By Bobby Shortle
The recent announcement of Arrow, a pilot being produced by the CW about the DC Comics character Green Arrow, got my wheels spinning about what other super heroes could benefit from a small screen adaptation. Up first is the original boy wonder turned solo Nightwing!
The character of Robin has had a rough go of it in the mainstream media. His only two huge appearances have been in a campy 60’s television show and the worst two Batman movies ever made. If you are a child of the 90’s you know he kicked major ass in Batman: The Animated Series, but to most of the world he is just something to snicker at. That’s a damn shame because The Boy Wonder is not only a a crucial part of Batman’s world, but DC Comic’s continuity as a whole.
I do appreciate the particular conundrum of making a 12 year old boy seem like a credible threat to the rogues of Gotham City, but luckily for us there is a solution to just such an issue. That solution is Nightwing.
Who Is He?
The first Robin, Dick Grayson, is all grown up and out to protect the streets of Gotham City.
Why Should He Get His Own Series?
- First and foremost is image rehabilitation. If we ever want to see a Robin story line done properly on film, there first has to be a respectful take on the character somewhere else. I think TV is just the place for such treatment.
- Second is the pliable nature of a crime fighting narrative. The creators can easily switch between episodic and serialized storytelling, which allows the show to have both broad audience and geek appeal.
- Gotham City, as a setting, allows for familiar, if underused characters, such as Batwoman, Batgirl, and Red Robin to make appearances in the book. Of course there is always the lingering possibility that Batman himself could show up for a story line or two.
- Dick Grayson is a younger and less dark version of Bruce Wayne. He carries significantly less baggage while still having an interesting past.
- Setting this in the Batman universe gives the storytellers access to an impressive list of established villains.
- Nightwing doesn’t have any superpowers so there are no pesky green screen flying sequences or giant CG fight scenes.
FX – A serious comic book show will need patient and daring executives behind it, and FX has proven themselves to be just that in the last few years. They have also shown that they are not shy about violence on their network which comes in handy when your main character is a hand to hand fighter.
Who Should Bring It To TV?
Bryan Singer and J. Michael Straczynski – In order to bring a show like this to the air you need an executive producer who understands the property and has the clout to keep the network at bay. Bryan Singer is one such a producer. His success with the X-Men franchise is well known but he also produces the immensely popular House for Fox. Singer will get you to the table but once he does someone has to deliver the meal and that’s where J. Michael Straczynski comes in. He has ties to the comic book world, he wrote for six years on The Amazing Spider-man, and the significant TV experience, he was show runner on the long running sic fi series Babylon 5, to make him uniquely qualified for a show like this.
Who Should Play Him?
Ian Somerhalder – Who ever plays Dick Grayson needs to be approachable and charming, but he also needs to have a hint of danger about him. Ian Somerhalder, with his turns as Boone on Lost and Damon on The Vampire Diaries, has proven himself to be a diverse and capable television actor. The viewers who know his work like him and those who don’t still recognize his face and that sort of recognition is a key factor in launching a new series.
So, that’s my take on Nightwing as a television show but I want to know what you think. Do you like my casting? My network choice? Do you even think Nightwing would work as a TV show? Sound off in the comment below or come join the discussion on Twitter and Facebook.