It's a good time to be a TV-loving fan of Marvel Comics these days. With Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuting on ABC at 8:00 PM EST tonight and talk of a period-piece Agent Carter show in the works as well, it's only a matter of time before the whole family of Disney-owned networks is completely dominated by properties that grew up in the House of Ideas.
The general public might enjoy the blockbuster action of movies like Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor and The Avengers, but they're not nearly as familiar with the smaller and darker corners of the Marvel Universe. It's those more specific and specialized corners that could make for a solid line-up of dramas and comedies we'd like to see. It's time to build an even bigger Marvel Studios Universe, and here's how.
10. Millie the Model
Not every Marvel-based series has to revolve around people in crazy costumes running around beating the crap out of each other. Some of them can just be about normal people going about their daily lives. Or, wildly successful fashion models who happen to live on the same planet as genius inventors and super soldiers frozen since World War II.
We see one of two ways to go with this series. If you want a half hour comedy, set this show in modern times and just have fun with it. Round out Millie's supporting cast, throw in a few Thor headlines and maybe even refer to the big alien invasion that almost wiped out New York. But, if you want something more dramatic and widespread, mix up the settings a bit. Show a young Millie struggling to make it happen in the 1960s, while also presenting her in the modern age running her own agency and working as the top designer for the growing number of heroes.
9. Howard The Duck
Anything have to do with Howard the Duck might take some extra effort considering a lot of people have pretty bad memories of the underrated 1986 film produced by George Lucas. But, the idea of an alien human-esque duck transported to Cleveland has plenty of comedic potential, especially if the show's writers go back to Steve Gerber's original run. Howard works best when he's going up against space vegetables, rather than inter-dimensional threats that possess the principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Structure this one as a half-hour comedy harkening back to the days of shows like Lost in Space, My Favorite Martian and ALF, but with more modern sensibilities and you've got a lot of potential for a sci-fi sitcom renaissance.
8. Power Pack
Marvel cartoons like Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. get pretty solid play over on Disney XD, but they all pretty much play in their own world, though they have strong ties to the Marvel Studios Universe. That's not enough synergy. Disney XD also has a good deal of live-action shows with an action slant, so why not get Marvel's premiere group of kid heroes, Power Pack, in on the live-action action?
Before the word tween was even invented, Alex, Julie, Jack and Katie Power were dealing with real world problems like bullying, homelessness and drug abuse all the while utilizing their energy-based superpowers. The beauty of a series like this is that it can actually grow with the audience, tackling more and more adult themes as it continues. Plus, it can also present a young audience with young characters who can appear later on down the line in their own films and even make their way upwards and onwards to other teams.
7. Night Nurse
The Avengers and the other agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have to get some pretty solid medical coverage, but what about your average level vigilantes just trying to keep their streets safe? They head to the Night Nurse, wherever her floating clinic for superheroes might be.
Though the comic book version of Linda Carter had her origins in a medical-themed romance comic from the early '70s, she eventually turned into a far more interesting character who patched up heroes like Spider-Man, Luke Cage and Iron Fist after they got banged up in the field. Night Nurse has become a fan favorite thanks to her no nonsense bedside manner that's kept Marvel's vigilantes from bleeding out. Give her a staff, possibly based on her old pals from the '70s Georgia Jenkins and Christine Palmer, and you've got House with heroes.
Punisher might be a little more edgy than ABC wants to deal with in prime time, but it's not beyond reason to take Marvel's number one bad-guy killer and give him his own series on a channel like HBO or Showtime where they won't shy away from the necessary level of violence.
Ever since former soldier Frank Castle saw his family murdered before him in a gangland shootout, he's made it his mission to eradicate evil from the world. Over the years he's targeted everyone from typical mobsters to supervillains, meaning the show's writers have a lot to work with. There's plenty of source material to pull from, but also a perfectly simplistic springboard for all new episodes to be built upon. I'd like to see a slightly toned down version of 2008's Punisher: War Zone that tackles some of the Punisher Max tales written by Garth Ennis as well as those classic Steven Grant stories from the '90s. Plus, if the show goes downhill you can always turn him into an angel hunter or a Frankenstein monster, right? It'll be like Baywatch Nights with more bullets and scowling.