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The Graysons shot down


Yet more turmoil within Warners superhero division is revealed in this story about a potential TV show called The Graysons, about the early life of the boy who would become Robin, getting smothered in its cradle:

According to studio insiders, Robinov has decreed that Warner Bros. “rethink its DC Comics strategy” and as a result didn’t want to do anything big with a DC franchise at the moment — at least when it came to “Graysons.”

“The studio has opted not to go forward with the development of ‘The Graysons’ at this time as the concept doesn’t fit the current strategy for the Batman franchise,” the studio said in a statement. “Warner Bros. Television is currently working on several replacement options for the CW.”

Other potential problems: BATMAN director Chris Nolan had never signed off (even though Nolan wasn’t the decision maker, said the studio). Or was it:

Others wondered whether Warner Bros. got nervous over the idea of having a both an active Batman TV series and film series at the same time. “Smallville” and, before that, “Lois & Clark,” were launched during a lengthy hiatus from the bigscreen for Superman. Some believe 2006’s “Superman Returns” was hurt at the box office because of the simultaneous TV show.

  1. If anything, the reason Smallville’s presence negatively affected the b.o. for Superman Returns was due to the fact that audiences had a better, innovative, and modern take on the Superman story that they could watch every week FOR FREE instead of shelling out $10 at the theater to watch a director with a bloated CGI budget ignore three decades of character evolution.

  2. Yeah, I think Superman Returns was hurt at the box office because it was bad (or, what Keith said more eloquently above). When I heard that Singer (who I like as a director) was modeling his movie after the Reeves movies, I instantly lost interest. Seeing the movie later — yeah, terrible. Why watch a junky, crappy movie with a noncharismatic lead when you can watch an interesting, ongoing story that has done something novel with the character?

    Similarly, if Batman Begins had just tried to be a follow-on to the Tim Burton Batman (which I think was a pretty good movie, unlike the 80s Superman), it wouldn’t have been all that great, either. It’s not so much a matter of parallel product, as it is one of parallel /better/ product.

  3. Some believe 2006’s “Superman Returns” was hurt at the box office because of the simultaneous TV show.

    It was hurt at the box office because it sucked. Period.

    Of course, as soon as Kara showed up, Smallville started its rapid decline from merely mediocre to reprehensible, too.

  4. For me, the turning point came when Kara showed up in Clark’s sunlit kitchen wearing barely enough underwear to make it onto network tv. Oh wait, oh, we were saying Kara’s apperance was a BAD thing. Oh. wait, was there a jumping shark illustrated on her underwear? Hmm. Maybe.

  5. Maybe they dumped the Grayson’s because the concept just wasn’t that interesting. A better – and, frankly, obvious – idea would have been to develop a show around the idea of Bruce Wayne training himself to be the man he would become. One that would take him up to where the first Nolan movie began.

  6. Yeah, but even that would have been a seven year-long winkytease, wouldn’t it? No doubt full of all the same fanbaiting shit that makes Smallville such a waste of air time.

    It takes place between the two most interesting parts of the Batman origin story, and adds nothing to either.

    If they want to do a superhero show with a well-defined character arc of indeterminate length, they should just do Starman. Only without all the fanwank.


  7. David, a young Bruce Wayne series about Bruce traveling the world picking up the skills he would need to be Batman was actually the original show that was pitched to the WB. But when it became clear that a new Batman movie rebooting the franchise and focusing on his origin was going to happen, they shelved it and decided to do Clark Kent instead.

  8. I just had the oddest idea for a “Wonder Woman” show where Diana comes to America – sans costume or invisibile jet or WW name – and runs around discovering America while trying to halt some ongoing plot of Ares or something like that. No costumes, no secret ID, but not necessarily presented as “before she was Wonder Woman” either, just straight-up Wonder Woman without some of the goofier trappings. Probably a terrible idea.

  9. The suits are completely hopeless. Just clueless, the poor saps.

    Superman Returns didn’t do as well as they would have liked because IT WAS REALLY BAD.

    Nothing to do with Smallville being on TV, nothing to do with whether or not it was ‘dark’ enough. The Dark Knight rocked the party because it was right for the times, and in keeping with the source stories.

    As for a TV show, I dream of the day when we will see a live-action Spider-Man series. It’s perfect. It’s set in the city, the characters are late high-school and college aged, it’s got the soap opera angle already built into it, and Spider-Man’s got such a deep pool of villains that they could easily write five seasons’ worth of shows right now. As a bonus, you’d get to see villains that wouldn’t make the cut for a movie, like Scorpion or Rhino or Vulture.

  10. Actually Matthew – you were on to something there.

    There was at one time, a show opted for Starman by the same producers of Smallville when it first got up and running.

    Now to Franklin Harris’ remark about Kara appearance on the show merely making it mediocre to reprehensible, – I thought her addition to the series’ last year was the reason why ratings spiked up a bit? ( and damn, if she isn’t a cutie!!) Didn’t they have Supergirl on last night’s episode?



  11. Eric,

    I didn’t know that! Too bad it didn’t go ahead. I don’t think one medium really cuts into the other. As long as the product is good, it will find viewers.

  12. I’ll still never understand how they need Nolan’s approval on this stuff. That’s like after the first Batman film they couldn’t do anything with Batman without checking with Tim Burton first.

    The only people you need to consult are Levitz and those at DC, the guys who REGULARLY work on the character not people who handle him once every 3 to 5 years.

  13. “If they want to do a superhero show with a well-defined character arc of indeterminate length, they should just do Starman. Only without all the fanwank.”

    So do Starman without doing Starman?

  14. Good riddence. Dick Grayson’s been a favorite character since I was like five watching the old Adam West show. I got a Nightwing poster up on my wall now. This show never made any sense. If you were going to do a show on Dick Grayson, before he became Robin makes no sense. With the Titans, or at college, or starting out as Nightwing in Bludhaven. Those could work. Yet before he became Robin? How many seasons can that last? Hell, Smallville was bad enough running out of story trying to keep Clark young. This last season seems particularly lame duck in that he’s yet to become Superman even though he’s clearly old enough.

    Plus the other tragedy is that aside from an older Dick Grayson series made more sense, so would dozens of other DC characters. Oh and I’ll second Starman as a good example of a story ripe for a good adaptation. Then again, I said the same of Birds of Prey and look how fubar they made that series.

  15. Honestly, WB just needs to get it into their heads that they don’t know what to do with the material they’ve got. I’d love to see a Starman TV series, but they would just fuck it up (unless it were handled by HBO, which, for some reason, seems immune to WB’s suckage)

    There is no logical reason why Marvel should have been the first to come up with “Let’s start our own studio and set up a shared movie universe” when DC is owned by a movie studio. And now they just have too much pride to follow the Marvel model, when that’s what the fans really want, and instead are just going to try to ape their own limited success by making all of their superheroes as dark as Batman. Can’t wait for that Flash movie, you guys.

  16. The show concept was staggeringly nonsensical. How was it going to work, exactly? Was Dick going to foil a couple of crimes at the circus, or in towns where the circus visited, thereby displaying a natural aptitude for detective work? But Dick didn’t have that until he trained with Batman, and if he turns into Encyclopedia Brown, then there’s really no reason he couldn’t save his parents, too. So… lots of trapeze artistry, then?

    Or maybe something like this: http://www.shortpacked.com/d/20081007.html

    I mean, I can’t believe this thing ever got greenlit to begin with.

  17. Evan,

    I can definitely understand how Nolan would have a lot of say not that I’m completely convinced that Nolan is directly involved in these decisions.

    The math is depressingly straightforward. The regular Batman book has a monthly distribution of around 70 000. Sure, All Star has broken 100 000 but that’s with the star name power of Frank Miller and Jim Lee and even then, that’s not a vast difference from the regular book.

    The Dark Knight alone has grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide with an audience in the tens of millions. Add on Batman Begins and merchandising and who do you think would have more pull at Warner Bros. – DC Comics or the guy who has helmed a couple of movies that have made you billions of dollars and you’re trying to get him to sign on for a third film with cast intact?

    I kind of doubt that Nolan has any kind of final authority on TV projects but he may have been consulted. There may have been hesitation about doing a live action show about the early days of Robin that directly conflicts with the movies where there’s no sign of Robin and likely won’t be which is fine by me because the last time Robin was in a movie, well, the less said the better.


    Having Superman or Green Lantern or Flash show up in a Nolan Batman movie or any Batman movie for that matter, would be terrible for various reasons and not just because Nolan himself has said he never envisioned his Batman take as operating within the larger DCU. And Marvel still has to pull off a full crossover movie so it’s not like it’s been proven as viable for the movie-going masses just yet.

  18. Glenn,

    I think your idea for a Wonder Woman series has some potential, but a) I doubt it would fly because of the movie which has a tentative release date of the 3rd of never and b) the CW would just royally mess it up.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why no one can get a Wonder Woman movie made, but since I’m not a Hollywood insider, I guess I’m just not smart enough to figure it out.

  19. “Superman Returns” was an awful and uninspired scripted movie.
    “Smallville” is a success, because tptb give the Superman legend a new
    fresh look. Tom Welling & Michael Rosenbaum are excellent casted as
    younger versions of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor. (Smallville is my favorite filmed version of The Man Of Steel, together with the first two Chris Reeve-Superman-movies, the animated show from the 90s and -of course- the great Fleischer-Studios cartoons from the 40s)
    Sorry, but I don’t want to see again a “Superman”-movie, involving someone from the cast of “Superman Returns” (it was a craptacular

    …and here you can see how the next Superman movie could look (if tptb
    at WB take right choices regarding the cast & crew of this movie):

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