Fox Bringing “The Punisher” to TV

October 21, 2011

Looks like Frank Castle–Marvel Comics’ kevlar-clad, skull-emblazoned, gun-toting vigilante hero, the Punisher–will soon be  wreaking vengeance on the small screen. Fox has ordered a “put pilot” (meaning the network promises to air the pilot episode; failing to do so brings with it a heavy financial penalty) for a “Punisher” series from ABC Studios and writer-producer Ed Bernero (Third Watch, Criminal Minds). Deadline reports the show will be

an hour-long procedural with a Marvel signature and a new take on one of the comic book giant’s iconic characters, Frank Castle, a rising star detective with the New York Police Department who moonlights as the vigilante Punisher, seeking justice for those the system has failed.

The Punisher is the second comic book property based around themes of judgment and justice in the works at Fox; last month, the network announced its upcoming adaptation of DC’s Spectre.

How do you feel about TV’s interest in high-powered vigilante justice? Maybe the recent flurry of news around such costumed vigilantes as Phoenix Jones makes executives want to strike while the zeitgeist is hot. But how many shows do we need that focus on, and perhaps even glorify, taking the law into your own hands? I guess turning the other cheek (Matt. 5.39) and leaving room for the wrath of God (Rom. 12.19) don’t make for a snazzy elevator pitch (although at least the Spectre is, ostensibly, operating on God’s orders…)

And what, if anything, does it say about our society that the TV industry eagerly sees a market for the Punisher and the Spectre, but still can’t figure out what to do with Wonder Woman, who is in charge and takin’ names with the most powerful weapons of truth and love? Just a thought.

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4 comments on “Fox Bringing “The Punisher” to TV

  1. Personally, I think the issue with Wonder Woman is that she is not practical and her “coolness” doesn’t really translate well to this days.

    As for taking the law into your own hands, it seems that Batman and the Punisher exist in places where the government is completely corrupt. I agree that we need to leave personally offenses to God’s wrath (as I believe those verses are spoken in context of forgiveness). But don’t get me wrong I’m really torn if Batman and Punisher should exist in real-life. We are called to be obedient to the government – even corrupt government. I believe there is a point where we would bring more glory to God to fight for social justice such as protecting the unprotected. There is a fine line never the less. Punisher crosses it. And I don’t like his movies. : )

  2. Which reminds me, have you been keeping up with “Person of Interest.” It is up those same lines. I read your review of the first episode. I’m really glad I’ve kept up with it. The characters Reese and Finch present another interesting view– if you know bad was going to happen, could you just sit and allow it or would you fight against it? If they went to the police, they would be shut down and many would fall victim to evil men.

    • Michael Oct 21, 2011

      Hey Brady — I’m afraid I haven’t kept up with POI, no. How is it shaking out? Has The Machine been proven a double-edged sword yet? I did like the premise, and I’ll be peased if it has more success than I thought it might. (I think I saw somewhere that CBS is getting ready to order the rest of a full season.) Perhaps I’ll watch the first full year on Netflix sometime in ’12.

      Re: obedience to corrupt government — My initial thought is, yes, but there’s corrupt and then there’s Corrupt. I mean, there is demonstrable corruption in our own government (nothing new), but I wouldn’t advocate open rebellion. On the other hand, in an extreme case like Nazi Germany, the more faithful course of action might have been disobedience (e.g., Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the plot to kill Hitler.) Even in less extreme cases – I would say, for example, that the civil disobedience of the Civil Rights Movement was also, for many, an extension of their faith in and faithfulness to God.

      The Punisher, Batman, and their ilk, though… a long way from “civil disobedience”!

      Thanks for the comments, as always!

      • Michael Oct 21, 2011

        Re-reading your comments, maybe civil disobedience falls under your caveat, “a point where we would bring more glory to God to fight for social justice”? I’d agree with that.

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