I've been wanting to talk a bit more about non-print media, so this seems like a good transition piece.
What is your favorite comic book adaptation?
Because it's hard for me to narrow it down, Anika recommended I list a few and end with a winner. It's nice to have smart friends!
By the way, I welcome discussion on this. These are all opinion, and I have some very interesting tastes that not everyone agrees with (Donner's Superman doesn't crack my top 10, for instance).
Honorable mentions: Supergirl (1984), Watchmen (2009), V for Vendetta (2005), Mutant X (2001), Batman (1988), Iron Man (2008), Flash (1990), Flash Gordon (1980), The Crow (1994), Tank Girl (1995).
5) X-Men: The Animated Series (1992). This show made comics cool for my whole group of friends and, more importantly, for people who would normally pick on my whole group of friends. I didn't know anyone in my age group who didn't watch this at some point. And because of this show we got all the other neat animated shows that followed in that decade, including DC's amazing, comic-inspiring animated universe. Not to mention that it followed so well with the comics, including the awesome Dark Phoenix storyline. This show made me love Scott Summers, which... is saying something.
Plus it had the one of the best TV theme songs ever.
4) The Adventures of Superman (1952). My dad used to record all the episodes that aired late at night and we'd watch them together. This was my first introduction to Superman, so it holds a special place in my heart. There's something about the fifties-era Superman that is so perfectly perfect that I can't help but love it. The great thing about Superman is that he really is just always like that. I know that makes some people have less of an ability to connect to him, but for me that makes him more universal. Superman is Superman. Even if he crash lands in Siberia and is raised by Communists (a perfect foil to this Cold War Era show, by the way) he will always have the same set of values and morals. He always wants what's best for his adopted planet, even if he doesn't always fit in with it, and there's something very childlike and innocent about that which, in my opinion, is perfectly showcased by this fifties-era version.
3) X-Men (2000). As much as I hate that it was a Marvel movie that did it, Bryan Singer's more-grounded-in-reality version of the X-Men is responsible for the current wave of superhero movies and current love of comics by Hollywood (and therefore the main stream consumer). But more importantly, it's a pretty damn good movie. It's well cast, with a few exceptions (why did no one think of Liev Schrieber back in 2000?), it's got an interesting story, and the effects are good. But most of what makes that movie great, because it does change some things I don't get (swapping in Rogue for Kitty, for example, when Anna Paquin could have played a perfectly good Kitty), is the fact that 95% of the roles were cast perfectly, including the three most important ones: Magneto, Xavier, and Wolverine. These people are the characters. Wow. The first time we saw Hugh Jackman (and let's be honest, how many of us had actually seen Hugh Jackman before?) leaning against that cage, smoking a cigar... sent shivers up my spine. That movie set the bar. Let comic fans make comic movies and you'll get a well-cast (mostly), well-written, well-shot movie. It's too bad that his Superman Returns wasn't as good.
2) Batman: The Animated Series (1992). Where to start. First off, another great title sequence that really pulled in the dark-deco-noir atmosphere of Gotham:
This show created a whole universe of its own, giving us both Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya, who made the transition (very successfully) into the comics. It developed an animated universe full of superheroes and led to its own sequel, Batman Beyond. It made Bruce interesting, it made its villains interesting (Mark Hamil is still the best Joker, period), and it was the first time I ever really looked forward to getting back to Gotham. This did for kids and adolescents what Burton's movie did for teenagers and adults.
And it was fun. It was good. I enjoyed pretty much every single episode, and I still think of it when I think of Batman. To me, this show is Batman. This is the Bruce Wayne I want wearing the cowl. This is the world of Gotham I want to see. Darker than Metropolis, but not as dark as the comic version of Gotham. It really can't rain all the time, guys.
1) Wonder Woman (1975). Ah, the height of the second wave of feminism and we finally got the most well-known female comic hero onto television. Please note that we still have yet to have a female comic lead for a movie, other than the much-lambasted (unfairly!) Supergirl from 1984 and the did-anyone-else-see-it Tank Girl (both in my top ten, btw). And that there have been precious few female-led comic shows since the 70s (Birds of Prey, which I enjoyed, Model by Day, which was awful but I enjoyed because of Famke Jansen but it was just a TV movie, so... and maybe the argument for Generation X, but that was more of an ensemble). Okay, there's one exception, but I'm saving that for my Grand Prize.
Anyway. Here we are 35 years later and the Black Widow has been relegated to Tony Stark's secretary, there will be no female Avengers in the forthcoming movie, and if they ever make a Wonder Woman movie... yeah, exactly.
But besides all of that, I loved this show because of Lynda Carter. Man. She's still Wonder Woman as far as I'm concerned. She made the character interesting, strong, smart, sassy, vulnerable... human. While still being Diana Prince of the Amazons. And she did all of this in an outfit no man would have been caught dead in until 300. This. Is. Themyscira.
Grand Prize: Lois & Clark (1993). Best. Lois. Ever. I remember the big to-do when they announced that it would be Lois' name up front. And now it seems so obvious. Teri Hatcher's Lois was absolutely perfect for the time, and as a 12 year old girl watching this show, there was nothing I wanted more than to grow up and be like Lois Lane (except maybe to grow up and marry Lois Lane, but that came a couple of years later). The leads and amazing chemistry, Dean Cain was a great Superman and Clark (in the more modern, less bumbling sense), and John Shea was a perfectly cast as the evil, strangely noble version of Lex Luthor.
Yeah, this show jumped the shark. But it took awhile. We got a lot of good episodes out of it. But more importantly, we got a pop-culture phenomenon. And us girls got someone to look up to that was just a regular woman, living in a super world with a superhero.
It was sharp, stylized, and witty. Teri Hatcher carried that show (not that Dean Cain wasn't great, and not that I don't give props to Margot Kidder, for being the best part of the modernization of Superman that started with Donner's movie). It was fun and exciting and bright and it got people talking about Superman again. And I loved every minute of it, even after the shark jumping.
So there we go. I cheated a little because I couldn't narrow it down.
What are your favorite adaptations?