Last week, we got the announcement that Supergirl was renewed for a 2nd season. Which is good news for those who liked the show and wanted it to succeed. But the good news was coupled with conditions.
Supergirl will be moving from CBS to the CW (which CBS co-owns). On one hand, this can be viewed as a positive move. The CW is home to other DC super hero shows (Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow) headed up by Supergirl producer Greg Berlanti. In many ways, Supergirl will be a better fit with the CW than it was over on CBS.
However, being on the CW is a less prestigious platform than CBS and comes with a smaller budget. As I speculated here before, even if Supergirl had stayed on CBS, the ratings were not good enough to maintain what CBS was paying for the show. The budget was going to have to be trimmed and indeed, the pre-renewal announcement chatter had the show's budget as a major point of contention between CBS and the producers.
Going to the CW actually increases those budgetary pressures. Supergirl at its lowest ratings on CBS draws more eyeballs than the highest rated show on the CW. Shows succeed on the CW with smaller audiences by having smaller budgets.
So how will Supergirl address significant reductions to its budget for Season 2? The first step is to move production from Los Angeles to Vancouver. This Canadian city already serves as the production base for Berlanti's other three DC super hero shows. The combination of the cheaper locale and pooling resources with the other productions will help curtail a big chunk of Supergirl's expenses.
The tone of the show may change to accommodate a smaller budget with fewer alien threats and more Earthbound perils for Supergirl to face.
And expect some trimming of the cast. Some cuts may happen simply because some actors may not want to transition from California to British Columbia. Others may be cut simply because certain actors may cost more than others. Caught in the crosshairs of that particular Venn diagram is Calista Flockhart. As the most famous person in the cast before the show's launch, I imagine Ms. Flockhart did not come cheap. And she has a family she quite reasonably would not want to be too far from. I could be completely wrong about this but I wouldn't be surprised to see Cat Grant less often in Supergirl's TV world in Season 2. Quite frankly, I hope I am wrong because Flockhart's work with Melissa Benoist as Supergirl and Kara Danvers was one of the acting highlights of the first season.
And there may be other ways the budget can be curtailed. But the important thing is Supergirl is coming back which I think is a very good thing. Supergirl represents a very positive role model for young women and is certainly a far better representation of the Superman mythos than anything going on over in the movies.
Damage Control Comes to NBC! (Except not really.)
NBC has picked up a new comedy series starring Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Grease Live!) about ordinary people coping with life in a world of super heroes and the accompanying destruction of their battles against super villains. Yes, that sounds like the premise of Damage Control, the comics book series created by the late and very much lamented Dwayne McDuffie set in the Marvel Universe. But this TV series is called Powerless and its set in the DC Universe.
The concept may be derivative but its sounds like it could be fun, at least in the short term. Still, like Supergirl on CBS, this seems like an odd fit for NBC, at least from the super hero angle. That being said, if the aesthetic for this show is closer to The Office or 30 Rock, maybe NBC will have a long overdue comedy hit on its hands.
AMENDED: Thursday, May 19th. OK, I just watched the trailer for this thing and....
I just can't even.
No. No, I don't think so.
Another TV series adapted from the world of comics books got picked up, another brain child from the production house of Greg Berlanti. But this is not from DC but from Archie Comics. Specifically, the life of Archie Andrews and the gang in the new TV series Riverdale.
Can the CW find its next Dawson's Creek from the shenanigans of Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and all the rest? This is an idea that's not that far afield with what's going on in the comics led by Mark Waid's revamp of the core Archie title. Still, the shelf life of this series is going to be short, even if it's a success. The inevitable twentysomethings cast to play the teen students of Riverdale High can't stay in school forever.
While Supergirl was renewed and Powerless and Riverdale were picked up, Marvel Studio's TV division had its first cancellation when ABC declined to pick up Agent Carter for a third season. Fans have been championing Netflix to save the show. While Netflix has had considerable success with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, I don't see Agent Carter being something they would pick up.
More likely, I would expect Agents of SHIELD will set aside an episode or two to wrap up any dangling threads from Agent Carter. Of course, any salvation of Agent Carter hinges on the availability of Haley Atwell who's new series Conviction did receive a pick up from ABC.
As cool as it is to see comic book characters come to life on TV, there are inherent limitations to being on TV as compared to life among panels and word balloons. Actors age, find other things to do. Special effects are more limited by dollars than what a good artist can do with a pencil.
All in all, its a good time for comics fans in the world of television and film. But the world of TV and movies is a different world with different rules. But to truly keep comic books alive? Go out and buy some comics. Today is New Comic Book Wednesday. I'm sure your local comic book store would be most grateful for your patronage.
That's all I have for today. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you'll visit again. There's a new post coming up for tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.