Monday, May 2, 2016

Justice League of America CBS TV Pilot 1997 – Just For the Hell Of It Mondays






Gosh, Marvel is kicking DC in the pants where the movies are concerned, aren’t they? But DC seems to have it all over Marvel on the small screen! You’ve got the Berlantiverse on the WB and CBS, Gotham, iZombie…is that show Lucifer still around? And people really had a hard-on for Constantine, I continue to see small internet campaigns to get the show picked up by increasingly irrelevant cable channels. My point is, people are digging DC on TV, but it wasn’t always that way, as Chris Sheehan from the thrilling comics review blog chrisisoninfiniteearths.blogspot.com takes us through the pilot episode of a show ordered but not picked up by CBS in 1997: Justice League of America!


Before DC Comics hit it big with television series like Smallville and more recently with ArrowFlashGotham and the rest, there was an unsuccessful attempt at a television series featuring the Justice League of America.  In 1997, CBS commissioned a movie-length television pilot featuring many of the JLA characters in an amazingly odd patchwork version of the League.

One of the interesting narrative tools utilized are confessional-style interview segments in which we learn about each individual character.  As we open we are immediately thrown into one featuring Tora (Tori... really?) Olafsdotter (because she's Olaf's daughter, natch) better known to us as Ice.  She has taken a position at a meteorological facility where she works for Miguel Ferrer, who I know best from Twin Peaks... and frankly, I'm shocked he's a part of this. 

Following the credits segment, we meet the Fastest (Unemployed) Man on Earth... the Flash, Wal... nope, even during his heyday, Wally gets the shaft.  Let's meet Barry Allen.

The outta work jerk is getting evicted from his apartment, when he gets a ringy-dingy in his earpiece which tells him the League needs him... at least somebody does.

We then pop over and meet Hal... no, Kyle... no... wait... this is Guy Gardner???  Software salesman???  You gotta be kidding me.  He laments that while Barry's life is easy and clear-cut, this two-fisted man of floppy-disks lives a life most complex.  This is made completely obvious as we watch him... set a table for a romantic dinner.

Back with Ice, she's tracking a storm that's headed directly for New Metro, which so far as I can tell is right across the bridge from New Goth.  This would be the first hurricane in New Metro history, and as such she brings it to the attention of Mssr. Ferrer.  She then shows him a televised rant of some loon who has foretold of this storms pending arrival.  Miguel tells her she'd best track this thing "outside".

Let's rejoin Guy... as he sings opera to his date. This Earth's Guy is apparently something of a virtuoso.  He learned an entire opera, just to make it up to his ginger goddess (Hell, she resembles Guy Gardner more than this clown) for his recent disappearances.  Wouldn’tcha know it, just as soon as he promises to always be around...duty calls.

We now meet "B.B." Da Costa.  Can't really sweat the B.B. here, as her full name is Beatriz Bonilla Da Costa.  She's a struggling actress and we watch her audition for the part of a banana in a fruit commecial.  After having a bit of an awkward meet-up with a potential beau, her Justice League communicator starts beeping... so this banana's gotta split (urgh).

Ray Palmer is an excited though under appreciated science teacher.  As he lectures his class, the students are far too interested in the amazing weather phenomena occurring outside the window.  I don't want to shock you, but Ray's JLA communicator goes off as well.  He dutifully puts some late-90's slacker stereotype in charge of the class and jams.

Ice and Miguel climb up to the top of their lab, and observe a tornado just about to hit the city (I thought they said it was a hurricane?  eh, maybe it's both).  We then jump to a scene where Guy in full Green Lantern regalia saves a child from a falling power line.  Fire rescues a team of workers from a fallen piece of... what looks like sheet rock, actually.  While this is happening, the Atom... rescues a cat, and our oddly chubby Flash slows the wind by running in counterclockwise circles.

The day (and New Metro) is saved, thanks in no small part to the Justice League.
Ladies and gentlemen, proudly I present... your Justice League of America... in all it's awkward, operatic, and unemployed glory.

This is only the first segment of this relic.  We still have well over an hour of this awesomeness ahead of us!


You can read a new DC comic book review each and every day on chrisisoninfiniteearths.blogspot.com, and follow him on Twitter @AceComics!
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