Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Which Comic Series Should Follow THE WALKING DEAD?

The premiere of AMC's TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard's The Walking Dead ongoing comic book series apparently did very well in the ratings this past Sunday night.  So well, in fact, that it brought in 5.3 million viewers for a 2.7 rating in the 18-49 key demographic, becoming AMC's highest-rated series ever and beating out CBS mainstay series such as CSI Miami and The Amazing Race.

So given the tendency of other television networks to rapidly jump on hot trends, as opposed to developing one of their own, it only stands to reason that they're already looking around for other comic book series they can mine for a series of their own.  And as you might imagine, it just so happens that I have five suggestions already lined up:

1.  Ex Machina -- This brilliant series by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris examines the life of Mitchell Hundred (also known as The Great Machine), the world's first and only superhero, who, in the wake of his actions on 9/11, is elected Mayor of New York City.  The story is set during Hundred's term in office and interwoven with flashbacks to his past as the Great Machine.  Through this, the series explores both the political situations Hundred finds himself in, and the mysteries surrounding his superpowers that allow him to communicate with and control electronics and machinery.  Essentially, it's The West Wing meets Watchmen, which means it probably would work best on AMC or HBO.

2.  Preacher -- This 66-issue series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon tells the story of Jesse Custer, a down-and-out preacher in the small Texas town of Annville.  Custer was accidentally possessed by the supernatural creature named Genesis, the product of the unauthorized, unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon, giving him the power called "The Word" which allows him to command and control others.

Custer, driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, goes on a journey across the United States attempting to literally find God, who abandoned Heaven the moment Genesis was born.  He's joined by his old girlfriend Tulip O'Hare, as well as a hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy.  With Preacher's highly adult themes, I can't see any other network than HBO or Showtime doing this series proper justice.

3.  Transmetropolitan -- A current favorite of mine, despite being out for several years, is a 60-issue cyberpunk series by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson.  It chronicles the struggles of Spider Jerusalem, infamous renegade gonzo journalist of the future, an homage to gonzo journalism founder Hunter S. Thompson.  Spider dedicates himself to fighting the corruption and abuse of power of two successive United States presidents.  Together with his female "filthy assistants," Spider wages a crusade to keep this near-futuristic world from becoming worse than it already is while dealing with the trappings of fame and power, brought about due to the popularity of his articles.  It's a great series disturbingly relevant to today's social and political climate, but the sheer outrageousness could only work on HBO, Showtime or possibly Starz.

4.  Starman -- No, not the old series starring Robert Hays based on the movie starring Jeff Bridges.  This modern classic by James Robinson, Tony Harris and Peter Snejbjerg features the 80-issue saga of Jack Knight, son of the original Starman, Ted Knight, reluctantly taking over his father's mantle after the death of his older brother David.  As something of a "black sheep" of the Knight family with a fondness for antique collectibles rather than superheroics, Jack gradually adjusts to his new role as the protector of Opal City in a layered generational saga reaching to all ends of the DC Comics universe.  Interestingly, this almost became a TV series, until the WB's adaptation of DC's Birds of Prey tanked in the ratings and the project was shelved.  I feel AMC would be the perfect home for such a series, but failing that, it would be a good fit for either FX or TNT.

5.  Global Frequency -- Another series by writer Warren Ellis along with various artists, this is a science-fiction series about an independent, covert intelligence organization headed by a former intelligence agent who uses the alias of Miranda Zero.  There are reportedly 1,001 people on the Global Frequency, forming an active on-call team communicating by specially modified video mobile phones hrough a central dispatch system coordinated by a young woman code-named Aleph.  The purpose of the organization is to protect and rescue the world from the consequences of the various secret projects that the governments of the world have established, which are unknown to the public at large.  The basic premise here is Mission: Impossible meets The X-Files and this also almost became a WB television series, even getting to an actual pilot episode starring Michelle Forbes as Miranda Zero.  I have to think that FX, TNT or even FOX (provided FOX could keep from cancelling it within 6 episodes or less) would be a good home for such a series.
So those are my suggestions.  How about yours?

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