Television super-producer Greg Berlanti’s ever-expanding screen interpretation of the DC Comics Universe is going cosmic with two new series for the HBO Max streaming platform: Strange Adventures and a Green Lantern-inspired show.
“Both of these original DC properties we’ll be creating for HBO Max will be unlike anything seen on television,” said Berlanti, who announced both projects Tuesday at the HBO Max WarnerMedia Day presentation. “An anthology series of cautionary tales set in a world where superpowers exist, and, in what promises to be our biggest DC show ever made, we will be going to space with a Green Lantern television series, but I can’t reveal any more about that just yet.”
The cryptic references will stir plenty of speculation among DC fans. The Green Lantern is one of the most enduring superheroes in the DC Comics publishing history, dating back to the FDR years. The modern incarnation of the hero is a sort of Texas Ranger in space, a lonely lawman-type who wears a miraculous power ring and wears the uniform of the Green Lantern Corps, which has a vast alien membership.
Green Lantern reached the screen in live action in an infamously maligned 2011 feature film that starred Ryan Reynolds and was co-written and co-produced by Berlanti. The character’s live-action television history is limited to Legends of the Superheroes, a campy 1979 TV movie on NBC that brought Adam West back as Batman.
Strange Adventures shares its name with a classic DC Comics series that premiered in 1950 and broke new ground as the first science-fiction anthology title from the venerable publisher of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. The easy days of the series were dominated by vivid but outlandish fare with B-movie concepts (“Challenge of the Gorilla Genius,” “The Man with the Comet Head,” “The Skyscraper That Came to Life”) but the series eventually introduced a gallery of sci-fi adventure heroes (Space Ranger, Star Hawkins, and the Atomic Knights among them).
The publishing history of Strange Adventures took a sharp turn after 200 monthly issues when it became more of a supernatural mystery-based franchise. Those 1960 issues included one of the most compelling DC characters of that era with the forlorn Deadman, the Neal Adams-created spectral hero who cannot be seen or heard but can possess the bodies of the living.
The HBO Max series is described with terms that seem to evoke a Twilight Zone storytelling approach to the DC Universe. as a one-hour drama and superhero anthology series that will “feature characters from across the DC canon” and “explore close-ended morality tales about the intersecting lives of mortals and superhumans.”
Strange Adventures is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros Television. Berlanti, Sarah Schechter (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Titans, Doom Patrol), and showrunner-writer John Stephens (Gotham, Gossip Girl) serve as executive producers. Charlie Huston (Powers, Gotham) is a co-executive producer, Brigitte Hales (Once Upon a Time) is a producer, and Selwyn Seyfu Hinds (Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child, The Twilight Zone) is a consulting producer.
The Green Lantern-inspired series, based on the characters from the iconic DC comic, will come from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros Television.
Berlanti already has eight active DC-based series on The CW (Arrow, Batwoman, Black Lightning, Supergirl, Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) and two on the DC Universe streaming service (Doom Patrol and Titans). There’s also his Stargirl series launching soon on DC Universe and at least three other DC projects is discussion phases.