DC Entertainment might not be doing so well on the big screen, but they've owned the world of superhero television for years. They've taken us to Star City, Central City, Gotham, National City, backward and forward in time, and we know exactly where they should go next ... or, at least, who they should go with.
Last week, DC President Geoff Johns hinted that there's a brand new TV show on its way, joining the ranks of Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Speculation abounds as to what that new show might be, but when you think about it, there's a very obvious answer: Birds of Prey.
Birds of Prey was a team book starring Oracle (the paralyzed Barbara Gordon) and Black Canary. It originally ran from 1999-2009 before it was canceled, and has been resurrected twice since. While the core of the team has almost always been Oracle and Canary, other female heroes have appeared in the line-up over the years.
Arrow has been on the air for over four years now, The Flash going on three, and in that time they've introduced several characters that could easily move over to a role on a new series, from Vixen to Huntress to Hawkgirl and others. With its rotating roster, Birds of Prey is the perfect series to give these characters more room to breathe. You've even got a built-in Lady Shiva in Nyssa al Ghul (and who among us doesn't want to see more Nyssa on our screens?)
Of course, you can't really have the Birds of Prey without Oracle and Canary. Oracle is no problem; Arrow has already referenced her existence in this universe. Just introduce the information broker in the first episode, or even in a backdoor pilot on Arrow, and you're golden.
The trouble, of course, is Black Canary. The second Canary, Laurel Lance (who is based on the Canary from the BoP comics), was unceremoniously murdered near the end of Arrow's fourth season. That doesn't mean there aren't ways around it. In fact, there are four. Instead of the Black Canary, you could bring Sara Lance's White Canary from DC's Legends of Tomorrow over to the new show. Legends has a rotating cast itself, so it would make sense, though she's a popular character on that show. Barring an established character, Oliver could honor Laurel's last wishes and train a new Canary.
But what about using Laurel herself? Well, Laurel has already reappeared on Arrow in its midseason finale. Depending on where they're going with it, they may have already solved the problem. If this Laurel doesn't stick around, they could always bring back the original. I know, the Lazarus Pit was destroyed, but this season of Arrow is introducing Nyssa's big sister Talia, and in the comics, the al Ghul sisters have their own personal Lazarus Pits. What better way to hurt Oliver than to bring back Laurel as a bloodthirsty killer?
When the Birds of Prey were first introduced in 1996, that Canary was running from the memory of a traumatic attack at the hands of Oliver's enemies. Her work with Oracle helped her to overcome that trauma and rebuild her life. Coming back from the dead could be just the right substitute for her comic book fate.
Built for crossovers
With so many characters coming in and out of the Birds line-up, the show would be simple to work into any of the ever-more-complicated DCTV crossovers. Over their initial ten-year run, they were headquartered in three different cities (Gotham, Metropolis and Platinum Flats) and had a roster of over a dozen characters. While the comic books only occasionally participated in larger crossover stories, those characters appeared in stories across the DC lineup. Oracle, especially, became an indispensable part of the larger DC Universe, while Black Canary eventually left the team when she became head of the Justice League.
Speaking of crossovers, if there's one character we can be pretty sure they won't introduce in the DCTV universe, it's Batman (at least not until Gotham's Bruce Wayne grows up), but that doesn't mean we can't play around in his sandbox. Arrow has already introduced plenty of Batman villains, from certain members of the Suicide Squad to Ra's al Ghul, and Birds of Prey would allow them to easily add more. Oracle, Black Canary and Huntress all have comic book ties to Gotham, and Oracle herself is a former Batgirl.
In fact, just using Oracle alone means you have an open invitation to bring on dozens of Batman allies and villains, including sidekicks like Nightwing and Robin, without having to use the Bat himself.
Where the ladies at?
If there's one thing the current DCTV shows are sorely lacking, it's women. Yes, they have them, and yes, they're generally pretty decent characters, but consider the numbers. While each show has a few great female characters, they are generally outnumbered something like three-to-one. It's time for the women to turn the scales, and the Birds of Prey offer the simplest solution. No more of this 'two female characters in a cast full of men' nonsense. Instead, let's get an entire team of kick-ass ladies to show the boys how the superheroics - and occasional spy craft - are done.