It wouldn't be accurate to call this a surprise, but after months of speculation and development, the pool of comic book adaptations is set to add three more to a list that already includes FOX's recently ordered Gotham, Netflix's quartet of Marvel series, and existing shows like The Walking Dead, Arrow, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (assuming it comes back) to both thrill fans and test the durability of this rapidly expanding bubble.
Proving itself to be a pillar of the heroing TV movement, The CW has tripled its reliance on the sub-genre, surrounding Arrow with The Flash (a sister series that earlier this season introduced audiences to Barry Allen, aka The Flash) and iZombie, which both received series pick-ups. Meanwhile, John Constantine and his e-cig (or whatever) will fight demons on NBC with Constantine.
To make room for the new series' and due to their own under performance, The CW also decided to shutter The Carrie Diaries, Star-Crossed, and The Tomorrow People, a mild cult favorite whose cancellation inspired more than a few sour responses on social media. Out with the old and in with the new, though.
Lets look at the synopses for the DC (and Vertigo) trio:
The Flash: Based upon characters published by DC Comics. Through a freak accident, scientist Barry Allen is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive. Cast: Grant Gustin (Barry Allen); Jesse L. Martin (Det. West); Tom Cavanaugh (Harrison Wells).
iZombie: A med student-turned-zombie takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. With the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head. Based on the characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, and published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. Cast: Rose McIver (Liv).
Constantine: Based on the wildly popular comic book series “Hellblazer” from DC Comics, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine (Matt Ryan, “Criminal Minds”) specializes in giving hell… hell. Armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and his wickedly naughty wit, he fights the good fight — or at least he did. With his soul already damned to hell, he’s decided to leave his do-gooder life behind, but when demons target Liv (Lucy Griffiths, “True Blood”), the daughter of one of Constantine’s oldest friends, he’s reluctantly thrust back into the fray – and he’ll do whatever it takes to save her. Before long, it’s revealed that Liv’s “second sight” — an ability to see the worlds behind our world and predict supernatural occurrences — is a threat to a mysterious new evil that’s rising in the shadows. Now it’s not just Liv who needs protection; the angels are starting to get worried too. So, together, Constantine and Liv must use her power and his skills to travel the country, find the demons that threaten our world and send them back where they belong. After that, who knows… maybe there’s hope for him and his soul after all.
Obviously, despite their similar creative origins, these shows are each going into existence with a different set of expectations and questions to answer. Such as: can The Flash both co-exist and stand apart from the Arrow universe that it technically hatched from? Can Grant Gustin's quirky charm carry the show over the course of a season and will non-comic fans buy a vision of the DC Universe that is a fair bit more fantastical than a rich vigilante with a bow and a predilection for violence?
iZombie isn't connected to another existing show in the strictest sense, but as a zombie-centric series there will be comparisons to The Walking Dead, even though the two worlds are nothing at all alike - with the latter about surviving zombies and the unearthed internal hideousness of man, and the former set to tell a story about coping and adapting to being an outsider (with the help of Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas' wit and wisdom).
As for Constantine, the big question has to be about the tone. Are audiences going to accept the deep dark tone of Hellblazer comics in prime time? How about this one, is NBC going to have the intestinal fortitude to tip toe over the line and challenge audiences to do just that, or will the show be a watered down version of the Constantine character and story?
Sadly, we'll have to wait till the fall to get a real handle on any of these pressing questions, but we're thankful for the chance to see these stories at least potentially bloom and curious to see how many more comic book based properties can fill the pool before audiences start to turn away.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for future updates on the premiere dates for The Flash, iZombie, and Constantine