Television adaptations of comic books launched with The Adventures of Superman in 1952. Since then there have been hundreds of adaption to television. Some have been widely successful, like Arrow and The Walking Dead while others, like 2002’s Bird of Prey have not. While there is a certain success quotient one way, the reverse is not as used.

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Many shows that started on television have made their way into the comic book realm. With major successes like Power Rangers, Adventure Time, and almost the entire Whedon-verse, it has been proven that the method works. This list discusses 10 TV shows that would translate well into comics and addresses how those adaptions might look. End of series spoilers ahead.

10 Black Mirror

The spiritual successor to The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror has a large fan base tuning in to each season’s new take on the dark side of technological advancement. The series is an anthology, having each episode typically take place in its own reality. The non-linear progression allows for many interesting stories to be told. Some episodes are a horror-style concept, and some are a simple love story aided by technology. Looking at you “San Junipero.”

The only thing each has in common is the technology presented. An anthology comic would be easy with this premise. Depending on the technology, the series could be split into 6-issue and 3-issue arcs. This allows the reader to become acquainted with the world and the technology. While a big draw of the series is the big-name actors, it is the stories that keep fans watching. Helmed by series creator Charlie Booker, a comic adaptation has great potential.

9 House

This medical drama follows the titular House and his team of diagnosticians as they deal with a new case each episode. While medical dramas like Greys Anatomy focus on the major relationship drama of relatable characters, House splits its time between the relationships of the main cast and the medical problem itself. Each case is solved by throwing vaguely medical ideas at the wall to see if the problem is fixed. The climax comes from House solving the case by noticing some small detail or listening to a friend speak, thereby giving him the correct diagnosis out of context. The final season saw a returned from prison House who ends the series by faking his death.

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A comic series can be structured the same way as a season of the show. Arcs could be based on a certain patient, following their treatment with House and his team. The character drama can be heightened by the use of the revolving cast presented in the series, which should be easy as there were 11 excluding House himself. Timelines would be interesting to tackle as they can take place in any season, similar to Doctor Who comics. While missing out on Hugh Laurie as House might make the comics feel less involved, they do allow the character a less than human atmosphere the show strived for.

8 Sense 8

A multinational, ensemble cast show that focuses on 8 people who are connected emotionally and mentally, Sense8 found itself in the cultural eye from its announcement. Not only was it set to be the standard for what ensemble shows could be, but the added benefit of superhuman linking is something that hadn’t been seen in popular culture before. The show uses the ethnic, gender, and religious backgrounds of these characters to tie the emotional threads while also serving physical action on par with the typical sci-fi shows on television. The refreshing representation of characters not typically given starring roles was also a welcome change.

The fan response to the series cancellation makes it a viable series to be produced as a comic. Much like Orphan Black, Sense8 offers a wider reach into a universe that has barely been scratched. The variety of character focus can aid in setting up an arc. The transitions of a Sense8 comic are the concept that should excite the most. The transitions in the show are somewhat limited by what technology can do with people. Drawn transitions, composites, and shifting from character to character are useful comics tools that have been done for a long time. This series could benefit from the implementation panels that allow for each of the main characters to be represented at one time while keeping the narrative strong.

7 The Cape

While there was a minor webcomic for the series, The Cape deserves a second chance in the public consciousness. After all, this is the grittier superhero show that paved the way for Arrow to succeed. The series, which has received shout outs from many pop culture icons including Abed from Community, is a standard superhero story that has been heard before. The difference is in the characters. From the series protagonist Vince Faraday to tech-genius Orwell all the way to antagonist Peter Fleming, aka Chess, the characters all get backgrounds that make you care about what is happening. The series had a certain villain of the week feel to it, and those villains had solid stories for their actions as well. The best part was that The Cape was independent of DC and Marvel. It had the opportunity to be on its own legs.

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This is the exact reason that The Cape would make a great comic series. It doesn’t have to deal with the overarching storylines of DC, Marvel, Valiant or any other big publisher out there. It is a stand-alone that can work within its own universe. Since it is an actual superhero story, the comics would play out like a Batman or Green Arrow title. A simple story about a hero in his home. He doesn’t need to go to space or smack around one of his sons on a roof as a more well-known Bats has. A comic version of The Cape only needs his cape and the criminals that he faces. It would be a sort of return to form from the grandeur of stories to the homely tales of heroes defending what they care about.

6 The Purge

There is a The Purge television series, so this entry counts. The purge offers a look at a dystopian future where, for one night a year, all crime is legal. After a tv-series, coming into its second season, and coming up on 5 films, this series shows that there is so much more that can be explored with the premise. From the cultural impact to the many deaths, the series asks a lot of questions that might not be able to find an answer in an hour and a half long movie. An ongoing comic series, however, could answer these questions and ask so many more.

The comic concept that fits The Purge closest is The Walking Dead. Both series follow a group or two of survivors trying to make it out of their situations alive. While The Walking Dead has shown greatly what adding in the human factor to a zombie situation can do, The Purge can focus solely on the human factor. The realism of purging humans can create an exciting yet fearful mood that a reader can connect with. Zombies are possible, but humans are near us at all times.

5 Being Human

What kind of wacky shenanigans can a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost get into when they are all living in the same house? Apparently, a lot of drama if Being Human is any indicator. The series is one of very few UK shows that was remade for US audiences that worked. The US series brought in geek culture mainstays like Sam Whitwer, Meghan Rath and Sam Huntington. This slice-of-life show about the creatures that go bump in the night has equal parts action, comedy and drama that made it watchable. The characters and the problems, including everything from being hunted to kitchen cleaning duties, were relatable.

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A comic series following the Aidan, Josh, and Sally would be similar to the current Archie Horror comics like Jughead: The Hunger and Vampironica. These likable characters go about their daily lives with secrets. A comic can explore the histories more in-depth. While the show had many fine points dealing with each character’s growth, there were still many questions that remain open after the cancellations of both series. Being Human the comic would be a way to settle these questions for fans that have been patiently waiting.

4 Misfits

What if the X-Men­ were comedically witty, incredibly secretive, and serving community service while adapting to their powers? That’s basically what E4’s Misfits is about. Five community service serving young adults with a penchant for accidental murders get superpowers from a lightning storm. Since this ensemble cast changed over time as certain stars, like Robert Sheehan of The Umbrella Academy and Iwan Rheon from Game of Thrones and Inhumans got bigger, power sets were added and shifted over time. The show never got too full of itself, even leaving the one major mystery of the storm open at the end of the show. The young offenders were never supposed to be bigger than a few city blocks and it works.

This show can work much like The Umbrella Academy mixed with X-Men. The characters are in their own universe, not bound by the rules of any other major publisher, so there is a certain freedom that comes with that. While each character has some background information as a part of their character growth in the show, others don’t get nearly as much. A comic series could focus on some solo stories, some group stories and some stories outside of the main cast. The show opens a lot of doors that can be closed with a solid comic book storyline.

3 Barry

Bill Hader’s HBO original series Barry follows the titular character as he tries to escape life as an assassin and jump into the high-strung world of acting in Los Angeles. The characters, from Barry himself to Chechnyan gangster Hank, are full of big moments. Like most of the other shows on this list, there is a successful mix of comedy, action and dramatic moments that make the show work. Whether Barry is stumbling through a painful acting exercise led by the Fonz, or out performing a raid on a warehouse full of perceived bad guys, the show maintains its composure.

A comic series can be split between the present and past. Not much is known of Barry before his time in Los Angeles except his cover story. Some parts have popped up including his time as a soldier, but barely any history of his assassinations have been addressed. The series can focus on the action a little more, while still having the comedy aspect in full swing. It would read like a more humanized Deathstroke. 

2 Alphas

The most shocking series on this list to have not received a comic book adaptation, Alphas, is an ensemble show that follows a group of superpowered people dealing with the world around them. The series feels like a much more realistic version of X-Men, which is unsurprising as one of the creators was a co-writer on two of the X-Men films. The series stepped into the slot that Heroes left a year prior. Unlike Heroes, Alphas only lasted two seasons but made that time feel important. The characters were given incredible depth and diversity, even featuring a young man with autism as one of the main characters, something not often seen in superhero stories. The story allowed fans to care about the characters and didn’t need big explosions or mind-bending visuals to tell a solid tale.

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A comic series should pick up right where the show ended. A large scale showdown between groups of alphas and humans would be a great place to kick off a series about the humanity of superpowers. The show left a lot of cliffhangers in the final episodes of the second season. Many fates were left unknown and it would be a huge draw to old and new fans. The writers and cast have shared their visions of a televised third season, but a comic series would do the series justice as a last hurrah for the characters.

1 Psych

Spoiler alert, Shawn Spencer is not a psychic. He is, however, a successful detective using deduction powers on par with Sherlock Holmes. Psych follows Shawn Spencer as he cons the Santa Barbara police force into allowing him to assist with cases. The character concepts, comedic abilities of the leads James Roday and Dule Hill, and wacky storylines made the show one of the breakout hits of the noughties. This show answered exactly what Sherlock Holmes would be as a good comedy. The series also had major guest appearances from many icons of pop culture

A comic series would be a fun read. Each arc could be a murder much like an episode of the series. Twists and turns lead to cliffhangers that would be resolved in the next issue. The coolest concept to be implemented in the series should be Shawn’s deduction abilities. In the show, when Shawn is collecting data, the camera highlights the information. On a splash panel, Shawn could surround by items and words highlighted and zoom paneled around him. A comedy comic that deals with more serious issues like the show does has a place in the standard for comics today and Psych could be that series.

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