No one can argue the viability of comic book movies and television shows. It seems like every network has a comic book property in development and the financial potential of these properties is apparent. In that spirit, NBC has decided to dive back into that world with a new series based off a comic book.
The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly are both reporting that NBC is currently developing a new series based on the Top Cow comic book series Witchblade. The series, created by David Wohl, Marc Silvestri, Brian Haberlin and Michael Turner, started in 1995 and ended in 2015. It focuses on the adventures of NYPD detective Sara Pezzini. She is granted supernatural powers by a bracelet that houses the powers of the Witchblade after it bonds to her and saves her life. All of this is basic comic book fodder, but there is one big problem that needs to be addressed from the source material. More on that in a minute.
Due to the popularity of the comic book series, TNT decided to create a Witchblade television movie in 2000. This film was to be used as a pilot for a television series. The series starred Yancy Butler (Kick Ass 2) as Sara. The show was produced by Top Cow and ran for 24 episodes. While it did have a fan base, it strayed from the source material in its depiction of the character and that leads me to my misgivings about a reboot for the character.
The character’s signature look
The late great Michael Turner was a genius in his artwork as far as I am concerned. His detail was amazing and he was able to really engage an audience in his composition. Not taking anything away from his work or his legacy, but the classic depiction of the Witchblade character herself does not exactly scream network prime time television to me. The over-exaggerated sexuality of the character couldn’t be successfully translated to basic cable. What makes the producers think that audiences of network television would embrace it either? The only way this proposed series doesn’t constantly get set visits by Standards and Practices is if they neuter the character more than they did on the TNT series and at that point, why even bother.
The network tried this already
No, I’m not talking about the TNT series. I’m talking about NBC. The network has tried comic book related series before (The Cape, Heroes) but I want to focus on the one that fans are still upset about: Constantine. Constantine was a series that worked for the most part. It had a small cast, a roster of recurring characters and a scripts that were actually well written and leaned into the absurdity of the premise without becoming parody. NBC never really supported the show the way it should have. This was a dark, adult series and the network did everything it could to curtail aspects of the character that the audience who tuned in enjoyed. They took away the characters bisexuality and chain-smoking in order to make the series more palatable to their audience. Does anyone truly think that they won’t do the same with Witchblade?
Carol Mendelsohn (CSI) and Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries) have been brought in to produce the series as both The Vampire Diaries and NBC’s Grimm will both be ending this season. Is there a possibility that Witchblade could work as a television series? I don’t rule anything out, but there are definitely more strikes against it working than there are points in its favor.
Let me know what you think. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of this proposed reboot.