Friday, February 13, 2015

CW's Tales from the Darkside Reboot Needs to Happen, Plus an Idea of What that Network Can Do with its Burgeoning Cast of DC Superheros

The CW has picked up a pilot for a reboot of George R. Romero's classic 80's horror anthology series Tales from the Darkside meaning that they are considering that as an addition to their 2015-16 Prime Time schedule.  And that is something in my opinion that needs to happen.  Mind you, I don't consider myself a huge fan of the original series, though I remember tuning in to watch it and enjoying the episodes that I saw.  And I know several horror fans who consider it one of the better entries for that genre on television (though I'm sure they are cringing at the thought of The CW's trademark young and uber-hot faces picking up the baton for the franchise).  The main reason I want to see it happen, though, is that the anthology series needs to come back to television and this network is a good one to lead that charge.  With all of the science fiction and fantasy shows they currently have on their schedule (including upcoming mid-season entries iZombie and The Messengers), The CW has essentially become the broadcast network sci fi channel (as it continues to out sci fi Syfy even though that cable net keeps claiming it is getting back to its roots).  And despite the preponderance of young, pretty faces on the fifth place network, they have still managed to do pretty good with the genre the last couple of years, far outpacing the other broadcast networks (and Syfy) in this area.  They are willing to take some chances and I can see them doing that with an updating on Tales from the Darkside.

And we really need to get an anthology show or two back on television as they have less focus on extended arcs and more on telling a good, short and simple story.  This would even be a good one to air when other shows are on hiatus because it does not require viewers to watch every episode in order.  It gives The CW a good way to pad out the schedule and run less repeats (which we are about to get assaulted with over the next few months).  A good sci fi anthology would be much welcome as well.  They could reboot The Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, or just come up with a new title.  It doesn't really matter if the stories are good.  Anthologies offer writers/directors the opportunity to take some chances and push the boundaries of television,  They also offer the chance to tryout some new ideas that may carry on into their own shows.  But mostly, they can--if done right--give us some damn good genre tales.  Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Tales from the Darkside and more all did that in their prime and its about time we get that back on television. It's been a while since we have had a really good genre anthology series (Masters of Horror?  The Outer Limits reboot?), and I'm hoping that The CW will succeed in bringing one back starting next season.

And speaking of anthologies, there's another one that network should think long and hard about for next season as it is planning its schedule.  Currently, they are looking at doing an Atom spin-off from Arrow and there are plenty more characters from the DC milieu that have been introduced on that series and its recent spin-off The Flash.  All of these have the potential to jump to shows of their own, But with the network only programming ten Prime Time hours a week, how many can they realistically get onto the schedule?  And how long before this leads to a superhero burn-out?

So the obvious answer to the question?  A superhero anthology series that can accommodate all of those characters and more.

Call it The Brave and the Bold, DC All-Stars, Showcase, or something like that.  You could run a multi-episode Atom or Birds of Prey or Suicide Squad arc then throw in a onesy for Firestorm or Ra's al Ghul or any of number of other characters they have introduced or have waiting in the wings.  And there are currently rumors floating around that Arrow's Diggle could become Green Lantern.  This anthology could handle all of that and more.  And as I mentioned above, it could air when the other shows (particularly Arrow and The Flash) are on hiatus to ensure less repeats throughout the year.  This seems like the best way to cover all DC characters they currently have plans for as well as future additions.  They could even take a page from the comics and have something like an Atom lead story and maybe a ten minute segment featuring another character.  Or pick one main character and have him/her team up with other superheros, similar to Batman's long run in the Brave and the Bold comics where he fought next to a revolving door of DC characters.

Seems like a great way to go about it and also gives the creative talent the opportunity to take some chances and try things that may be too daring for an established show like Arrow or The Flash.  And the network has already done an excellent job with those two characters so I would trust them to continue that streak having an expanded cast of DC superheros to work with.

As the other broadcast networks have seen their audiences dwindle notably the last few years, The CW has actually seen some gains as it has revitalized its schedule and reached out to the genre audience.  And I believe that the Tales from the Darkside reboot as well as a DC superhero anthology (and possibly a sci fi anthology) can help them to increase their momentum and possibly overtake one of the lagging Big Four broadcast networks.   

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