Sunday, September 14, 2014

EDITORIAL: A CW Green Lantern Show: Why, How, Who and When

All About a CW GL Show

Part 1: Why Green Lantern Quite Possibly Could Be The Next CW Show All Credit to a friend at the DC TV Universe Facebook for this section of the write up

Arrow started off as a passion project for Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim. When it was first on the CW, it reeked of a CW show. The dialogue was overly elaborated, the writing was overly dramatic with small sprinkles of super hero action, and a couple C and low B list DC characters were added to remind viewers they were watching a comic book show. But Guggenheim and Kreisberg were able to do something they’re always wanted to do – tell a super hero story. After the failure of Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds, they probably considered themselves lucky by being able to give it another go at all, so they used their opportunity with the CW to give themselves another shot.

The first season of Arrow premiered and it was like it was molded from the same cookie cutter as every other DC show. Fast forward two years and two seasons later, and the show is almost unrecognizable in the way it presents itself. There has been very apparent evolution of Arrowfrom a CW drama to a full fledged DC comics television show. The show pitch was something probably like, “The Dark Knight for the CW crowd.” And I couldn’t respect that more. Guggenheim and Kreisberg knew what they were doing. The Nolan Trilogy was still the craze when Arrow was being developed, and it seemed like a naturally good idea for a tone. The character of Green Arrow, was after all, basically a rip off of Batman. Arrowcave? Really?

Anyway, the producers got the show green lit and on the CW. It was grounded, dark, and filled with teenage angst. As time went on though, somewhere around the time of Manu Bennett’s character Slade Wilson, it began to feel a bit different. It began to feel more evenly balanced between drama and action, and DC character involvement was picking up quick. Deadshot, the Huntress, Slade, Merlyn, Bronze Tiger, and even The Royal Flush Gang all had live action appearances. DC Comics fans were quickly noticing. On top of that, the writers were daring and were not afraid to limit the story. Does Oliver stop Merlyn’s plot at the end of season 1? You would think so. But he doesn’t, far from it actually. He fails, the glades are destroyed, there’s 10’s of 1,000’s of deaths, and Oliver’s best friend is killed. Whoa.

Arrow is a show that’s constantly evolving. I sometimes think the writers browse internet fan forums for character and story ideas. As a result of that evolution and overwhelming fan popularity to the shows, Guggenheim and Kreisberg have been granted more creative liberties. They introduce super powers in the form of mirakuru, they introduce Barry Allen, and they even do a take on Solomon Grundy (who I’m still waiting for more and more impatiently to make another appearance. Arrow writer’s, if you’re out there and see this, you need to after the way Oliver took him out in season 2!) Barry Allen wasn’t just a one episode cameo though, on no, he was getting his own spin off show.

If you would have said the character would be getting a spin off after the first couple episodes, I would have told you you’re nuts. There’s no way they could introduce those power’s into the real world of Arrow. Now, however, it seems almost natural. With confirmed Flash rogues like Weather Wizard, Captain Cold, and yes, Gorilla Grodd, the word “grounded” is no longer in the CW superhero show descriptions. Let’s project out a couple years from now, and follow the same trend. What’s the next logical step, in terms of comic books, that the show’s will go? I would guess outer space. And with Superman currently preoccupied destroying Metropolis in another universe, Green Lantern is a great choice. Just think, if you were Marc Guggenheim, after seeing years and years of internet comments trash their rendition of Green Lantern, wouldn’t you want some redemption and anotherr shot?

Ferris Air was quickly shown in the Arrow during the episode, “Sacrifice” in the form of a plane being shot down by villain Edward Fryers. Marc Guggenheim took to twitter and posted a tweet of the same aircraft. The, as icing on the cake, Ferris Air is a featured, front and enter, prominent easter egg in The Flash. It almost seems like the idea of introducing Green Lantern was slowly growing right along with the show. Guggenheim and Kreisberg have said they always plan to follow up on the elements they introduce into the show. Ferris Air has a long history with Green Lantern (which you can read about here). It’s almost safe to say Ferris Air exists, Hal Jordan must be out there somewhere.

Now, my last point- Stephen Amell almost admitted it, without admitting, and being as cryptic as ever. At the recent Fan Expo in Toronto, Amell was asked who from DC comics he’d like to bring into the show. His response: For the longest time, he said his top pick was Ra’s al Ghul. The villain is already slated for an arc, so Amell’s second choice was a cosmic guardian from the DCU. “Now, boy we’ve referenced Ferris Air a lot,” said Amell. “It would be really cool to have Green Lantern. Hopefully, that happens. I have no inside information, unless I do.”

Tricky, tricky, tricky. Now it could be true he just said that for the fan reaction. It is true though that Ra’s al Ghul was his pick last time he was asked the question, and it happened. Is he predicting the future again with the help of some insider information? His , “unless I do” at the end of the statement is certainly suspicous. This could mean either they very close to being allowed to use Green Lantern and Amell is hopeful, or they’ve already got him planned at some point. Either way DC fans win.

Part 2: How to Make the Show Work

With the Flash and Green Arrow holding down the CW’s Tuesday and Wednesday nights…and an obvious DC TV Universe coming to fruition…what is the next logical choice for a TV Show?... Hal Jordan as Green Lantern!...Why do you ask? Who is the one person who is know for being a connector between the Flash and Green Arrow?...Hal Jordan! Logically, DC/WB won’t use the trinity on TV because it just draws attention away from the universe that is built already and the characters that they are using. However, DC/WB SHOULD use a trinity to hold down their building universe, and that trinity should encompass Green Lantern, Flash, and Green Arrow., three “buddies” with completely different personalities, and different power sets.

Simply put aliens, space travel, lasers, new weekly sci-fi concepts. This is the core of Green Lantern, and has been done over and over and over on TV for years.
The problem, and by problem we mean relatively insignificant issue is... how do all the constructs on a TV budget' and the answer is simple: you don't. In order to do Green Lanterns on TV, the powers of the average Green Lantern would have to be reduced to that of your average TV spaceship: shoot lasers, block with force fields, fly through space, and minor(ish) constructs. That's what an average GL does, so make that canon.

And this was 1987...
Now you can still do some constructs, but make them something very special that only gifted/chosen/extra talented Green Lanterns can do: Sinestro, Hal, Guardians, and even then only with great willpower and ring charge usage. And then make them practical effects, more of an object summoning power than anything else. If GL is going to make a sword, have the prop guys rig up a green sword. If he's going to make a giant baseball bat... make it. If he's going to make a green suit of battle armor... well... clearly it's the season finale, obviously if done right there is room for this in the budget (to do in CGI). You can even do Hal's trademark hand/glove/punch stuff actually by superimposing a hand and doing the results practically, though there's a bit of cheese there, it's a cheesy move even in the original comics. So, that really is the key to doing a GL show on TV: maximizing practicality, something the comic never had to take into consideration. And while I'd agree that constructs are a widely used and popular part of the power set, when you actually read and look at GL comics, and certainly animated adaptations of GL, constructs are surprisingly rare, especially amongst alien lanterns. Think of all the times Kilowog has appeared... has he ever had any memorable constructs? Maybe the sun in the movie... it's just so rare that constructs are actually have an effect on the story. If pretty much just shooting lasers is a poor representation of their abilities, then most adaptations are poor representations of their abilities. That's generally an Earth Lantern thing, in my experience.

Group fight...notice the lack of big fancy un-needed contructs?
No fancy constructs there...and the series would really only feature Hal logically

The hardest power to deal with would actually be flight, as you'd basically have to string people up in harnesses on green screen for hours in order to shoot the space fights and space travel conversations. After that, superimposing them onto space (no need for shadows or other integrations) with a green glow is incredibly easy, as SFX shots go. The challenge would be atmospheric flight, where you'd basically have the GLs doing up up and away in the Lois and Clark Adventures style as opposed to GLs leisurely floating in the air.

In terms of aliens, they shouldn’t become rubberforehead aliens. You'd need an experienced prosthetics team, perhaps even culled from sci-fi TV veterans but Kilowog isn't a tougher nut than, say, Star Trek's Morn. Salaak does not demand more CGI than Dr. Who's Moxx of Balhoun, Even the Guardians need not appear more frequently or more alien than Stargate's Thor. All these shows have smaller budgets than Arrow or Flash, by all accounts. It's not about having a big enough budget to do aliens. The key would be to hire established visual effects artists that have worked on Sci-Fi television series before. I'm all for practical makeup effects whenever possible.

Practical Effects!
As for there environments…which should be, a combination of filtering on-location shots, many of which are available in that Canada area, especially since unlike Arrow and Flash, GL wouldn't be an urban setting, but beyond that adding a great set/prop/practical effects team to set the soundstages into something cool week to week. I imagine a standing set for some Oan locations and then a soundstage that changes from episode to episode depending on whatever exotic locale is required. Or not, I don't know too much about TV production.

Other than the powers being dulled down ever so slightly to a more realistic level and aliens being a tad more practical as well, the major tradeoff would be a need for 'bottle shows' either with GL grounded on Earth, either without charge or without mission to deal with Ferris Aircraft and the Earth cast or on some practical standing Oa sets for basic training, day to day GL procedures or some other CGI-less thing that a more personal story can be sat upon, but that being said…having story outside of hero persona give the character true depth and allows for unspoken development within multiple characters. But lets not forget GL DOES HAVE EARTH-BASED VILLAINS!, A FACT FANS SEEM TO OVERLOOK! And again on that note…I would dare say that limiting GL's powers in this way makes him a more interesting character for drama and tension and resourcefulness. I can recall the only times I liked Hal Jordan were when he was low on charge and had to use his limited charge well while at the same time finding a creative way to get a recharge, or not. If that happened every week, even Hal-averse guys like me would love the character.
All in all there are definite limitations on a TV budget, but the core of who Green Lantern is, the coolness of our hero creating something out of thin air, and the functional action of his stories are all very much doable (and have been done) on a TV show. Patrolling alien planets and facing utterly unique problems, dealing with a corps of aliens with a creed and internal politics, using incredible sci-fi devices creatively to solve said unique problems. To me, that makes it worth it, that makes it possible to do justice to the character, even if you can't do all the spectacle of a movie. I believe these characters are awesome enough that they're still compelling without major spectacle, just like your Dr. Whos, your Jean Luc Picards, your Mal Reynodses.
In terms of suits/costumes…It should be fairly easy to adapt GL. The costume is more basic than Flash's, and could be enhanced by the glowing effects we've seen with Barry and the speed force in the series previews.

Part 3: Casting Hal Jordan

To open, I would like to begin by saying that if you are using Barry AND Oliver…then it only makes sense (unless rights cannot be obtained) to use Hal Jordan…now I will go over the basics whist discrediting some popular fan-choices.

Lets begin with Jensen Ackles…I will not contest that Jensen Ackles is a good actor…he is…but realistically both this casting for him and the Red Hood casting are unrealistic…for reasons stated In terms of logistics…although Arrow and The Flash may take liberties in there “comic book correctness” but they do stay true to a lot of the deeper meanings within comics…so it can be rightfully assumed that Hal Jordan would be the “bro” to Barry and the “bro” to Oliver, who would seem to act as a mediator in times of need. On the show, Barry is 24/25, Oliver is currently 27…Amell can and does pull of a 27 year old look. Obviously Gustin can pull off the look of someone younger…but if Hal was to be cast…and logically was to be this “bro” he would fall into a similar age range of 24-27…Ackles, and I think everyone can attest to this, looks to old…he can shave….he still looks to old. People seem to mistake this for me saying he is an old man…but that IS NOT what I am saying…I am saying he simply looks to old to play a young adult…he IS a manly man. As for his acting skill, yes he can play a charismatic jerk…that is Dean Winchester…but watch him on Smallville he can barely pull of happy as an emotion…Hal Jordan may be cocky…but he is cocky and happy…he isn’t brooding in his cockiness he is happy go lucky (especially in his New 52 appearances). Now that we have touched upon attitude, age, and appearance, I rest my case.

Now onto David Ramsey’s John Diggle, to begin…if there was a CW GL TV, or EVEN A GL cameo (which is a HUGE character to simply cameo...) logically in the scheme of things…they WOULD use Hal if they can get the rights…they would ONLY use John if they couldn’t get the rights to Hal, and with the use of Barry in the Flash show...Hal seems to be right...and cinematically it would be smart to go with he most recognizable pairing to non-comic fans of Wally and John (made popular by the JLA cartoon). But back onto specifically David Ramsey’s John Diggle. Many people seem to think that John Diggle will at some time make the transition to John Stewart…The only support they can seem to give is “His name is John, it would be cool, it adds to the character, he is black, and he has a military background”.

To begin my rebuttal, I would like to pose the question of… “What does this add to Diggles character?”…Nothing…it adds nothing to DIGGLES character, if anything it wipes everything we ever learned about Diggle off of the table…any access backstory that doesn’t line up with John Stewart would become pointless, and to say they wouldn’t is wrong…because only comic fans who know John Stewart want Diggle to become a form of John Stewart, and so, they would also be the ones to notice inconsistency in Diggles backstory…and anything that was added to bring depth to the character of DIGGLE…would also become quite useless as they would start to bring in more new elements to make his character somewhat resemble John Stewart.

Another point I would like to touch on his the emphasis on calling him “Diggle” or “Digg”… they are clearly trying to make you forget his name is John…they are getting rid of commonality in the backstory by doing so… it is not a clever ploy to trick you…they are giving John Diggle his own “superhero” name…he is “Diggle/Digg”…therefore establishing him as his own man. Another "belief" that I see is that people claim he if he ISN'T John Stewart, it would still be cool to make him a GL (seeing as other people who aren't permanent GL's become them all the time, Superman, Batman etc...) this point I again raise the question and answer of what does that do to Diggle's character...and the answer is the same as does next to nothing for his character...people say it would be "cool" for Diggle to become a GL and that is used as a backing point...but in my opinion it would be cool for Felicity to become Stephanie Brown...(not really)...but she is blonde...and smart...and knows a crimefighter...does that mean its going to happen? No.. not it doesn't.

Yet another point that people try to make is that "It has been something that has been discussed amongst David Ramsey and the producers because at Comic-Con 2014,when asked about where we can expect his character to go, he said John Stewart has come up a few times." Obviously it has come up! For the exact same reasons as Stephen Amell responding the way he did when asked about Diggle being Green Lantern, he said, “I mean it looks good. And if we know anything about television shows, if it looks good, it has a much better chance of happening.” It is most likely a long running joke for the exact reasons I have stated above...they know it makes absolutely no sense to change Diggle into a Green Lantern because it would DESTROY Diggle's character. There is absolutely nothing gained and everything lost with Diggle.

Lastly, the point is brought up that there have been quite a few Ferris Aircraft easter eggs in both series’ now, so if Green Lantern was to spin off from either Flash or Arrow, what if there was a show featuring both Hal and John.... Supposedly this is supposed to make the show "unique" from Arrow and The Flash......This IS NOT Nightwing...who's spinoff would be seen as a ripoff of Arrow seeing as neither of them have powers and they both use the same type of vigilantism to save people (this would be how the general non comic reading public would see it)....but Green Lantern...this guy has a ring...that can construct anything...he fights in space...he flies...there are about 1000 other things that make the show ACTUALLY unique rather than just having two main characters...

Now onto my personal choice(s), Drew Roy. Roy is an actor who is 28 years old, but looks as if he could be younger, therefore placing him in the ideal playable 24-27year old age range. As for looks, minus hair color (which Grant Gustin helped to discredit as a necessity) he does look the part…if you look at almost any photo of Drew Roy, you feel the same thing, you think “this guy is cocky, but happy”…he has a smile on his face at all times, but an arrogant sense about him as well…ideal for our Hal Jordan, and also for the Arrowverse as it would bring a new personality into the verse we have yet to see to counteract; Barry’s happiness and clumsiness and Oliver’s semi-brooding, semi-aggravated, content….On to acting skill…anyone who has seem Drew Roy act knows he is a believable actor…even in his beginnings on a two-part episode of iCarly you could see a little Hal Jordan spark in him…he has the right skill set and attitude to portray a young and willing to learn Hal Jordan on-screen.

*On the same par as Drew Roy, and meeting similar standards, is Steven R. McQueen, and although a fan-favorite for Nightwing, he would also play a damn good Hal Jordan.*

In a pole spanning over 3 Facebook pages, that totaled (factoring in overlap) about 17,000people the voting went down as follows:


  1. I would choose Josh Bowman as Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern

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  3. I really not a big GL fan, but I like your suggestions for how this could work...and really GL WOULD make the most sense for them to introduce.