FOX Planning ‘Punisher’ TV Series From ‘Criminal Minds’ Producer

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 31st, 2012 at 11:27 am,

Punisher TV series at FOX FOX Planning Punisher TV Series From Criminal Minds Producer

In the nearly 40 years of his existence, The Punisher has been many things: villain, hero, homicidal maniac and even avenging angel – but the one thing the beloved character has never been is successful in the world of film. So, naturally, Marvel has decided to eschew another film appearance (for the time being) in favor of a television series on FOX.

FOX recently picked up The Punisher with a pilot commitment from former Criminal Minds showrunner Ed Bernero. The series is seen as an hour-long procedural with – wait for it…a new take on the character! That’s right, arguably the most cut-and-dry character in Marvel’s pantheon of heroes is yet again the recipient of what could be a make over that misses the mark.

This time around, as opposed to being a decorated Vietnam veteran with a serious mad-on for criminal types, The Punisher sees Frank Castle as a detective with the New York City Police Department who takes to the streets in his off time, in search of justice as the vigilante known as The Punisher.

While many comic fans expect some tweaking of a character when the jump is made to film or television – is this the version of the Punisher fans have been anxiously awaiting? Though the finer details of the show are not yet known, the concept smacks of Showtime’s Dexter, and to a lesser extent, CBS’ new vigilante drama Person of Interest.

Obviously, unless the show’s producers were convinced an elderly Vietnam vet could realistically embark on the kind vengeance-fueled rampages enacted by the character over the years, The Punisher would be in the market for some modernization. And although the idea of a Punisher series reminiscent of Harry Brown would be intriguing, a simple update, similar to the one seen in Iron Man, would’ve likely done the trick.

Thomas Jane as the Punisher FOX Planning Punisher TV Series From Criminal Minds Producer

It is too early to pass judgment, but after the disappointment of Dolph Lundgren’s 1989 film, Thomas Jane’s equally unsatisfactory 2004 effort and the fairly dismal Punisher: War Zone starring Ray Stevenson, the first move after the character’s rights reverted back to Marvel should elicit fanfare, while it seems this news may instead induce a heavy dose of skepticism.

Most surprising, however, is the fact that the series has landed at FOX, rather than ABC – which not only shares Disney as a parent company with the comics publisher, but also has two Marvel productions in the works with the Guillermo del Toro produced Incredible Hulk television series and AKA Jessica Jones. The sale to FOX suggests that, tonally speaking, The Punisher may be more in line with programs currently airing on that network than the ones on ABC.

Whether or not that is a bright spot for the proposed series remains to be seen.

However it turns out, the road to series is a long one for The Punisher, but expect it to be paved with the opinions of some very dedicated comics fans. Hopefully it won’t be the same kind of failure that the now-canceled Wonder Woman TV show was.


Be sure to follow Screen Rant for more news on The Punisher as it is made available.

Source: Deadline

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  1. If they could make the TV series have the same level of grit, action and gore as the #DirtyLaundry short starring Thomas Jane, yet keep a decent story going then I’m 100% certain that it would make it as a TV show. However I can’t help but feel that as a TV show it would be toned down which would definitely take away from “The Punisher” feeling we all want.

    • Thomas Jane is the Punisher. Anyone else would be lame…

  2. Wouldn’t having the Punisher as a New York cop just be a retake on Max Payne rather than the actual Punisher character?

    As much as I liked elements of both Thomas Jane’s and Ray Stevenson’s Punisher portrayals, I think “Dirty Laundry” has done it best so far. The Punisher should still be a military vet, though not necessarily a ‘Nam vet. I would much rather see the character as he was intended, rather than toned down for the masses, losing the flavour and background of the character.

    • Was thinking the same thing. Though Max Payne 3 sure deviates. Come to think of it, Max Payne would make a FANTASTIC HBO or Showtime (or AMC) series. Action-based noir that changes locales every couple of seasons with dramatic shifts in Max’s physique and demeanor.

      I think the storyline to Max Payne 3 and the hopefully upcoming MP4 would interweave as the finale. I also think the series should go “Wire” or “(Insert British series here)” style. Where they establish that it lasts only 5-6 seasons with a fairly clear arc and that’s it.

      AS for Frank, I think he should be a Gulf War 1 AND Two vet. Make him in his mid-30s (but played but a young 30 or even 29 year old who is given make-up, that way we can cast someone who cna play the part but look not only unnaturaly aged due to the punishment he has inflicted onto himself, his lifestyle of living in the depths of human darkness 24/7, etc…

      The style I’d like to see would, as strange as this sounds, would be a mixture of the tone from darker X-Files and “Millenium” episodes, with some of that “Shield” grit and some really great, sometimes awesomely-technical dialogue ala “The Wire” with a heavy dose of “Spartacus”-styled action. Since it is based on a comic book, I think the action scenes should play out like a (very) graphic novel.

      For ay who watch Dexter, btw. Ray Stevenson (I love ALL the Punisers, just not the scripts, or direction, though I like Warzone more than most. I just wish Thomas Jane had the part, as perfect, physiqually as Ray was. TJ is a true fan) pulled some serious Punisher-esque s*** in last weeks episode. They dubbed him “The Terminator” but I was really hoping to get a “Punisher” reference out of him. Though I guess my beloved Frank Castle isn’t TOO well known. Though most people I ask know of him

      My casting would be Thomas Jane, first and foremost, let him bulk up a bit, slick his hair back instead of that crap from the first movie. Grey it up, etc. If not him I think Ray or even Dolph would be great (though obviously they’d have to make Dolph do the “Vietnam, Gulf War 1 AND 2 vet.” Dolph is essentially the Punisher, physiqually, same height, size, combative ability, raw strength, intimidation. Dolph really was the perfect Punisher, Ray looked the most like him (Though if oyu look at Dolph compared to the early 90s Frank, they REALLY look alike). TJ is the most passionate, but the smallest. Anyway, outside of the former Franks…

      Who would you pick?

      He can be decent looking, but has to be 6 feet or 6’2-4 if possible and be able to bulk up to 210, he doesn’t need to be overly toned. I’d say a 6’2 James Marsters (Spike in S4-5, he was really buff, now imagine him with the same tone but bigger, proportionally, darker hair, and using his American accent, thoguh less…Texan. He’d look JUST like several versions of Frank I’ve seen drawn). There was that bad guy in Kick Ass and in the first Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey JR version), lord Blackwood.

      In Kickass he showed he could physiqually do the stuff. He’s italian, he has the look, fits the age bill (30s-48, for the characcter)

      I’m really trying to think of up-and-commers I’ve seen lately. If that guy who played Ray Speltzer (the masked killer in the recent Dexter episode, he even intimidated Dex!) showed he could deliver more on-screen presence and got his hair right, he’d look exactly like a “Circle of Blood” Frank.

      Can someone come up with some better suggestions than me? Please?! :P

      If David Boreanaz had the right voice, I actually think he’d make a really good Frank Castle, I actually still think he could. He’s the master of the brooding.

  3. No, the Punisher should be played by someone in there late 30′s or 40′s… not a 20 year old for god sakes… I mean are you kidding me???? Dolph has never been able to act and he didn’t look nor act like the character at all… god your ideas suck!

    Thank god this whole Dexter/Punisher crap never happen. But instead we’ll get anime crap in April…

  4. what? i seen the The Punisher 2004 film over 10 times, and i still would watch it again and again, and i’m waiting for the tv series, hope it gets a bloody mess

  5. it should be very dark in feel with some dark humour too. great action and suspense. i just watched The Blackwidow and Punisher anime film and it was really on the mark. i think with the punisher you shouldnt lose his marvel roots.