02 03 Nerd Lunch: Doc Savage: Rebooted 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Doc Savage: Rebooted

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Any nerd worth the name has at least a passing familiarity with Doc Savage --- proto-superhero (right down to the Fortress of Solitude and the first name "Clark"), pulp crusader of the 30s and 40s, and reprint paperback superstar of the 70s. I've previously suggested bronze giant Dwayne Johnson as the star of a big-budget movie franchise, and I stand by that suggestion. In fact, DC just did a run of Doc comics set in a modern day pulp world --- cell phones and zeppelins --- which would be a great starting point for that franchise.

But this is my other Doc Savage pitch . . . the Smallville version. A live action TV series, sort of a portrait of the superhero as a young man. Doc Savage doesn't have the same kind of pop culture ubiquity as Superman, obviously, nor the same sort of well-developed universe to draw from (only one recurring baddy, and he only appeared twice, and in general little attention to continuity from one novel to the next), so this show wouldn't rely so much on riffing on the established universe (i.e., let's do a red kryptonite episode) like "Smallville" seems to do.

Basic premise is that twenty-something Clark "Doc" Savage, Jr. is a young surgeon who has been leading a Spec Ops rescue team in Afghanistan for the past couple of years. When his dad, CEO and founder of the Hidalgo Corporation, dies under mysterious circumstances, Clark inherits a billion dollars and some change and a mission --- protect the world from threats that cannot be understood by conventional science or stopped by conventional law enforcement.

The core team assisting him are a couple of Army buddies --- sharp-dressed lawyer Theo "Ham" Brooks and slovenly roughneck chemist Andrew "Monk" Mayfair. Doc's three other assistants --- engineer Renny, archeologist Johnny, and technologist Long Tom --- could be recurring characters brought in on a case-by-case basis (as they were in the novels). All were originally portrayed as vaguely WASP, vaguely 40ish, and high-ranking officers in WWI . . . I would be all for mixing it up and making Renny a youngish Michael Clark Duncan and Long Tom a spunky little Korean gal.

Cousin Patricia from the novels would be a good addition, too --- she could be revamped as either a sharp MBA who manages Hidalgo and insists on tagging along on adventures, or a youngish socialite who starts devoting her fame and money to Clark's mission.

As a TV series, this would actually be trying to hit a spot somewhere between MacGyver (old-school 80s adventure with a smart hero who won't kill) and Alias (larger cast, more ongoing storylines, a few fantastic elements mixed in with Bondian pulp action espionage).

I'm casting Daniel Cudmore from the last couple of X-Men movies as Doc . . . he's about 6'9" and appears to eat a lot of meat, and that's a good start. Give him a tan and some gold contacts and you're good to go.

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