Marvel v. DC: A War on Your TV
There is a war going on, a war that has spilled over into our living rooms. A war between to heated and bitter rivals. Two rivals competing for one thing and one thing only, your money. DC and Marvel have been at odds for decades. Each one stealing writers, artists, and ideas from one another just to gain some sort of advantage over the other. Sure at certain times there have been armistices and even peace, but that time is long since past. The current battle of this war is playing out on both the Silver Screen in Hollywood and the small screens in our own homes.
DC and Marvel have one thing in common when it comes to vying for your dollars, and that is they are both owned and backed by Billion Dollar corporations such as Warner Brothers and Disney; who have been at war as long as DC and Marvel have. Neither company will stop until all avenues of Entertainment have been explored to bring your their content and try to get your eyes to watch their programming. That is one huge reason why the winners of this war will not be sitting in a board room, nor on a yacht somewhere surrounded by more money they they can handle. No the real winners of this war is us, because we are in the Golden Age of Comic Book Entertainment Television and Movies and its only getting better.
Both companies are going about their TV shows differently. Like everything Marvel does all of their TV Shows are linked to their movies in one huge Marvel Cinematic Universe. While DC keeps their large and small screen media separate from one another; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing however. While Marvel allows you to imagine the world around you as ever enveloping and connecting every little tidbit of information to see one huge picture, DC allows you to disconnect Movie characters from TV allowing you to enjoy the stories for themselves instead of having to worry about continuity errors you can just enjoy the ride.
Marvel started their TV Franchise of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a spin-off onto TV from their movie The Avengers. This allowed the viewers to continue with the world from the movies with different stories rooted in the same Universe as the characters you just watched in the theaters. Season 1 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got off to a rocky start but rebounded very well and ended up with good enough ratings to illicit a 2nd season and get it’s own spin-off show Marvel’s Agent Carter which takes place after the events of the Captain America: The First Avenger movie.
Marvel’s Agent Carter and season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. both have been well received in the ratings, yet panned by die hard fans who are rooted in the comic books. The success of both shows and the wide success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole has given Marvel the green-light to team up with Netflix to bring us 5, 13 episode series surrounding the lives of 4 heroes in New York City in the events immediately after the Battle of New York from The Avengers.
Daredevil, which just came out on Friday April 10th, 2015, and was watched so much that it crashed the Netflix servers; is the first installment of The Defenders series on Netflix from Marvel. The Defenders will be the team of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage with the last 3 getting their own 13 episode seasons before The Defenders TV Show airs in 2018. All of these along with the ABC Marvel shows are connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe which allows us to follow one big story being told to us.
DC is doing things a little differently they are keeping their Movie Universe separate from their very popular TV Universe. There are a few reasons that they are doing this and not going the route of Marvel and connecting everything. First off they probably don’t want to seem like they are copying Marvel’s successful business model by connecting the universes. Secondly they don’t really need to. The current movie universe is going to be huge, and will allow us to see a wide array of stars gracing the screens from Hollywood to form the Justice League and the villains that they hunt; while the very popular TV Franchises allow us to expand on the current universe they are using which doesn’t seem like it allows for a Super-Man or Batman to exist.
Arrow is currently in season 3 on The CW and we have watched Oliver Queen grow in these 3 years to a great hero, we are deeply invested in him and his team. The widely regarded spin-off from Arrow is The Flash also on The CW which has actually gained more ratings in its first year then Arrow has in seasons 1 and 2. What does this tell us? That DC has a great way of telling 2 different stories without having to rely on either medium to hold the others hand.
DC actually also has 2 other TV shows on 2 other networks and neither of them are attached to each other, the Arrow universe, or the DC Movie Universe as well. Gotham on FOX which is a retelling of the Batman story and Constantine on NBC which was rumored to have been in the Movie Universe or possibly in the Arrow universe on The CW but wasn’t around long enough to have that narrative told too us. Both of these shows have a huge cult following but one was stuck in a dead Friday 10pm slot and the other was given a prime Monday night slot. While the current status of Constantine is mostly likely (but not confirmed) Cancelled the state of Gotham is great. Gotham looks to have a second season order confirmed in the very near future which just adds to the greatness that is DC Television.
Now Marvel has a Untitled Spin-Off coming from season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and CBS is bring us the DC show Supergirl which is supposed to be linked to The CW’s Arrow Universe. Both shows are showing huge buzz already online and are highly anticipated by all fans of TV and Movies. With all of these new shows and current TV shows from both companies getting better and better each season. One begs the questions, who is winning the war? Is is Marvel with its huge connected universe or DC with its 1 huge and many smaller multiverses? Don’t forget it is us, the fans, who are winning this war. We are reaping the benefits of these 2 gigantic media companies that are vying for our attentions and money. This war is not ending any time soon, and we should be very happy for that fact.