The Grayson Gang

Sing this in your head like the Brady Bunch theme song…
Here’s the story of a man named Batman, who was bringing up a very troubled boy. His parents had been killed, just like Batman’s, the younger one in tights.
Here’s the story, of a man named Batman, who was busy with issues of his own. They were two men, living in a Batcave, but that didn’t make good television.

Ok so that last bit didn’t exactly fit. Give me a break! The rest was hard enough. So, what has me going on such a ridiculous rant? Variety reported yesterday that the CW Network is setting up a series based on Robin’s pre-Batman days called, The Graysons. And no, this is not a joke.

The CW (formerly the WB) previously brought us Birds of Prey and Smallville. Seems they’re rather hit-or-miss with our favorite superheroes, though Smallville executive producers Kelly Sounders and Brian Peterson are onboard for this fresh new take on an old favorite. Also tagging along this time around is…wait for it…McG. I know a lot of people have strong opinions about him.
Similar to Smallville, “‘The Graysons’ will follow the world of Dick “DJ” Grayson before he takes on the iconic Robin identity and aligns himself with Batman.” It’s being described as a potential replacement should the show end it’s run this season or a companion piece if it doesn’t. Obviously they don’t care at all about accurate story-telling since, we all know, there is no Robin without Batman. 
It’s bad enough Clark Kent is denied the ability to have a secret identity in the world of Smallville, making him rather useless when he finally becomes Superman, now we’re supposed to believe Dick had a reason to solve crime before his parents were murdered? Don’t think so. To their credit, they’ve tried to make it sound interesting, “In the one-hour ‘Graysons,’ which will be set in modern times, young DJ will face challenges involving first loves, young rivals and his family as he grows up.” Hey, I did say “tried.” 
Variety writes, “Souders and Peterson have come up with an original take on the character.” No, they’ve come up with a BORING take on the character, you know, before all the interesting stuff happens to him. So will fans be want to watch a watered-down, sugar-coated version of our Dick ala The Brady Bunch or Leave it to Beaver? Something tells me neither Greg nor “the Beav” ever grew up to bang a hot, fiery chick from outer-space and they sure as hell would have been killed by the Joker by now.

18 Responses to “The Grayson Gang”

  1. GeekBoy says:

    NB, I will say that I’m actually a big fan of Elseworlds-style alternate reality stories, particularly with the DC characters. “Red Son” is arguably one of my favorite stories ever. So that may have a lot to do with our difference of opinion here.

  2. Randy says:

    And I think Jack’s comment summed up my point perfectly!

    And thanks!

    And all that being said, I too hope they decide not to call him DJ. You know, I remember a time when the name Dick could actually be used. Now there’s two different negative connotations with the name. There’s the obvious one and the nickname for Richard Nixon, Tricky Dicky. I think both of those just kind of sealed the daeth warrant for the name Dick. Not just for Mr. Grayson, but for anyone named Richard in general.

    I think that’s why so many people in the DCU call him Richard now. I always thought they should change it to Rick.

    But that’s probably a discussion for another blog post!

  3. Yes Jack, obviously they are just characters but in a way there are historical accuracies to worry about, albeit fictional historical accuracies. If they are going to do tv shows about characters that have a rich "history" of their own, I would just prefer they don't stray so far from how, not just comic readers, but the public in general sees those characters. I think it makes the show more accessible that way. Just my personal view on it.

    An Elseworlds-type tale is a perfectly fine artistic outlet, it's just, like I said, not what I would prefer. I'm planning on watching it and if it's a good story I'll keep watching it. I just don't like how it sounds as of right now.

    I think Randy & Randy need their own show. :)

  4. Jack Rother says:

    They don’t care about “accurate storytelling”? You write as though there are historical accuracies to worry about. These characters aren’t real; they’re just molds through which artists tell stories. You can make the argument that monthly/in-continuity comics have an obligation to the stories before them, but creators of these Elseworlds-type tales can and should take what they like from the past and add in what they want, all in the name of making a good story. I can’t promise that the show will be good but I can say I have high expectations.

    With regard to Randy’s comment (which I liked), I started reading comics because I fell in love with the trailer for Batman & Robin when I was in fifth grade. Do I think that film’s tone and plot are consistent with previous Batman stories? Of course not. Do I think it’s a good movie? Hell no… but that doesn’t mean that risky film- and television-making is the end of the world in terms of attracting new fans.

    I do hope they don’t call him D.J. though.

  5. Randy says:

    Never met another Randy that I didn’t like, friend!


  6. GeekBoy says:

    What Randy said.

    (Which is funny, because my name is actually Randy.)

  7. All very good points Randy, especially the one about Hollywood. And don’t worry, you have a strong opinion, I can’t blame you for that since we all have one of our own. It’s always good to hear all points of view.

  8. Randy says:

    I think that anything that can get at least ONE person into a comic book store to check out whatever it is they saw on TV or in a movie or whatever is more important than whether or not Hollywood got every single detail right. If this show gets at least one kid curious to see what a Robin comic or a Nightwing comic is like, then maybe, just maybe, that kid will enjoy reading. Which will lead to other great comics out there. maybe even a book or two. What a novel concept in this day and age!

    Of course this Flying Graysons show is going to contradict the comic book character’s history. Big deal! The Dick Grayson we read in the comics isn’t the same Dick Grayson that Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, et al created back in 1940. That was the Earth-2 Robin who joined the JSA, wore a god-awful mish-mash costume that was a horrible mix of both Batman and Robin’s costumes. Then died in the first Crisis.

    Heck, how many times in just the last decade has new details been added to Superman’s history? Way too many for me to count, that’s for sure.

    Will this TV show be great? Who knows? It was only announced yesterday. We won’t know for sure until the promos hit the air. Or maybe even until that first episode makes it onto the TV.

    I’m saying, relax. I’m saying keep an open mind. Because I’m not really looking forward to having this conversation over and over again. I’ve had it way too many times as it is.

    Sorry for the rambling here, Jill and I don’t mean to sound as snippy as I might come off. I just have been down this road way too many times as it is. Do you realize that with Hollywood being the way it is, it still might not even get made?

  9. Now this is the kind of discussion I like!

    Oh man Michael, you’re right. Especially the part about how long can it go on before he doesn’t really need Batman anymore.

    SDM, I was reading on another site that they probably only did the DJ thing so there wouldn’t be a lot of “Dick” jokes on or around the show. I think Bludhaven would be cool.

    Eric, you hate the Robin concept as a whole hmm? What about it don’t you like?

    GB, you wrote a whole nother post for me! Haha. But seriously, I’m glad there was at least one poster who thought it might be interesting. I don’t like or dislike Smallville. I’ll watch an episode when I hear a certain character will be making an appearance but nothing has been great enough to get me to continually watch. I think super powers would be really out of place on The Graysons but I’m sure they will stick something like that in anyway. And yeah, I’ll obviously be curious enough to watch if this does get on the air.

    Mandy, I’m as surprised as you! I guess that’s what I get for being overly-critical for once. :) There was no mention about the circus being part of it which I thought was odd. They talked about it in relation to how he was portrayed before but nothing for the new show. I wonder what their profession would be if not acrobats?

    GB, that would be more intriguing. :)

    Thanks so much labellavida, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I hope you keep reading.

    Well Randy, what do you think? Are you for as mand comic characters we can get on TV as possible? :)

  10. Randy says:

    I’ve been down this road so many times before. This is the same kind of outcry I heard when Michael Keaton was announced to be playing Batman.

  11. LaBellaVida says:

    just wanted to say i think ur blog is cool

  12. GeekBoy says:

    What if it was a freaky circus, like the one in Carnivale? :)

  13. Wow, this garnered a lot of comments!

    I just wanted to know, will there be circus? Because a teen-angsty show about life in the circus might have a slight chance of actually being cool.

  14. Nando says:

    Oh gawd… :(

  15. GeekBoy says:

    Hm. I’ll probably get booed out of the room for saying it, but I’m actually curious to see what they’ll do with this. But then again, I’m actually a fan of Smallville.

    Don’t get me wrong — from a “continuity with the comics” standpoint, Smallville is a disaster. But as a “what if” show loosely based on a comic book icon, I can get behind it. For me, it’s not much different than what they did with Battlestar Galactica: take the basic pieces of the original, and put them together in a different way, with a different tone.

    And I say this often, but the representation of Lex Luthor (and his dualistic relationship with Clark) in Smallville is a hundred times more nuanced than anything Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, or John Shea ever did with the role.

    Smallville aside, as long as this Graysons show is consistent with its own continuity (and doesn’t suck), I’ll probably be fine with it. After all, it’s not as if either the Batman or Superman books have been consistent with their own continuities over the decades.

    All I wonder is how you keep it interesting over multiple if there’s no superpower. Unless the plan is to let “DJ” go up against super-powered bad guys. But Souders and Peterson managed to create bad guys for Clark with the whole “meteor rock” macguffin, so I’m assuming they have some kind of plan here.

    And I’m also assuming that if they introduced young JLA members to Smallville, then they plan to introduce young Teen Titans members to this show. Which could make things interesting … and piss off all the hardcore DC fans, I’m guessing.

    Anyway, I’ll at least wait and watch the first episode before I condemn this one.

  16. Eric says:

    A TV show with the excuse of using a “super hero” in his early days for a teenie angst filled soap opera with effeminate actors.

    Isn’t Robin..err..a bit light in the loafers department already?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Grayson as Nightwing in the comics, but I HATE, HATE the Robin concept to begin with, and this is just bad news all the way.

    Let’s hope this one bombs before it ever airs.

    Please God, please……..

  17. superduperman says:

    Holy epic failure Batman!!!

    Snort, hee-hee,(trying to supress laughter)

    so let me get this straight,they plan on green lighting this but they sunk the Aquaman series (which i found enjoyable and had a much better premise than this)

    This sounds pretty lame. Who cares about Robin growing up? Who will his arch-nemesis be I wonder? Oh, no! It’s…PUBERTY!!!

    DJ? Just you wait and see, “Dick” will probably be black. Hell, his parents will probably be portrayed as an interracial couple. His parents will probably be called the “Da Fly’n Graysons”, cuz they so fly! Just you wait.

    Bludhaven would been a better show!

    Thanks, Smallville.

    You’ve ruined EVERYTHING!!!


    YES! I’m feeling so much better now!:)

  18. Michael says:

    Actually, this version of Dick sounds like he’d be more like Dawson, or Zack Morris. Probably not as cool as Zack Morris, actually.

    But yes, they have rather missed the point. A show about Dick as a kid in the circus might be interesting (mix the “teen drama” and “person travels to a different location and helps someone every week) genres, but really, how old can he get to be in that setting before he doesn’t really *need* Batman to train him once his parents die? And at that point, you don’t really have Robin.