In what might as well be known as the Age of Netflix, there seems to be a growing audience crying out for Marvel Studios to partner with the media outlet. The question among nerd circles is whether their rival, DC, should follow suit. There are plenty of points on both sides of the argument. From here, however, we’ll simply focus on why it should happen and which characters might benefit most.
DC should absolutely try for this as they still have plenty of characters that won’t necessarily make it onto Fox’s Gotham or into any of the CW series’ like Flash or Legends of Tomorrow or into the DC cinematic universe. There are a multitude of characters with their own unique histories and supporting casts of characters to make the Netflix option viable.
Nightwing – This is The Boy Wonder, Dick Grayson, all grown up and living in Blüdhaven, a city worse than Gotham. There’s your grit right there. The first season could either be a Year One scenario where he learns the ropes of working without a partner and his hunt for Tony Zucco, the man who killed his parents. They may introduce Lady Shiva as the Big Bad or push on to someone like Black Mask or Blockbuster. Season 2 might involve his attempt to work for Blüdhaven PD, trying to change things from the inside. Oracle may come in at this point as well, or James Gordon, Jr may be added as a serial killer threat at some point.
Grifter – The gunslinging WildCAT, Cole Cash, may be introduced in his own series, much like Marvel’s Jessica Jones, several years after his time on the aforementioned team. The first season could tackle his slumming it as a con artist and occasional hired gun. His brother Max, now possessed by a Daemonite, could be the first season antagonist. This could offer a slight family drama aspect to the show.
Lex Luthor – We need a new look at a main villain. It’s been done in the comics by Brian Azzarello in the Lex Luthor mini-series several years ago. This could be Lex’ rise to power prior to Superman showing up. He would see himself as humanity’s salvation, as he has for decades in the comics. He would be constantly straddling the line of morality that separates heroes and villains, eventually becoming the hero, at a cost. He could have run ins with Lois and Perry in the first season. His big arc could involve starting up Project Cadmus and the cloning experiments. His nemesis could be Morgan Edge and GBS.
Shazam – This one could be interesting, especially if you use the entire pilot as the origin story. The grit is inlaid when you juxtapose the backgrounds of Shazam and Black Adam. Season 2 might include Dr Sivana and Mr Mind as the main villains, trying to control his power. Half the show could focus on Billy trying to cope with his foster family and possibly introducing Mary Marvel or Freddy Freeman later on.
Swamp Thing – Dr Alec Holland’s transformation into the iconic Swamp Thing seems to be made for Netflix. In the wake of shows like John Constantine and Lucifer on networks like NBC and Fox, it seems quite timely. Netflix takes the dark aesthetic that the series would require and brings it to life. As long-running a series as Swamp Thing was, there are a multitude of storylines that could come about, not the least of which could involve Matt Ryan reprising the aforementioned role of John Constantine.
Sandman – Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is rife with the kind of darkness and drama that would break Netflix much like the launch of Luke Cage did recently. Like Marvel’s series’, it would require relative unknowns to help with the suspension of disbelief that would be necessary for it to truly rise up like the best of dreams. It also has the potential for Crossover with Constantine or, more likely, Lucifer‘s Tom Ellis. Better still, each episode or minor arc could see a guest appearance by another of the Endless, Morpheus’ siblings. Death would be a good recurring character, as a confidant to her younger brother.
As with Marvel’s mini-universe within Netflix, this could be the better side of DC’s media empire. Tie-ins may even help the somewhat ailing DC Cinematic Universe that we’ve seen since Man of Steel. Bringing in some of the less popular DC/Vertigo Universe, DC might even help raise its sales of comics. Each of these characters would benefit from the Netflix spotlight. A series on this platform could help the uninitiated become fans while exploring the darkness in and surrounding each character, while developing an expanded Universe beyond CW and the big screen. If you have more ideas, feel free to share in the comments section, but please do so respectfully.