Over on Comic Book Resources, there's news that Fox may be looking to bring X-Men and Fantastic Four to TV screens much akin to what Marvel is doing through Netflix as well as ABC with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
With this news of Fox exploring the potential of expanding the Marvel licenses they hold to television, here's a quick overview of ten ideas that could prove quite successful for such endeavors. All of these are based on the idea of either being tightly interwoven, or only tangentially interwoven to the established cinematic universe they are building. This allows them freedom to explore various ideas that may be too time consuming or inconsequential for feature films but are still audience draws nonetheless to allow the audience to feel more deeply connected to this established cinematic universe.
M.R.D. (Mutant Response Division)
This one you would think is a no-brainer. Take the 90's show Cops, but spin it into a faux-reality show using mutants. This show would be about a film crew that tags along with various M.R.D. officers, like how Cops was setup, and focuses on the press management angle of this brand new initiative within the X-Men cinematic universe. The lower grade digital of the camera setup (to mimic the infamous look that Cops itself yielded) allows for an easier budget maintenance and effects blending at lower cost. It gives cameos out the wazoo, and even allows for all manner of new ideas. With no over arcing story point, it can be weaved into nodding and referencing any of the films as well. Of course, they could also flip this idea and tap into a full on dramedy similar to other shows of this nature like Sirens, Blue Bloods, and the like. It depends on which angle provides the best outlet. Would you want to see an agency more akin to how X-Files or other offbeat procedural shows were handled on a case by case basis? Or would you rather see a full series done like how the X-Files Cops crossover episode was handled with multiple examples of mutant interactions and power displays per episode? This allows a deeper understanding of the officer interactions and lingo to how they categorize mutant abilities or threat levels, and would yield a more boots to the ground everyday view of this world. Either one could play well to the intended audiences and expand on this world they've established.
With Glee soon out the door, Fox may want to try a new angle at the teen angst and maturation type story lines. Academy X gives them that. The stories of this run have covered a wide gambit of topics from sexual orientation, school shootings, body acceptance, and how do you get anything past a headmistress that can read your mind. It covers pretty much all the topics everybody needs to learn about! This also helps establish a newer generation of X-Men and starts to expose the public to the fact there are more X-Men than just Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, and Storm. In the long term it could help generate new fan favorites and recognition for world wide audiences to allow a better expansion within the films. Throw in some classic cameos where fitting and this could blossom into a new world-wide hit even bigger than Glee ever was. Of course, this also means they could interweave in some of the X-23 crossover story lines that also featured Kimura(portrayed by Naya Rivera) that could help bolster and round this out as a joined continuity. Think of it as Degrassi High but with mutants at a boarding school and you can see exactly how successful this show could prove to be alongside how long it could run with no shortage of stories to cover.
X-Factor: Private Investigators
Well obvious first issue with this one is the title. They'd have to change it because of the singing show of the same name. The X-Factor Agency gives Fox a unique television show spot though outright. A mutant private investigator business could prove highly successful and allows for ample cameos and stories. This allows for a myriad of stories from how mutant powers could play a factor in P.I. cases. "What if your client wanted to find out if her husband was cheating on her but her client was a teleporter?" That and much much more could make for an interesting spin on this tried and true television sub-genre. It'd definitely bring a fun element to play with for episodic story telling as well as an over-arcing plot.
What happens to mutants that fall in the cracks? What if Xavier or any other mutant school never found them? The NYX miniseries explores these concepts with a group of kids, some homeless, some runaways, one was even kicked out of her own home by her mother, and much much more. It covers gang violence, bullies, drug usage, prostitution, and many more topics that are still prevalent in the modern world as much as we choose to ignore them. As gritty and shock inducing as the source material is, no one would make the mistake that it glamorizes these lives and could give even more weight to the causes trying to help out those in these situations.
Nashville is all the rage currently. Glee has done rather well itself. Music shows are in, and within Marvel's mutants there's no better candidate for a similar such show as Alison Blaire (aka Dazzler), the mutant who can turn sound into light. This could take an interesting spin diving into the pop industry world among other musical worlds as she attempts to find her taste and where she wants to grow and how best she can apply her powers. Over time, it could even introduce Megan Gwynn (aka Pixie) and approach the story angles presented by her hallucinogenic abilities. There's no shortage of stories that could be told between these two, and it'd be interesting to see how even real world topics are handled within the confines of this established world.
What happened to Xavier's first graduating class? It's been often talked about that New Mutants would be an eventual X-Men feature film, but there is room for it on the small screen too. The easiest approach to this would be treating this as "life after the Xavier Institute" and set the time period to an appropriate decade to match. This could help build on the story aspects and questions of where do the students go after they graduate. Playing off of various dramedies that focus on the after high school years, this one could prove interesting as it'd essentially be a mix of MTV's the real world but with mutants and how they are adjusting to being roommates in a house while also looking for work out in the world and the other problems that could arise. Overall it'd help establish the world as well as what the job market is like for mutants. Do some get their powers taken advantage of for careers? Do others get denied jobs because of their abilities? How does it impact their daily life? Another perk to this show is it could also help establish Doug Ramsay (aka Cypher) and preferably in this world, his rise as pro-mutant rights activist or lawyer. Potentially even a Mutant Response Division liaison that joined to keep them humane(and may even explain the origins of the M.R.D. press initiative of their actions being recorded and aired for that show). With Fox having lost the Daredevil rights, Douglas Ramsay makes the perfect replacement for such stories because of his language translation abilities that includes reading body language. This would also help establish his character for an eventual usage in an adapted take on the X-23: Target X miniseries.
With how successful shows like Leverage have proven to be, it could be interesting to see how it's approached from the mutant standpoint. There's no better thief to express this with than Gambit. If they can manage to get Taylor Kitsch back to reprise his role, this could be perfect. Even if not, they could dive into his younger years with the thieves guild to build his character history up. Having Remy LeBeau as he grew up and became the man he is alongside the stories that could be told worldwide, or even only in New Orleans could be quite fun. It'd alleviate the strain on how much of his story would need to be condensed for a film, and would also help generate new stories that could be told within the confines of the X-Men films later. While starting as a youth and reaching the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Taylor Kitsch role, this show could dive into the after effects of that movie too about where he went next, and potentially even build to how he could be involved in more modern X-Men features that take place outside of the 80s or 90s through various story devices.
With news of Fox's plans to merge the Fantastic Four with the X-Men universe, here might be the best place to capitalize on that immediately. Diverging from the comics, this series could focus on a corporation sponsored by the Fantastic Four that does research and problem solving in a futurist type manner. It could dive into anything from products for special needs to solving larger issues associated to this world while providing a suitable place for cameos and intermingling of the licenses. This would be a perfect place to showcase such mutants as Artie and Leech, or even dive into other repercussions left over from various films. The corporate angle helps explore those themes in this brave new world, and also gives an employment outlet for graduating mutants suited to this line of work. The directions they could take are endless as this could also be approached as a genius level college type program for those it could suit. The only hindrance on this idea is the writers themselves for what they could come up with and how they could approach the various aspects tied to what being a futurist in this world means or brings.
A victorian era period piece that could grow over time. This idea centers around the infamous Nathaniel Essex (aka Mr. Sinister) and how he became who he is. Starting off in the Victorian era, we could see his origin, but they could also offset it to a degree by using Ms. Sinister in the present day with the story running in parallel. This past and present composition could show how science has evolved, as well as the character's motives and explore many topics that only a character such as this could provide. Akin to Dexter, or Hannibal, or Dracula, and other shows of the more twisted but engaging variety, this show could fill that void Fox has while also expanding even deeper on the roots of the X-Men cinematic universe.
While normally I lean heavily on serial movie features with this idea(still do!), taking it this direction could prove an interesting endeavor. As a TV show I'm not sure of it being in Fox's hands as they have a tendency to muck around with the schedule too much on shows that have high ratings, inadvertently killing them. This is one that plays up on so many different levels that it could still be an interesting endeavor. The first season could cover Target X in an expanded fashion similar to what the recent From Dusk till Dawn TV series is doing and also could then dive into a wider world of stories after the season finale that featured an assault on the Kinney household by the Facility and Kimura(who could be portrayed by Naya Rivera). They could also do some overlap here between the movies and the TV show, allowing for the origin piece to be a pilot movie or feature film in theaters that then spins into a series of Laura traveling to understand herself while staying out of the reaches of the Facility and the various mutants she runs into while on the road(which could also tie into the Academy X show idea, or feature movie nods in itself). The ideas here are endless, but a lot of it is determined by the casting choices and the schedule availability of those choices. Depending on those choices it may be more prudent to go for this as a live movie that leaves room open for cameo potential in an established universe expanding show like Academy X and then much later expanded upon as solo a made for TV mini-series or movie sequels to her own solo film.