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. Hmmmm … would have rather seen it on AMC or FX but I’ll hold off judging too harshly until more info comes out.

  2. War Zone was pretty good. If they are in line with that concept, and are able to show a fair amount of violence in every episode, this might just work.

  3. “Frank Castle is a rising star detective with the New York Police Department who moonlights as the vigilante Punisher, seeking justice for those the system has failed.”

    So he just does not take to the streets. He is seeing the justice system fail and taking matters into his own hands. Daredevil, The Equalizer, Rockford Files, Shaft, etc….

    So lets say a person that preys on children is let off on some technicality. He goes after them. That does not sound like the Punisher I know. (Not that they don’t deserve it)

    His roots are based in Mob/gang/organized crime related incidents. All I see is THE CAPE….. :D

    • My thoughts exactly.

    • daredevil jumped into mind when i read it on a different website…baiscally taking his manhood away in my opinon if they stick with this version

  4. I’m a little worried about this. If the show was to be on hbo, showtime, or even fx I may be a little more optimistic. I don’t believe you can have the grit and gore to justify the punisher on network television.

  5. Wait, so does this mean the possibility of a new Punisher movie produced by Marvel Studios is out of the question or would this be completely separate? Because I thought since Stevenson has a relationship with Marvel with his role in Thor, that they might actually bring him back for a second chance in playing Frank Castle… Unless they get him to play him in the tv series, he definitely has experience in playing a lovable killer from his time on HBO’s Rome. Don’t think I have ever thought a character to be “lovable” and a vicious bad-ass killer as much as when I saw Titus Pullo on Rome… :-D

  6. Two thumbs down and a fart. I really don’t like that it will be on Fox which means it will be canceled as soon as it gets interesting. This show needs to be on HBO, Showtime, FX, or AMC. I really don’t think it will last on any network though. Punisher is an acquired taste. You either love him or hate him. Personally I always liked him showing up in other peoples comics. Chasing Spidey or working with the title character.

    • I thought the same thing about being on FOX. They just cancelled Human Target and now want to ruin another comic book property.

  7. I really liked the Thomas Jane Punisher and War Zone, so I’m game for this.

  8. Ok, so there are two wars that have been going on for almost 10 years and the Studios are too disconnected that they couldnt use that as a traininng ground for the current rendition of the Punisher?? Oh I forgot those wars dont exist in Hollywood as evidence by the large number of films they have produced so far.

    This has epic fail written all over it, basically they are going to totally rewrite Frank Castle and then when it fails they will blame the fans for not supporting something that doesnt even resemble the source material. Typical.

    • Well, I wouldn’t use the current conflicts, that might make him a bit too young maybe. I would say he’s a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. That could definitely work…

  9. Eh. Even if it’s good, and that’s assuming a lot, FOX will cancel it after a season anyway.

  10. Thomas Jane was THE best punisher ever, and if there going to bring anyone back it should be him. Also i agree with what many have previously stated that making him completely different the what he IS (keyword there fox IS and always will be) will just make the fans (manly me) pissed that you are going to change him, its like changing the history books to say something completely different and expect us to agree with it. Why can’t anyone ever learn that once we like something, we expect it to not stray adrift from its original premise. If you want to make the best punisher show, you should not try to make it into one of ur crappy ideas for a TV show and pick up a damn comic book.

  11. Ok, Marvel Studios JUST got the rights for this character back now they sold the rights AGAIN to FOX of all people!!!!!!!! The people that make Wolverine G-rated, mess up continuity and want to put THEIR spin on everything! They are just dragging this character through the mud like crazy. Soon the Punisher will probably be de-moted to an F-tier character because will get tired of the constant fails of this character. Marvel/Disney should have sold it to HBO, Showtime, or FX. Anywhere on CABLE tv where the freedom of the character’s TRUE traits can be explored and shown. This is a VERY dumb move by Marvel/Disney and shows a real lack of respect for the character itself in exchange for $$$$. The sad part is that Marvel/Disney doesn’t even have to sell the rights, there is no desperate need for it, Marvel is not in danger of going bankrupt!!!

    If it’s going to be on network tv, then they should have just let it be along side the other characters that will debut on ABC to which are Hulk,Jessica Jones, Cloak & Dagger, and Mockingbird. The Punisher stands out from the rest of these characters which would have helped it even more. Stupid and unnessesary move Marvel/Disney. It’s like Avi Arad is still in charge or something. What’s next Blade gets sold to Sony or Fox too!?

    • I agree 100%. If the character were to go into television, he should have been on HBO and the show should have been more of a miniseries. I think that format would work way better than a regular tv drama format.

  12. I still can’t believe Marvel/Disney allowed someone to make such a stupid decision to sell the rights to Fox without keeping things “Inhouse” like they should be doing now. AGAIN, if it’s gonna be on “regular” network tv(not cable) then it might as well be put on ABC too, but at a later time with adult supervision or restricted veiwing. Could you image how high the ratings would be for this show if the Hulk randomly showed up and The Punisher is shooting at the Hulk and trying to escape him but somehow their misunderstanding gets diffused. The ratings of The Punisher would go through the roof, if Blade was to cameo even. They’ve destroyed all of those opportunities.

  13. please take the dexter concept out of this and just have a punisher tv
    series.. cast kiefer sutherland or some other a-lister to do it.

  14. I really want to see Tom Jane come back as The Punisher. His version of the character is my favorite out of the three. War Zone just didn’t feel the same as its predecessor, but I enjoyed the action in it.

    • i TOTALLY agree with Red war-zone was ok, but thomas jane was the GREATEST punisher ever to be done, he hit the nail right on the head. just wanted to say that.

      • I disagree. I liked Janes Punisher, but WarZone was the closest to THE PUNISHER we have seen. Take out the cheesy Jigsaw and just look at the Punisher himself in the movie. Stevenson was perfect.

        The punisher would never create an elaborate scheme to shame a person and his family. He is matter of fact death and destruction.

        • This site needs a like button. hehe.
          I agree Ink. Stevenson was a total badass. I know people hate that movie and it did have it’s problems but overall I really liked that movie.

        • @INK

          I agree and disagree a little with what you’ve said. I agree that Stevenson made a great Punisher while the rest of the movie sucked. And I also agree that a real Punisher movie should not devote half an hour to him scheming a complicated plan to shame someone. But I have to disagree a little because Punisher does come up with schemes, but they are always schemes to take out an enemy force as efficiently as possible, never just to shame someone, that was stupid…

      • tom jane is the worst everything. sorry @ss actor in everything. ray stevenson was good, the script was crap and the villians were laughable. and that’s being kind.

  15. “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”

    Mr. Yeoman, I would have to disagree to a point. While they can and will put me to sleep every time I watch them, I feel they did get progressively better with each release. Nor would I say that Thomas Jane’s was as equally unsatisfactory as Dolph Lundgren’s. But we can agree to disagree I suppose.

    Also for The Punisher to get what he deserves, it needs to be carried by a channel that doesn’t have the usual limitations on language, gore, and adult situations in general. An evening time slot on FOX will be more of a hindrance instead of a justice. I would love to see this as a show, but I can all ready see the FCC saying too much this, too much that, and we are left with watered down crap.

  16. this is a really stupid idea they’re going to dumb the show down instead of spraying criminals with bullets they probably gonna have him arrest people in a court of law really stupid decision its not even true to the comics and there’s no way it will be good because you cant have a tv series of the punisher hes a very violent character and all these stupid parents outcry will ban the show so they will have to make punisher work with in the system and actually put people in jail this show is gonna be and epic fail

  17. I hope it’s good, unlike that blade series

  18. this has bomb bomb buh buh bomb buh bomb bomb written allllll overrrrrr it. violene, bad language, and big guns are what the punisher is about and i know fox won’t have any of that in a tv series. they will hint at it and leave the rest to our imagination. not watchin this, i don’t give a fox

  19. The Punisher MUST be on cable-the character is too grim and violent on network or make him anime like Wolvrine and Blade.

  20. sounds like a good idea, I hope it doesnt land on FOX, seems that every series only last 1 season

  21. We just avoided the travesty of a Wonder Woman series, and now this.

    1) Ed Bernero is the executive that made the last season of Criminal Minds a mess. This guy and Fox, tagteaming on Frank Castle. I didnt think anyone could take Frank out but these two together could permanently spoil the viewing public’s desire to ever see him onscreen.

    2) The War Zone movie was the closest in tone we have gotten to the feel of the comic book. By being on Fox we will not see anything close to R rated. Punisher could be the best Cop/Criminal series we have had on the air since tha WIre, but because its Fox, we will likely see it last or be executed in a way that would make us want to watch it, or even remember it.
    3) I feel sick to my stomach after reading this news.

  22. That picture of Thomas Jane holding that rifle with his finger wrapped around the trigger always make me nervous… No one familiar with firearms will EVER do that… Surprisingly, other than the stupid hanging from the chandelier scene, Stevenson actually looked like a weapons expert, which is awesome… Go figure, an actor that actually looks convincing in his role, what a wild concept…

  23. Great news!

  24. The Punisher doesn’t need a make over. the original concept works, perhaps update it to a mid=east Vet. Navy seals. But a nypd cop… can u say Howard the duck.

  25. I liked the 04 Punisher and was very happy when the rights reverted back to Marvel but now they’ve gone ahead and sold them to fox the same people that ruined Xmen I wish one of the pay networks would’ve picked it up so they could actually get violent

  26. Somebody at Marvel/Disney NEEDS to be fired immediately for making such a stupid decision.

  27. ?????

  28. They need to keep the punished as he is in the comics. The same vigilante the walks the dark new York streets, punishing the corrupt. Working completely alone, following his own system. Not making like a Dexter series. The 2004 film was awesome, they should continue with the film where it left off with the same people. Warzone was not good at all. Not very good acting in it and the graphics were cheap. The movie didn’t go well because the had a low budget to work with.

  29. Im a HUGE Punisher fan. but this sounds like a rip off of Dexter (which i love) one thing about the Punisher is that EVERYONE knows who he is. he doesn’t sneak around or have a second life. that IS his life. making him have a family or “co-workers” will ruin his character. and Fox has a bad history of ruining good ideas for TV shows. Put this on AMC or HBO.

    My predictions: this show will be canceled before the first season is over. because A) Comic fans will hate how much they gutted the Frank Castle Character. B) Since it’s on Fox, there wont be much gore or guns, (which make the Punisher what he is) and C) theres already a million shows like this

    Make a movie.