This week we were faced with one of those good news bad news situations.
The good news first? Supergirl is heading over to join The Flash & Arrow on CW and getting another full season run of 22 episodes! Yay! However, we must warn that were it not for a successful and promising crossover with The Flash, Supergirl would surely have faced cancellation. Ratings were not fantastic and reception was middling.
The bad news? The widely adored Agent Carter was the latest casualty on ABC’s chopping block. Fans of Peggy Carter will have to suffice with just two seasons and Agents of SHIELD going forward failing any other outlet pick it up to continue.
While Supergirl survived by the skin of her cape, Agent Carter was not so lucky and it is certainly a blow for female lead comic book properties on TV… and even movies. There is a lesson to be learned from this.
Social media is constantly awash with cries for more female superhero/comic boom properties to be adapted into TV shows and movies. Understandably so, There are countless amazing, strong and entertaining female characters across the Marvel, DC and more Universes. Many deserve their time in the spotlight. However, when the studios deliver these properties we need to support them or they will suffer the same fate as Agent Carter.
It’s worth remembering that TV & Movie studios are businesses, and it is a business’ objective to make money and turn a profit. If they don’t make money, they go bankrupt and cease to exist. That’s life. For TV networks, ratings are their bread and butter. The higher the ratings, the more likely they support one of their shows. In Agents Carter’s case, even though it was a quality piece of entertainment (and oft written better than Agents of SHIELD and to a further extent the likes of Arrow at times) it did not receive the viewing numbers needed to give it a third season. As mentioned previously, Supergirl would have surely suffered the same if it weren’t for CW seeing the potential it has and their ability to prop it up with their existing shows.
Sadly, if female lead properties are not bringing in a sufficient return, they’re not going to be made. It is an unfortunate but simple fact. This is where we as fans need to step up.
Social media buzz and demand is not enough for a company to create something. We can make demands to Marvel or DC to make a Spider-Woman or Batgirl adaptation all we want and while those prospects have amazing potential, if people aren’t going to get out and support them then the studios won’t greenlight them. This is something that may well be affecting the status of a Black Widow movie (among other things); to a further extent it’s also why Jessica Jones is thus far the only female member of The Defenders and why Supergirl and iZombie will be the only female lead comic book properties on TV next season as things stand. There is a fear among studios & networks that when they put the money into these adaptations they won’t be successful.
If these aren’t successful (see Catwoman, Elektra) then studios and networks will revert to the tried & trusted formulas that have been successful for them so far: Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, X-Men etc. We get sequels and reboots churned out every 5-10 years because they make money. So what’s the solution to this conundrum?
While it may be too late for Peggy Carter now, there is a very easy way to ensure Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel get a sequel, to ensure Supergirl and Jessica Jones don’t fade away to obscurity again. We as fans have to sit down and watch them, we have to go out and buy cinema tickets. It’s easy to passively aggressively complain to Marvel and DC about the lack of female lead comic book properties but what is the point if you’re not going to bother supporting the material when it is produced. This is effectively what drove the final nail in the coffin of Agent Carter. The vocal support was there, but not the viewing figures.
Get out and support the female lead properties we do get, watch the shows, buy a cinema ticket and the comics and I guarantee you that the greater return creators start to get on these properties, the more they’ll be made. If Wonder Woman grosses $500M+, watch how quick a Black Widow movie is green lit.