Hero shows need more super

Hero shows need more super

Photo courtesy of Fantacine.com.

I love superheroes. I always have. For quite some time when I was younger, my career plans consisted mostly of gaining super-powers and fighting crime.

Obviously, I am a big fan of TV shows about superheroes. However, there is a right and a wrong way to do a show about superheroes.

Many live action TV shows about superheroes keep falling to the same failed assumption that the ‘normal’ people are more interesting than the superheroes.

What’s my problem with focusing on regular people instead of superheroes? Take “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” for example. Its decision to focus exclusively on people without superpowers in a world where superheroes exist is like telling a story set in the world of Sherlock Holmes entirely from the perspective of Inspector Lestrade. The story about Holmes is so much better.

The biggest challenge to “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” besides perhaps its budget, is that all the big-name superheroes they could get already have major franchises of their own with big-name actors that play them.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” would be much better if it took lessons from “Heroes.” I know “Heroes” wasn’t the most loved show, but even if it didn’t get everything right, there was plenty it did get right.

It did a great job of making its characters feel powerful without feeling ridiculously overpowered. It also was able to showcase impressive looking superpowers while still remaining inside a TV show budget.

Most importantly, it took place in a world where superheroes existed, and it followed those superheroes around. There were people without superpowers in this world, and they did have interesting stories, but the main focus was on the superheroes.

“Smallville” certainly wasn’t a perfect show either, but it definitely had its moments. “Smallville” was best when it focused less on boring teenage drama and more on superheroes teaming up to fight crime.

The best episode of the whole show was an episode called “Justice,” in which Superman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Cyborg all teamed up to fight Lex Luthor. Unfortunately, after that episode, they pretty much went back to their regular pattern of excessive teenage drama occasionally mixed with bouts of superheroism. The later seasons were the closest thing to a live action Justice League TV show we’ll ever get.

We can even see this in the upcoming Marvel Comics TV shows planned for Netflix. There is a group of TV shows about various Marvel Comics superheroes such as Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones. All of these will culminate in a mini-series where they team up called “The Defenders.” Instantly, these shows sound more interesting than “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” simply because they are about superheroes.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” can’t exactly get the big-name stars from the movies, but it could at least get the B-list ones that haven’t been in the movies yet.

For example, when the first trailer of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” hit, there actually was a superhero featured in the trailer. Many speculated that it was Luke Cage or another similar Marvel Comics character.

It turns out it was none of those — it was a brand new character made just for that show. This was the first of many mistakes “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” made. The next was deciding to make the main focus of the show S.H.I.E.L.D. agents themselves rather than cramming in more superheroes.

Of course, just making a show about superheroes doesn’t guarantee it will be good. “Alphas,” or the more recent “The Tomorrow People,” proved that.

However, when you have a world where superheroes exist, and you decide instead to focus on the “normal” people of the world, almost ignoring the superheroes entirely by relegating them to cameos and minor supporting roles, it definitely detracts from the story.

Mike Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].