Sunday Roundtable: DC Comics, Should it Be One Cinematic Universe?

JLA Roundtabledc movie and tvWelcome back for our second Sunday Roundtable where the Graphic Policy team take on a topic and discuss it throughout the week. On tap?

Though we’ve only had hints so far, DC Comics has split their television and movie universes (there’s two Flash for example). Should it have all been integrated? Discuss!

Monique: I would have preferred it if everything was integrated as it would feel a lot more real. It’s nice when things are connected and fun when audiences can spot things that link the DC universe together. However it’s nice to have a TV show to look forward to every week.

Alex: I think in many ways splitting them up gives each show more creative freedom (but if rumours are true, then Arrow had to drop Deadshot because of the Suicide Squad movie – not 100% sure on that, though).

batman v s uperman dawn of justiceMr. H: I like it split. We all know Batman V Superman is going to be epic, but I like the feel of shows like Arrow and Flash which have done beyond what I’ve ever expected. DC owns the small screen for sure! I am looking forward to Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl as well. It like in wrestling, you have the main eventers and the mid carders. The tv shows are the midcarders and let you appreciate it more because they work harder. Personally I want an Aquaman show. It’s well over due and the time is right. I hope they don’t integrate because they give us different flavors. Like on a tv show we might get underutilized characters like Ralph Dibney. Where we wouldn’t on a movie. For everyone that likes chocolate chip. There’s always someone that likes Butter Pecan. Good quote (Identity Crisis)

Brett: But is it really split? DC is all about the multiverse. There’s no reason we can’t see some giant Crisis film and the multiple same characters come together. I actually think DC has an advantage over Marvel due to that.

Alex: You know what? I had never thought of that until you mentioned it, Brett. That being said, will it actually happen? It’d be awesome if it did, but I suspect we are at least five to ten years away from that possibility.

Monique: That is a very interesting point, never thought of it like that Brett.

Alex wouldn’t it be relative to their budget though? If we’re talking about Marvel, Samuel Jackson was in the movies Iron Man, Avengers, Captain America but made an appearance Agents of Shield.

arrowBrett: Yeah, it’s interesting that DC is dominating the small screen too with this strategy and it’s allowed them to do such diverse programming. Agents of Shield had been so hit and miss. It really just feels like I watch the season to get to the movie tie in. DC I watch because it’s good television that also has geeky easter eggs.

And adding to DC too is their web content. They launched the Vixen animated series which is set in the Arrow/Flash universe.

Monique: Yeah, I’ve been watching it, it’s fantastic. I agree, they’re definitely dominating in all aspects and I think they always have done really, in terms of shows movies and cartoons

Alex: I think that’s the advantage to Shield; because it has the movie tie ins, more people are willing to stick it out on the lows. DC’s TV shows have to be consistently good (which is only a good thing for fans).

Elana: The vixen launch was not adequately promoted. I didn’t find out it already started in fact! As for the division I just really resent them turning Green Arrow into Batman. Admittedly I never watch the show because it so obviously had nothing at all to do with the character that I actually love. But it’s just aargh.

Alex: I’m enjoying Arrow so far, but I also agree with you Elana. It feels far too Batman like at times (I know Green Arrow was at one time very imitative of Bats, but I’m pretty sure that was long ago). I’ve never read any Green Arrow, though, so I don’t really have much expectation of what he should be.

Brett: I also find it interesting that DC has really played with the tone of each television series, and wonder if we’ll see that carry over to the movies.

Alex: Do DC have a similar structure governing their television/cinematic output that Marvel had up until recently? I ask because I wonder whether the tonality has been a conscious choice of a group, or simply the creative freedom allowed by DC’s approach.

theflash_full_costumeBrett: As far as how it tv ties to movies? Nope. Everything stands on its own so far. There’s the Arrow/Flash/Vixen/Constantine universe, there’s the Man of Steel/upcoming movies, and there’s Supergirl and Lucifer (not counting iZombie). Each has their own tone/style even within their own grouping.

Shield‘s style mimics the films I think, and that seems to also hamper it a bunch. Agent Carter wasn’t vital to the film narrative and felt a bit free to me.

People give DC a lot of crap, but when it comes to TV they’re knocking out of the park (plus their animated stuff). And the movies are set up, it looks like, for similar freedom.

Alex: It’s true. Last year Constantine was one of the best shows on air before it was cancelled. And whilst I keep hearing great things about Gotham I stopped watching after the first four or five episodes. Why? Because it was competing for my time with Shield (yes, I know they air on different nights, but I DVR most things and watch them later), and Shield has the benefit of being part of the MCU.

If Fox can pull off an X-Men TV show, do you think it’ll be odd essentially having two Marvel TV universes or not?

Brett: No different than it is now, right? The big difference is DC controls all of its output (or parts of their parent company does), unlike Marvel.

Here’s something that’d fit the discussion, is there too much when it comes to television shows. We have to be near saturation in film, but how many shows is too many shows? If there even is such a thing.

Alex: Honestly, for me, we’re dangerously close to over saturation. My wife isn’t as big a comic fan as I am, and really only wants to watch a few shows (Flash, Arrow and maybe Heroes or Supergirl), which leaves me a lot to squeeze at other times; and obviously things fall by the wayside, and I end up not watching half of what I want to watch.

Do any of you have a list of shows you’re willing to drop s the season goes on?

Brett: I review them, hard to drop them! The one good thing is that some won’t be out in the Fall and will be out in the Winter, but there’s still about a half dozen this fall?

Melissa Benoist Supergirl 2Add on top of it, some are going head to head. It’s Gotham vs Supergirl Mondays!

Alex: Yeah, I suppose you’re slightly more obligated to watch them than I am, eh?

Brett: But, beyond splitting the DC universe, do they risk hurting the movies because people love the shows too much? Will people who like the Flash tv show brush off a Flash tv movie? I can’t figure out if folks will let each stand on their own. Hints of reactions may be similar to reactions with the Batman and Spider-Man reboots.

Alex: I think the problem we’re closing in on isn’t that there’s simply not enough time in the day for most people to watch all the comic book TV shows and other TV shows. Laugh all you like, but next week there’s two programs starting up that I’m super excited for; the two hour Heroes Reborn premiere and, uh, Grey’s Anatomy. I’m sure that won’t be the only conflict.

Brett: I’ll admit I watch Grey‘s. I’ve dedicated all this time, I want to see how it ends. Yeah, I haven’t even thought of Heroes as a comic show, but it’s similar in subject.

Alex: To your last comment: I’m more willing to skip the Flash movie because of the TV show. Which I’m sure isn’t their intent at all.

At the end of the day, there is a lot of great TV happening this year, both comic book and not. I think there’s going to be some great shows cancelled that shouldn’t have been (like Constantine last year – I still am not over that).