We are in a world where TV is beyond gold and movies are like diamonds. We love them, we want them, and we cannot get enough of them. TV, arguably man’s greatest invention, has become an important part of our lives- and rightly so. The Human Rights Committee need to have a sit-down and add TV to that list, as a basic human right. Quality TV? Now that must be paid for.
With movies being a massive part of our pastime, it is only right that the big screen shows love to its mini-me. And we have seen adaptations like Friday Night Lights going from an estimated 2 hours to 5 seasons, and Hannibal (initially) being a movie instead of becoming a series. The industry cannot get enough of the stories, and as fans neither can we.
And right now, comic book movies are hot property. The Dark Knight series, Spiderman, The Amazing Spiderman, Man of Steel, Ironman 1, 2 & 3, The Avengers and more and more and more. The list goes on and we cannot get enough of them. We have our reasons – “Robert Downey Jr is so hot”, “Chris Hemsworth can use that hammer on me any day”, “I relate to Spiderman and I always have since I was a kid. He makes me believe”, “I have been a Fantastic Four fan since I could count. I love them beyond words” and “I just enjoy going to the movies and right now, though I have never read a single comic, comic book movies are amazing”. We have our reasons. So what does Marvel Studios and DC Comics do for us? They give us spin-offs…
A spin-off is when a character is taken from a comic book or a story and it is adapted for TV or for movies and the story is based upon that character (yes, that is my definition). For example:
Smallville – based on a young Clark Kent who’s the alter ego for Superman.
Arrow – based on the Green Arrow from DC Comics and this show follows the life of Oliver Queen as he becomes the saviour of Starling City.
MARVEL Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – Phil Coulson was killed in The Avengers but is revived in this spin-off as the lead character and the TV series tells the non-comic book readers who SHIELD are.
These spin offs are currently running. Their popularity is growing and they have paved the way for shows like:
Gotham – based on Batman but the lead character is Police Officer Jim Gordon of Gotham PD with a young Bruce Wayne. So yes, Batman does not exist… yet!!
With all these spin-offs and with more to come, what does it really mean?
The quality of the spin-offs gets thrown into question. Shows like Smallville overstayed their welcome and from the opening scene, quality was the main question. Arrow started as a hit, who would have known the Green Arrow also known as Oliver Queen had such a fan base? But the acting was stiff and the story lost people and yet, it still lives.
MARVEL: Agents of SHIELD had us all roped in thanks to The Avengers and the story tied in with Thor 2: The Dark World and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. The overall quality – acting, characters’ depth, vision (where is this going?), etc. seems average and considering that they have roughly (22 episodes at 42mins each) 924mins compared to 120mins, this is poor. The networks, in my eyes (and these eyes watch a lot of TV) are not pulling enough weight in terms of quality. Quality over quantity. They should be concerned about the quality of the episodes as opposed to how many they can air.
Can they pull fans in? This is tricky but to be honest, no. Agent Carter will struggle, why? Because who really knows her? The comic book readers do but the average Joe will not. Average Joe and Plain Jane may not be roped in unless the show is well marketed, well introduced and it shows quality- quality being a show that can last at least 3 seasons without dropping in ratings and viewership. But in this case, spin-offs are going to struggle and they should not be in production.
Superheroes can be built on spin-offs. Green Arrow’s fan base is increasing as he can be a standalone hero- not many people knew that. Some saw him as a member of the Justice League but Green Arrow, to be honest, is not just a member of the League. He is like Batman but with less gadgets and very old school by using a bow and arrow. His advantage: he never has to worry about ammo supply. Arrows can be reused. And with Arrow being a success, The Flash has been given a chance to break through. Could DC Comics be trying to take over TV?
MARVEL is trying to build a universe and as a result, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter are on our screens. These are worlds outside of the 1000-inch screen of a cinema with 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound System, and not to forget 3D glasses. These are worlds outside your typical superheroes; brought to your TV so you can know more than just The Avengers or Spiderman.
Which makes spin-offs great. We want to know, we cannot get enough and with these spin-offs we can know things that movies can never tell us as they have a time constraint. For example *SPOILER* in The Avengers, Agent Coulson was seeing a cellist and on the show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, we get to see this cellist, and even get to see him save her.
Are spin-offs necessary?
Yes. I agree to them being put out there for us. They bridge the time between superhero movies and they leave us wanting more. We can learn more about members of the superhero groups and their individual worlds. There is a lot to comics and they can never fit all of that in a movie. And we live in a time where TV is our information centre as we are too lazy to read so our knowledge of superheroes has to come from TV. So why not make a TV show about it?
Spin-offs get The Platinum Approval.
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