TV Series Idea: The Classic Adventures of Superman
I've wrote previously about getting ideas out of my head so they don't sit around in my skull rotting away like so many bits of dead fish at a fishing Co-op. Here's one I've been developing and using as a bit of a Fisher Price mental gym for my brain while working on artwork.
`Make what you yourself, want to see.'
A regular piece of advice I read from successful artists, authors and film makers is to make what you want to see yourself. It's how I approach my own artwork. Artist friends of mine say to me 'you should exhibit your sketches Rossco rather than the finished piece - they have so much more energy and life than your finished work.' Well, maybe they do, and it's passively-aggressively nice of them to say so (Rrrrowwwwrr!) but I have a vision of the finished piece in my brain cavity and for the life of me, I can't shake it until I've completed the work and exorcised that little fella into existence. The sketches to me, are works in progress. Half finished ideas and exploratory mental musings. Hmmm, I digress. My point is. If you're an artist. You have to be selfish and trusting in your own ego. Doing work for others I've found, can be soul destroying.
The point of this ramble is that you should do what you want to see and this is my idea for a television series that I want to see. I've always been a big fan of Superman. Without overly gushing - I love him. And like many millions of others around the world, he's my Jesus myth. I've enjoyed the American series Smallville over the years, But it's always frustrated me. I know it's about the young Clark Kent coming to terms with his powers, his place in the world and building up to becoming Earth's mightiest hero. But for me it's been a ten year prick tease and goddamit, I need some relief!
A Re-visioned Classic Take on Superman!
One day earlier this year, I was watching the underrated classic 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'. The production style and direction of it got me to thinking that this was how a TV series of Superman should look and with digital special effects these days, nothing is impossible. (Oh, it goes without saying that it would have to be in 3D!) Sky Captain had iconic shots of people in suits pointing to the sky and I could imagine them pointing at Superman flying through the skyscraper canyons of Metropolis on his way to rescue someone. The series would begin in the thirties when men wore hats and women liked men who wore hats. It would have the popular hits of the day as part of the soundtrack but with new modern arrangements. (which I reckon would be really cool and provide another revenue stream for the studio. How `bout it Warner Bros?)
There could be digital cameo's from Movie Stars like Bing Crosby & Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, Humphrey Bogart and historical figures such as Albert Einstein, President Roosevelt, Gandi and Hitler! Perhaps visiting or living in Metropolis and getting into adventures with Superman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. I don't see the series as campy but a hybrid of the old movie cliffhanger serials that were the basis for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies and film noir detective adventures but with truly suspenseful action and adventure. Stylistically I see the series moving season to season begining with the high contrast look of the thirties to the gritty reality of the forties fighting enemy spies and threats from above, to the Fifties where there is a rich saturated colour that would herald the Golden Age and the formation of the Justice League of America and a whole slew of other DC Comics Characters.
Moral Complexities abound
This would be a series where people, villains and superhero's die. The series should treat Superhero's as if they're real and look at the worlds reaction to their appearance. The villains would have to be truly evil and corrupt. Metropolis would begin the series corrupt and over-run by the mob. The Daily Planet would begin as a mouth piece newspaper for organised crime but through Supermans example, things begin to change. Cynicism and Apathy should be as much an enemy to Superman as Brainiac is. But Superman's goodness, his sense of truth and justice, should be real but not glib. The series can illustrate to younger viewers that doing bad is easy. Being good is a challenge that requires hard work and mental discipline but the rewards can be far greater and stronger than the easy, cheap and short-lived gains of crime. The moral complexities of this series would, I reckon, require writers of the calibre who wrote the 'Sopranos ', 'Deadwood' and 'Boardwalk Empire'. Children today are not as innocent as they once were when Superman first appeared. They can smell bullshit a mile away and they see injustice every day, so cheap n' easy moralizing just won't cut it.
A Man all men want to be
I reckon Superman should be a genuinely likable bloke as well. Men should want to be like him and he shouldn't be a derisive figure of fun. He's from the country. Country people tend to have a dry sense of humour. They're not into silliness, they only speak when they've got something to say but they love a good chuckle. He's the strong silent type, like a buff Clint Eastwood. I like Tom Welling from Smallville as the young Clark Kent but he plays him like someone who's just had a mildly uncomfortable rectal examination and isn't looking forward to the next one. And Brandon Routh? Well he was playing Christopher Reeve, who for me and so many others, was Superman.
What I've written here today is just the tip of the old iceberg. I've thought of putting up a Facebook page to perhaps try and gauge interest for the idea and maybe start a movement to get it made. I'll put an update when I do, but for the moment, write me your opinions in the comments for this posting. I know it would be an expensive series to make. But it would be an Event Television Series and if it has the right balance of mystery, suspense, humour, cliffhangers and well written, compelling story lines with great special effects - how can it loose?!
I even have an idea for the final episode of the series in mind that I reckon will leave people as blubbering wrecks on their couches while watching it. I won't say any more other than it involving the death of a prominent world figure.
Tell me what you think and if you yourself would enjoy watching each week, `The Classic Adventures of Superman' on your widescreen, high def 3D telly in surround sound.
I'll leave my last words for the season to the man himself;