Arrowed: Deadman

The feature inspired by great cosplay and fan art where I imagine various DC properties taken to the small screen and wonder aloud just what their shows would be like. Today's pitch: Deadman.
Fan art by: White Lemon (on DeviantArt) with Javier García Mediavilla as Deadman and Florencia Sofen Muir as Madame Xanadu, photography by Jonathan Duran

Constantine hasn't fared to well, but my idea for a supernatural-themed DCU series is Deadman. First, there's a built-in arc story there, with Boston Brand looking for his own murderer, which connects to the League of Assassins from Arrow, and uses a "hook" (I kill me) similar to Gotham's. In other words, the assassin need not be the same as in the comics, and regardless, who put out the hit? The arc could last a good two years as we inch closer to the truth. It was the high concept that sustained the Deadman strip originally, and the character never really manage to be an effective headliner after it was over, so start there, definitely, and milk it for all it's worth. Unlike Constantine, Deadman has a superhero-y element that makes it more obviously a comic book series, riding that wave of popularity in ways Constantine might have failed to capitalize on with the "not-we's". Being more fantastical, Deadman would allow for more extreme characters and concepts to bleed through, yet would still work as a "possess & help" weekly action show.

Deadman's powers are fairly easy to achieve on a TV budget, mostly floating and transparency. To keep our main actor in the role, I'd probably go Quantum Leap with his possession power, and Boston, out of fright make-up, and in the possessed body's clothes. Probably some juddering effect to remind the audience every so often he's in a particular body (not just the mirror trick), and probably a maverick stunt in the pilot or finale where he jumps bodies during a sequence, with all the costume changes that would entail.

As the above picture suggests and inspires, Deadman would also be our link to the mystical side of the DCU, fulfilling the promises made in Constantine (Dr. Fate's helmet in that show's pilot, for example). Madame Xanadu as the psychic who can see him and love him? That's a good start. Having Constantine appear? That'd be nice. I'd love to see some Jason Blood and Etrigan as well. Obviously, anyone in Justice League Dark could become a recurring character (yes, I know a film has been rumored, but such things haven't stopped the Suicide Squad or various Justice Leaguers from appearing on TV). One thing I'd do away with is Nanda Parbat and Rama Kushna. Just writing down those words provided cognitive evidence that they wouldn't play well on TV. It never worked for me in the comics either, the Eastern mysticism an odd fit for a ghost characterized as an American everyman. So keep that stuff out, though I know DC's answer to Shangri-La has been referenced on Arrow.

Magic, mystery, romance, and a huge chunk of the DCU rife for exploitation. What would YOU do with it?


Jeff R. said...

I sort of don't think that you can really do the Quantum Leap gag for anything other than Quantum Leap. But not doing it gives a TV show a real problem; you can't cast a lead role and then have them not there most of the time (See The Human Target).

Then there's the general creepiness/violational character of Deadman's main power on top of that. And that there are lots of other DCU vehicles that would work even better for mystery-of-the-week+mythology big mystery formats. (The Dibnys and The Dobbs-Belmonts, to name two,) I think I'd want someone else for the Vertigoid corner of the DCU. I'd go with The Demon, but I don't trust TV writers to handle a Rhyming Demon properly and don't want any other version of Etrigan. Maybe Shade. Or Spectre, who basically gets you everything you want from Brand but without the technically and ethically problematic possession schtick.

Jamdin said...

I would rather have a Madame Xanadu series with Deadman as her boyfriend and supporting cast member. Would love to see either of them on the small screen regardless.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine