Last September, prolific movie and TV producer JJ Abrams entered into a deal with WarnerMedia to produce stuff exclusively for the company. Today we got the first hints of what that means. Abrams and his production crew at Bad Robot will be bringing us THREE shows for HBO Max, one of which bears special relevance to the “Superhero” part of this site’s title.
Let’s get the least interesting premise out of the way first: a show about a getaway driver in the 1970s called “Duster.” We know little about it, and it could be good, or it could be bad. We’ll wait and see.
The second show is a prequel series called Overlook, based on the iconic hotel from The Shining. Want to know more about those twins, or who that bartender really was? Here are your answers, though Stephen King probably won’t consider them canon.
Finally, the series we came to discuss: Abrams is producing a live-action series based on DC’s Justice League Dark. They’re a team of magic-inclined superheroes who handle the jobs that are too otherworldly for the regular, science-based Justice League to cover. And WB has been trying for a very long time to get them into a movie or show, but the best they’ve been able to do are a couple animated direct-to-disc features.
You might think just about every DC character has been rendered in live-action at this point, thanks to Berlanti, but the Justice League Dark crew has quite a few that we haven’t seen yet. Deadman, Etrigan and Swamp Thing are traditionally part of the gang…oh right, Swamp Thing had a live-action series for about a minute. Well, it’s so short that we’re not counting it, so there.
John Constantine is also part of Dark, and here’s where we hold our breath, because we’re rather attached to the version played by Matt Ryan. Until now, he has been used in every Berlantiverse appearance, including his own short-lived series. Presumably if Abrams is behind this, it will be a different continuity, and might possibly use a different Constantine. We hope Abrams doesn’t make the mistake of trying to improve on Ryan.
Zatanna Zatara is an even bigger worry. You can’t have Justice League Dark without Zatanna, and the pessimist in me has just been assuming that whenever she got her long, long overdue TV series, they would find a way to mess her up. Making her “angsty,” making her less powerful, there are so many ways to do her wrong, and Abrams is capable of all of them. My concern continues.
The three shows Abrams is making for HBO Max have only just been announced, and there is no scheduled release window for any of them.