Do you think Green Lantern can work on TV?

Discussion in 'Green Lantern World' started by Mr. Dent, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Mr. Dent Registered

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    Straight forward question. I ask because of the Flash and Green Arrow TV shows and how Ferris Airlines is being teased in them. It would be cool to see GL on TV in the same universe as them. Obviously, budget concerns is what would stand in the way, but do you think there is some way they can pull it off?
     
  2. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    I would say no. Between the aliens, and the way Green Lantern's powers work would make it too expensive. Perhaps as a miniseries with a huge budget, but not as a TV show.
     
  3. FeedOnATreeFrog (A Metal Gear reference)

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    Nope.

    The animated series was the way to go; no real creative boundaries.
     
  4. flickchick85 Admin of Might

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    No. The budgets seem stretched thin enough on Arrow and Flash as it is (both have production values that are a little cheesy for my tastes). There's no way they could handle GL's level of effects and make it look remotely good, imo.
     
  5. Rorschach2012 Batman is my Dad

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    I'm all for it. Green Lantern getting his own series is something I'd love to see, but yeah I can admit that it'd be hard to do on a tv budget. Not impossible though.

    I think it's far more likely that we'll see Hal Jordan/Green Lantern on Arrow or Flash and no solo GL series. It'd be a lot easier to do GL justice if he was only showing up for guest appearances.
     
  6. Silvermoth Avenger

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    No way! They couldn't afford it, not even on a doctor who budget!

    Do it right as a movie
     
  7. DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    It can absolutely be done.

    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 my account the only significant problem 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 forcefields, fly through space. That's what an average GL does, so make that canon, that that's what an average GL does.

    Now you still do constructs, but make them something very special that only gifted/chosen/extra talented Green Lanterns can do. Your Sinestros, your Hals, your Johns. 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. 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.

    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 further interest of practicality, all the aliens 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.

    Other than the powers being nerfed, 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.

    So 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.

    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.

    Long story short: Nerf the powers, do a Dr.Who/Star Trek mashup type thing (with a higher budget!). Rake in the success.
     
    #7 DrCosmic, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
  8. Harry Dresden Registered

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    No.

    Don't even bother.

    I mean The 100 looks pretty impressive when it's in space, but it's still ridiculously hard to pull off GL on the small-screen. I do think they should introduce Hal Jordan, but just have him be a regular dude for most of the show.
     
  9. The Guard Registered

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    If people whine about the effects in the big budget movie, what chance does a TV series have?
     
  10. Lantern Venom Lego SUCKS

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    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. He shouldn't be a regular, which would be logically explained by him patrolling other planets in his sector, so that would ease the CGI burden.
     
  11. Rorschach2012 Batman is my Dad

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    Awesome post :up: agreed with absolutely everything you're saying here. There are plenty of scifi shows that already exist that prove Green Lantern can work on tv. Greg Berlanti's original Green Lantern script was phenomenal. I really think the Arrow/Flash team could do an excellent take on a Green Lantern tv series if given the chance.

    The key would be to hire established visual effects artists that have worked on scifi television series before. I'm all for practical makeup effects whenever possible.

    I think tv is one of the best ways to adapt Green Lantern, there's so much lore there...and this is probably the only way that all the major earth GL's can get their due. There's so much potential for a Green Lantern tv series, and if Arrow season 3 and Flash are a success, i think it's a good chance we could get a Green Lantern series in fall 2015
     
  12. DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    ^Thanks man! I'm glad I'm not just out here frothing at the mouth. I think if they do a third series it would have to be as different from Arrow and Flash as Flash is from Arrow. There wouldn't be much point in doing another crime drama or another straight superhero show. Any such stories could be better covered by Flash or Arrow.

    From what I can tell, some people would rather have no GL than a toned down GL, which is a little sad that his power level has become an indispensable part of the character for some. Everyone else is getting toned down but that's not okay for GL for some, even though part of the problem with the GL film's budget was their belief that so much had to be done CGI. For a TV show especially, with a limited time frame, minimizing the CGI effects while still getting the superpower action on film is key. Even an awesome CGI house will really just get you high quality CGI, but they aren't able to get much more CGI per week than anyone else.

    Which reminds me I didn't talk about alien environments, which, as always, are 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 much about TV production.

    I honestly think GL is the best suited for another series, not just for being unique, but I suspect he's the most high profile character that is both available and can be done justice on a TV budget. We can't got to Atlantis nearly as often as we can an Oa or Mogo. Shapeshifting is much more expensive, effects-wise, than green lasers and floating in space. Though I don't think they'll do a third series so quickly. I think like Arrow, Flash will get two years to breathe, though I have no doubt that it will introduce a host of superhumans to the CWDCU.
     
  13. dnno1 Registered

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    I agree with you up to the point where you say to ditch the constructs. There are lots of ways to make constructs other than the use of CGI and even if they did use it it could fit within their regular TV budget (its so inexpensive that you could do the effects at home on your computer). Remember, Shows like the Star Trek (NG, Voyager, and Enterprise), and Star Gate series used CGI for their visual effects on a regular basis, and a Green Lantern live action TV series would more than likely have a similar budget. I think the big issue facing a project of that nature would be finding the right network to air the show. I myself think that it would be best aired on the SyFi Channel or FX rather than regular network television.
     
  14. Boy Scout Registered

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    No.

    I don't think it should be attempted, either, if the only way to make it work is to neuter everybody.
     
  15. DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    The network issue is a big issue, I'd agree. I personally don't have a problem CW-izing it, to the point where the focus is on 4-6 fresh lantern recruits as they figure out their place in the universe, complete with typical CW drama between them in a sort of Rookie Blue type thing. Someone earlier mentioned the 100, and I think that's pretty close to the tone I'd go for. A SyFy or FX thing could allow for less melodrama however.

    I think all manner of light projectile/lasers can be done well on a TV budget, like the skull shaped projectile you showed me, with a couple days from a pro it could look really cool, but to me, that's toning down the powers. It's not like summoning a big green bear to tear things up... or a 2 foot tall bear, or making a big giant kool aid head to suck up all the water with a straw or a oversized matchbox hotwheels racetrack to catch a helicopter... this is stuff that's beyond anything you'll see on Stargate or Star Trek because it has to interact with the environment so thoroughly, and you also have a need to CGI the environment itself at a certain scale of destruction/manipulation.

    It would be like the macrovirus episode of Star Trek, you spend a huge chunk of the week's budget on something that is crazy short and looks more than a mite cheesy, even for someone like me who looks forward to Sharknado 2.
     
  16. DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    That saddens me, that a half-powered GL is considered neutered. And not just by you either. I thought the characters were deeper than that.
     
  17. Boy Scout Registered

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    Well...yeah. At least the way you're describing it.

    They are. But part of their appeal is the showcase of their amazing abilities. If you can't do those abilities justice on TV, in a live action setting, perhaps it would be better to look into a different medium.
     
  18. Rorschach2012 Batman is my Dad

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    Green Lantern as a concept speaks to me the most when they aren't using ridiculously imaginative constructs. IMO it's not about how creative and wild the constructs can be... The way Dr.Cosmic is describing a GL tv show is not neutering the character at all IMO. The character could afford to be a bit grounded before being adapted into live action.

    I'm totally fine with Green Lantern's being slightly powered down to work on tv. Think about it... tv is a perfect place to slowly show Sinestro's turn... Manhunters, Atrocitus, Larfleeze, Despero, Mongul, Hector Hammond... You can show Hal being infected by Parallax, and Kyle can take up the mantle in later seasons...Man... a GL series would be great.

    As long as it had a budget the size of Farscape or BSG or something, it could work. I really hope this happens..

    Two years after Flash seems smart. Giving that show time to breathe would be a good call. Maybe they intro Hal in season 2 of Flash?
     
  19. The Guard Registered

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    I dunno...I'm getting Justice League of America TV pilot flashbacks...
     
  20. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    The bigger problem with "toning down" is less the constructs and more the lack of space-born battles. I can't really see any affordable way to do them, other than using low quality CGI substitutes for the actors ( presumably shown only at high speed and a long distance off, to disguise the fact that they are very obvious CGI substitutes ).
     
  21. DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    An excellent example of doing constructs on a TV budget. Like I said, don't do that. They couldn't even do them on a movie budget. Part of the issue with these constructs is that they have to be hyper-real because they're so unreal.

    I can't guarantee it's affordable, but I would shoot it just like every other space battle on sci-fi TV, except instead of model ships against a green screen, it'd be the actors, perhaps strung up in a harness depending on the shot, against a green screen. I mean, we've seen several flying people on TV. It's more expensive, sure, but the freedom of space, of not having to fear looking fake so much, or care about gravity, allows you do shots that can avoid the cheesiness. You can track attacks from long distances, there's a lot of freedom there. Because it'd likely take a whole day to do all the harness work for a normal battle, and the greater part of a week for a team to superimpose everything right and get the lasers and shields and explosions down, you can't do a lot of that, but I really think it can be done cool on a TV budget.

    There's definite challenges when it comes to showing a lot of GLs in battle in space, for time reasons, that'd probably be a season finale type thing, or in doing reaction shots much different than what you would do in a ground battle, that may not be possible, but that may not be needed either.


    I guess I don't know why the abilities aren't being showcased. The hero still comes up with cool random constructs to save the day. They need to be bigger to be done justice? Constructs need to be the primary form of combat in order to be done justice? Green Lanterns shooting lasers, as they often do, isn't a good representation? Is it that constructs should be created whimsically instead of in response to a crucial need? I don't quite get it.

    Now if we're just talking about Kyle Rayner, I get it. He does stupidness that could never even be touched with practical effects. Giant teddybears catching purse snatchers, flooding the streets with green goo from a spigot. Anime characters coming out the wazoo. Totally. But Hal? John? Guy? Every non human GL? They make stuff that can be done practically 9 times out of 10.

    And honestly, it may be possible/affordable to shoot moving/live stuff practical, and then filter it to translucent green and then superimpose it into a scene. It may need to be to scale to do so without the cheese, or maybe not. Not sure.

    Maybe I'm just a hapless dreamer, but I envision and truly, truly epic props department with a whole lot of green stuff and people actually reacting to GL constructs as memorable cool moments instead of throwaway gags, though there'd be some of those too. Of course, I also envision an epic Mexican standoff involving some power rings, so I may be over-ambitious.
     
  22. dnno1 Registered

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    Although going to the CW is always an option, I just don't believe that the target market for that network matches that of the Green Lantern franchise. Green Lantern is about space based science fiction. That kind of stuff appeals to fans who like Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Gate, et. al, and the producers should seek a network that attracts those kind of fans. As far as the effects that I showed as an example and toning down the (Green Lantern's) powers, you can produce more than just a skull with those tools. In fact you can produce any 3D or 2D shape/object, and it is not that expensive to do. There are libraries of CGI objects out there that are not expensive to purchase and whomever the effects team they choose could easily pull from those sources to make the constructs.
     
    #22 dnno1, Jun 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
  23. DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    True, I'm not saying that's not a factor, but the target market for the CW seems to match up well enough with the target market for the Flash, much less The 100, or Starcrossed, also space-based Sci-fi. It's not because the CW target audience is into superheroes or sci-fi, but they're into melodrama, wherever it appears, so long as its good.

    A CW GL would be more like a Star Wars, where the focus is on the characters and their relationships and not so much the sci-fi. Now it's true on another network you could focus on the sci fi, like Stargate/Trek tend to, but then you're getting a more limited audience, and thus you need a lower budget. By focusing on melodrama, the sci-fi heads can get more of what they want than they could on the SyFy channel, and the typical CW viewer gets all of what they want. Neither Arrow nor Flash could afford to be what they are on SyFy.

    Away from the CW, on SyFy, there are actually concepts much better suited to TV that would be a better bet for SyFy or FX and their original programming that's not encumbered by so many expectations, and certainly not by keeping continuity with some CW shows that may be shot in an entirely different part of the continent. Part of GL's appeal for the CW, if any, is that it's a companion piece to presumably very successful shows they have already.
     
    #23 DrCosmic, Jun 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
  24. dnno1 Registered

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    Hey, Arrow is on the CW and it gets about 1.5 to 2 million households to watch and they had to adjust their budget accordingly to be on that network. That is about the same as Stargate SG1 did on SciFi network. Although CW is considered a major network it doesn't get as many viewers as the four majors (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX). Why change or re-imagine the franchise when you can just put it on a network where there are fans already there to appreciate it as it is?
     
  25. DrCosmic Professor of Power

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    CW isn't a major network, but it's more major than SyFy. Arrow averages 3+ million viewers including DVR peeps. Yes it's maybe 2 million households, but SG1 at it's peak was only doing 1.3 million households.

    The reason? Because Flash and Arrow have shown that changing and reimagining a franchise for a broader audience is more profitable and more awesome. Is there any greater set of motivations for producing a television series?

    EDIT: Now, it's true, there may be a better fit to expand the CW DCU, if they ever plan to. They'll basically need to go with aliens or with magic if they want a setting with a distinct identity from that of Arrow and Flash. Green Lantern just seems like the highest profile, and thus, most potentialed candidate outside of Wonder Woman, who I'd guess is somehow off limits. I'd also like Zatanna, but that would overlap with the Constantine show. Perhaps Raven? Vixen might be able to be adapted into a supernaturalish thing. Shazam or Aquaman could also go in that direction, but I would prefer some diversity for the lead myself.
     
    #25 DrCosmic, Jun 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014

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