When it comes to DC Comics and television, there’s no short supply of great shows to talk about that have come along in one format or the other. Sure, you have your duds like that weird, Evanescence-lite version of Birds of Prey in the early 2000s, but that’s more than balanced out by most series featuring Batman, Justice League, Teen Titans, and more recently, the slew of interconnected CW shows that are well-liked overall and are only getting better each year.
Marvel has found tremendous success with its streaming-only shows that ladder up to the Defenders team up on Netflix, and they’ve certainly been highlights for having the freedom to feature more mature content you can’t get away with on strict primetime networks like CW, Fox, ABC, and so on. For that reason, it only makes sense for Warner Bros. to explore this kind of branching out as well, perhaps through something even more exclusive like HBO, which they already have a good relationship with.
Either way, the point is that there are plenty of great DC characters and teams that would work incredibly well on the small screen, but they might not be quite the right fit for something you’d expect to see from Berlanti’s brand on The CW. Here are just a few examples we might (and should) see next, starting with…
#10 The Question
First showing up in the 80s as Amanda Waller’s employer, Vic Sage has grown into a more established character over the years mostly recognized for his “faceless mask” and ties with the Justice League.
What makes the Question great fodder for a show lies in his complicated backstory and how it informs his off-color philosophies. He’s very zen for a detective, but he’s quite capable in a fight, as well. He should be at the top of any DC show pitch that is looking for something that combines both noir and mystery in a way that fans will take seriously.
#9 DC’s Grayson
I’m as big a fan of Nightwing as anyone, but if a show were to truly provide something new and fresh with the character, they’d be smart to borrow from the more recent run of “Grayson,” which drops the blue and black costume in favor of a more spy-themed version of the former Robin.
The set up is pretty simple: Dick Grayson has been outed as Nightwing, so he fakes his death and joins Spyral, a spy agency with some clear ties to the greater Batman mythology. This is a great premise for a character-driven show that’s just the right size in scale without devoting too much time to ideas and storylines we’d sooner see in a big screen movie.
#8 The Royal Flush Gang
These iconic Batman villains have had so many different origins and team variations, it’s kind of hard to describe them in any sort of comprehensive way. They’re mostly known for being a highly specialized team of heist robbers (usually a family) who identify as different playing cards.
There are a lot of great villains to choose from, honestly, but what makes the Royal Flush Gang so much fun for a sprawling series is in how you’re watching a family ensemble interact and react, as some of them are more evil than others, and there are possible story beats that involve tradition and the actual legacy of the gang.
#7 DC’s Booster Gold
TV loves a good fish-out-of-water story, and Booster Gold’s is one of the more humorous ones to choose from, without making the character too much of a caricature. Hailing from the future as a failure, Booster Gold traveled back in time with stolen technology to become a famous superhero, though it doesn’t turn out quite as well as he expected.
What makes Booster Gold so likable and entertaining across multiple stories is definitely the fact that the starts off in a very bad place as a character, eventually moving toward true heroism despite his bad intentions.
#6 DC’s Wonder Twins
You probably remember these wacky twins from late 70s re-runs of Superfriends (they first appeared in The All-New Superfriends Hour). They’ve since become more of a punchline than anything else, with each twin capable of shape-shifting into something either barely useful or hilarious.
The Wonder Twins have been revamped a few times for comics and television over the years, sometimes being rewritten as more mature or grounded. But an edgy comedy featuring these two characters in their prime is probably what would make Wonder Twins a huge hit that can reinvent these fun heroes in a way that’s fitting for these pop culture weirdos.
#5 DC’s Phantom Zone
I’ve always found the Phantom Zone to be one of the more interesting prisons in the DC universe, despite how limited it really is in how it stores its villains in some iterations.
But as I was thinking of interesting “prison” formats you could base around a show, I kept coming back to the idea of introducing the Phantom Zone as a massive dimensional plane where the biggest scum of the universe have to deal with each other as they spend eternity in isolation.
Maybe it’s too crazy of an effects budget, and it would obviously require a lot of creative liberty (and creativity itself) for the whole premise to work, but if there were some sort of villain ensemble show out there that combined the best DC villains with newer, maybe even badder characters, I’d be interested in a flash.
#4 DC’s Cyclone
Red Tornado is another great DC character who just doesn’t have that accessible look you need for movies and shows. But his granddaughter, Maxine Hunkel, definitely fits the bill as Cyclone, a regular member of the Justice Society of America.
A single series that focuses on her and the Red Tornado legacy would be fascinating and warmly welcomed by longtime fans, but its the possible interactions with other great characters like King Chimera (Cyclone’s potential love interest) who could do well to further broaden the scope of the DCEU.
#3 DC’s Blue Beetle
I’ve always been more partial to the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, but Jaime Reyes is the clear choice for a younger, more conflicted character who can try to unleash the power of the Scarab.
The set up is almost a bit too familiar, in that it centers around a young kid who gets in over his head after stumbling upon advanced alien technology that turns him into a superhero, only Jaime’s main problem is that the Scarab is meant to possess him and turn him into an agent for an invading race, but it’s damaged before getting to him and has to cede some control. What follows next is a literal power struggle as Jaime has to use destructive powers for good in El Paso, Texas.
We all want to forget about that terrible Shaq movie featuring the character in the 90s, so a singularly focused drama about John Henry Irons is almost a necessity at this point.
Set in a world where Superman exists but isn’t around anymore, John Henry Irons creates “Steel,” a suit of armor that lets him lightly mimic the Man of Steel’s powers. His story is filled with a lot of personal tragedy, but hard work and determination as well, since he’s one of the few DC icons who literally forged his own path as a superhero.
#1 DC’s Static
Most Static Shock fans I know basically grew up on the animated show, which has been over for so long, that it seems like perfect timing to revisit the character in a more mature, cinematic way (though he has popped up occasionally in animated shows in the last decade). Warner Bros. has reportedly been developing a live-action series for Static since 2014, but we’ve heard nothing official about it since.
Similar to The Flash, the stories for Static have usually centered around Virgil Hawkins gaining his powers after a mutagenic wave sweeps his home city of Dakota. So not only does he have powers, but plenty of other people, from inner city thugs to debutantes, have also been granted extraordinary gifts. In that case, a show featuring Static would be smart to avoid this kind of rehash, since it’s been so prominent in Flash, but the real fun of Static’s world is in how superpowers are represented through street crime and other themes that mainstream comic book characters usually overlook.
Did I miss any characters you would love to see in a DC show sooner, rather than later? Let us know your list below.