graduated from a poorly selling Justice Society title in the pre-Flashpoint DCU to being a founding member of the Justice League of America in the New 52. That version of the character, which saw her push back against her government’s attempts to pigeonhole her into the role of bubble-wrapped poster girl for their pet super team, could strike a chord with young women who are sick of being told that there is anything they can’t do.
Birds of Prey
Obviously the first attempt at this show didn’t go that well. The 2002 WB Birds of Prey series was a critical and ratings bomb and was quickly cancelled. Despite that, it’s a solid concept which deserves a second chance. The 7.6 million viewers who turned into the ill-fated premiere demonstrate that the interest level in the show was extremely high, and now is the perfect time to bring it back.
Where the original suffered from a muddled version of the core cast which depicted Huntress as a super-powered daughter of an absent Batman and Catwoman, a revamped version could feature characters pulled from the highly successful Arrow series. The Helena Bertinelli version of the Huntress has already appeared in multiple episodes, and the midseason premiere is set to show Laurel Lance finally debut her Black Canary identity. What’s more, there is already a built-in dynamic of conflict between Helena and Laurel which goes back to the first season of Arrow. Their aggressive relationship would make for excellent on-screen plot fodder, and would keep the show from being too comfortable, too fast.
The role of Oracle would present difficulties given Warner Brothers’ reluctance to introduce Batman-focused elements on the small screen, a suitable replacement already exists on Arrow in the role of Felicity Smoak. The blond-haired genius has struck a serious chord with fans and, given her history of falling for costumed adventurers like Oliver Queen and Ray Palmer, a change of scenery and companionship could be just what the character needs.
This one may seem a little out of left field, but if DC/WB can learn one thing from Marvel Studios approach to television, its that comic book fans are hungry for content which deals with the struggle of women throughout history. Though ratings on Agent Carter dipped a bit in its second week, the concept has proven a hit with fans.
Sally Jupiter would be able to touch on many of the same themes, and the Watchmen cachet which would accompany the character would surely help boost interest.
A series chronicling the early adventures of Sally as she tries to make a name for herself as a crime fighter would be able to utilize the gorgeous 40’s aesthetic while delving into much darker territory than Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter.