'Arrow' debuted on the CW Network last night and reviews are mixed but leaning positive. If we can take previous CW successes as an indicator, 'Arrow' should have the legs to last for a couple of seasons at the very least. The series is certain to make a name for Stephen Amell, the hunky face portraying the Oliver Queen character from DC Comics. The star of the "Green Arrow" ongoing series, part of DC Comics' New 52, Oliver Queen has been brought to life on the screen with emphasis on realism and plausibility, despite the superheroism at the center.
Despite the endless craze of superhero films on the silver screen, certain heroes just seem like they would work better on television than in a 2-hour feature epic. I can't imagine a Green Arrow feature film but the television series seems to place the appropriate scope on an individual hero with their own motivations. A far cry from 'Smallville' and the global scale of some of the threats contained therein, 'Arrow' is a smaller show for a smaller character. So which other comic book characters would benefit more from a television series than a feature?
RED ROBIN (DC Comics)
Timothy Drake, a former Robin and sidekick of Batman, has grown into his own man. As Red Robin he leads the Teen Titans in the comic series of same name and he has been officially adopted as Bruce Wayne's son, heir to the Wayne empire. Tim was trained by both Batman and Nightwing (a former Robin himself) and his personality represents a blend of each. While not the dark and brooding loner that Batman is, he isn't the heroic leader that Dick Grayson (Nightwing) has become either. Drake is a man who knows what it takes to lead and has no difficulty with the tough decisions. His rifts with Batman have been more pronounced and prolonged than Bruce ever experienced with Dick, as their stubbornness leads Tim to want to prove himself and take care of situations his own way.
Baddie's Take: I would showcase Red Robin on the small screen as a character setting out on his own, out from under Batman's shadow. In a world where Batman exists and is feared, Red Robin is a relative unknown; I would show Tim using this to his advantage and posing as an assassin in order to infiltrate various criminal organizations. To explain the lack of Batman in the series (at least full time), set the show somewhere other than Gotham and make it clear that Batman does not condone Red Robin's plan and the lengths he'll have to go in order to fit in. Toss in a love interest both for Red Robin and for Tim as a young buck in Wayne Enterprises and you've got yourself a series with direction and intrigue. And the constant tease of a possible appearance of the Dark Knight, naturally...
VENOM (Marvel Comics)
Now before you start having flashbacks of the horrors of Topher Grace's Venom in 'Spider-Man 3,' I want to be clear that I am speaking about the current Venom from the "Venom" ongoing series at Marvel Comics. The symbiote that bonded with Eddie Brock and turned him into a villian-then-hero tweener has now bonded with Eugene "Flash" Thompson. Thompson is a double-amputee, a war hero, a recovering alcoholic, and a buddy of Peter Parker (better known as Spider-Man). In the current storyline, the government has decided that the Venom symbiote is too valuable to simply destroy, opting to train a specific agent to use the suit in the field--so long as he removes it before the alien entity is given time to affect the agent's mind. That agent is decorated military veteran Flash Thompson--let the adventures begin.
Baddie's Take: 'Venom' could be a perfect spy/sci-fi mash-up series. The symbiote that Flash takes into the field not only acts as armor that can morph when necessary--it returns Thompson the use of his legs. When the suit is removed, Thompson's legs end before the knee, however when wearing the suit the symbiote is able to conform to Thompson's thoughts, filling in where his legs used to be. This acts as a perfect cover for protecting Thompson's identity, but it also offers a very interesting twist for a series: the symbiote must be removed periodically in order to prevent a permanent mental bond (which may or may not turn Thompson into a brain-eating psychopath), however there are many possible scenarios wherein Thompson would be unable to remove the suit for fear of revealing his condition and blowing his cover.
Crazy action could be showcased in ever-changing settings, as Venom remains a controversial government weapon which is brought in to dangerous international scenarios as a last resort. If the series stuck to international spy intrigue instead of the crazy drug-addled visits through hell that the comic has fallen victim to, 'Venom' could make a hell of a splash on the small screen.
THE BLACK PANTHER (Marvel Comics)
Ever since the first 'Blade' film, Wesley Snipes has been singing the praises of The Black Panther, trying to get any production company that would listen to agree to finance a feature length Panther picture. That unfortunately never came to fruition but there could be a silver lining if the character was brought to the small screen, where T'Challa (the Panther's real name) could be further explored as a character.
A citizen of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, T'Challa's family was murdered in the ongoing corporate mining struggle engulfing his homeland. The element vibranium (which astute fans may recall from the 'Captain America' and 'Iron Man' films) is mined in Wakanda and as such the most underhanded and murderously despicable corporate thugs have descended upon the region and have gripped it with a criminal element. After growing up, T'Challa assumes the mantle of The Black Panther to bring justice to Wakanda and, eventually, many other areas of the globe.
Baddie's Take: I would take The Black Panther as an opportunity to really delve into an African setting, an area of the globe that is criminally under-represented on American television. Center the story around T'Challa and begin with his rescue of American foreign aid workers, allowing some of the American characters to remain in Wakanda as his supporting cast. From there, I would endeavor to put together a series with lots of speed and acrobatics, treating the Panther as an actual predator stalking his greedy, murderous prey.
Also: if you want to ensure success of the series, there is one name that would be ideal for the starring role: Chiwetel Ejiofor.
There's three characters who could benefit from an 'Arrow'-esque treatment on the small screen. Who would you like to see make the jump from flip-book to flicker? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!