ABC and Marvel recently made a big splash in the news by announcing that they were going to be bringing back one classic Marvel superhero TV series, The Incredible Hulk, and starting an all-new one, Cloak & Dagger. Based on a comic book about two teens who were given an overdose of synthetic drugs that activated their mutant superpowers, the characters Cloak and Dagger have been around since 1982 but have faded in and out of the spotlight since then. And while the new Hulk series has five decades of comics, two feature films and a beloved TV show to draw inspiration from, we're worried that the lesser-known C&D might suffer from their new home on ABC Family. As longtime fans of the characters, here are some tips for what to do and what not to do with them.
DON'T: Clean it up for ABC Family
The characters started out as runaways, and they were abducted and shot up with heroin. It's not your typical origin story, but it's what these two street-level characters were about, and it's why they despise drug dealers. We know you're trying to be more edgy with shows like Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family, but don't change their origins to something more generically scientific in the name of family values.
DO: Eventually give them a costume
And by "eventually," I mean not in Season 9. Smallville held onto its "no tights" policy for far too long, and relied far too heavily on brightly colored jackets. Cloak's cloak is key to his powers, so we imagine that's non-negotiable, but Daggers's sexy white outfit is the perfect counterpoint, visually striking and part of the appeal of the character. So just having her run around in jeans and a T-shirt for an entire season isn't going to cut it.
DON'T: Make them stereotypes
People are going to come to this show looking for something different, so don't simply make Dagger a cheerleader-type and Cloak a street-smart tough guy just because Hellcats is mysteriously popular right now. Vampire Diaries has managed to find success by twisting its characters out of their early, generic molds, so look to the comic books for your inspirations. Both teens have self-esteem issues and that's going to connect with viewers a lot more than some cardboard cutout.
DO: Feature other Marvel characters
We can't imagine that Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four will show up, but Cloak and Dagger live in New York City, where most of Marvel's superheroes call home. Hopefully we'll get to see some familiar faces, like Daredevil, maybe? Or Iron Fist? Or Luke Cage? Or, uh. Darkhawk? We're not too picky and we understand that other studios may have the rights to certain characters. We'll take anyone from the Marvel U. Just as long as Darkhawk doesn't look like he's covered in cardboard.
DON'T: Skimp on the effects
If you're going to do a superhero show, you need to show the super-powers in action, and you need to blow things up occasionally. Heroes, Smallville, even No Ordinary Family all skimped on the effects budgets at one point or another, and it's totally taken us out of the action, either by not showing us something they should have, or showing us something that looks lame. If you're going to commit to this series, you've to commit to a what a series like this should cost.
DON'T: Ignore the writing
To comic-book fans, continuity is king, so when you have characters behaving discordantly, or you contradict established plot points or you milk the same story element for six episodes in a row, they're going to notice. Heroes dropped plotlines left and right, Smallville treads water regularly. No Ordinary Family doesn't seem to be watching its own episodes. Don't be these shows.
Are you looking forward to Cloak & Dagger? Let us know what you think below, then see which DC comics we think need TV shows!
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