Over the last few years, movies and television series based on comic books have proven to be hugely popular -and big money bringers – all around the world. On the big screen, films like The Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America franchises have been racking up both viewer and critical acclaim alike. Indeed, in 2014, six of the top ten grossing films of the year were actually linked to a graphic novel.
When it comes to TV shows, you’re equally spoilt for choice. If you’re keen to make sure you’re not missing any of the coolest comic-book based TV shows available, read on for three of the best you should know about.
While the 2003 Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck didn’t generate rave reviews from critics or fans, the new Marvel’s Daredevil television series is proving more popular. The latest take on the Marvel hero premiered in April on Netflix. The show is a collaboration between Marvel and Netflix, and is actually only the first in a line-up of four that are planned to date.
Marvel’s Daredevil revolves around the character of Matt Murdock, also known as the Daredevil, who was introduced in the Marvel comic books and has been a popular figure ever since. Murdock is a blind defence attorney who uses his enhanced remaining senses – phenomenal hearing, in particular – to act as a crime fighting vigilante each night, going up against the many bad guys in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, where he resides.
This Daredevil series has a dark, realistic, and gritty edge (much like the recent Gotham TV show). Since the hero doesn’t have flashy super powers or come from outer space, like many other superheroes, the show doesn’t need to rely on a huge number of special effects. Indeed, since it began airing, the series has garnered rave reviews for the intimate, realistic, and often one-take fight scenes that are so well suited to the television screen.
Matt Murdock is played by Englishman Charlie Cox in the series. His is a face that TV viewers might recognise from the second and third seasons of HBO’s popular Boardwalk Empire show, or from the lead role in fantasy/action film Stardust. The actor is now set to reprise his role playing the Marvel superhero next year, as the show has already been renewed for a second season that will air in 2016.
If you prefer your lead characters to be of the un-dead variety, make sure you check out the new iZombie series. The show is produced by The CW network (popular with hip young adults for series like The Originals and The Vampire Diaries) and created by Rob Thomas, the man behind the well-regarded Veronica Mars TV show.
‘ iZombie is loosely based on a DC Comic, and focuses on the life of Olivia Moore, played by Rose McIver, a New Zealand actress best known for her debut in The Lovely Bones film. Olivia – or “Liv” as she’s called by her friends and family – is a promising young doctor until she’s turned into a zombie and becomes un-dead.
Liv Moore (a cheeky play on words considering she can’t “live” more at all now that she has zombie status) has to live her new life eating brains for sustenance. She also has to deal with colour-challenged skin and hair, and the occasional onset of “full on zombie mode” where she’s liable to kill or injure people.
The zombie works at a local coroner’s office in order to utilise her medical skills while also obtaining easy access to brains. In addition, she devotes a significant portion of her time to helping a police detective solve crimes, via flashes of memory she receives from the brains of the dead people she eats.
Another popular new show from The CW is The Flash. A spin-off from the Arrow TV series, The Flash debuted late last year and features Barry Allen: The Fastest Man Alive. Played by Grant Gustin, who brings a definite likability to the role, Allen is turned into The Flash after being hit by a supercharged bolt of lightning that gives him his superpower: incredible speed.
Like most costumed crusaders, Barry’s past features tragedy too. He saw his mother die in a strange way when he was young, and his father wrongfully imprisoned for her murder. The mystery of his mother’s death led him into forensic science, and his day job (when he’s not running around saving people) is helping to solve crimes through the scientific analysis of evidence. Like all superheroes, he has plenty of villains to fight, along with help from some sidekicks.
Daredevil logo by Marvel Studios / Netflix on Wikimedia commons.
iZombie logo by The Cw, Warner Bros Television, Dc Comics on Wikimedia commons.
The Flash logo by The CW on Wikimedia commons.