Lost Pilots #4: Justice League of America

In the spirit of the superhero films The Specials, My Super Ex-Girlfriend and  Zoom, a new superhero pilot surfaced at ABC in 1997. This time they would take the broader approach to superheroes and try to reach a wider audience. To keep comicbook geeks interested they used popular unused DC comic heroes like Flash and Green Lantern and to reach a wider audience they went with zany comedy and sitcom style relationships.

The pilot opens with the evil The Weatherman scaring the city of New Metro by creating a hurricane over it. Each of the Justice League is called in to stop the hurricane from forming. Guy Garder, Green Lantern (Gossip Girl’s Matthew Settle) has to break off a date. Barry Allen, The Flash (Kenny Johnston) is thrown out of his apartment and jobless. BB DaCosta, Fire (Law & Order: SVU’s Michelle Hurd) misses an audition. Then during the crisis, we also see The Atom (John Kassir, who also happens to be the voice of Tales from the Crypt’s Cryptkeeper) who ends up shrinking down so he can go under an old woman’s and get her cat.

Aside from the JLA trying to stopping The Weather Man, the pilot is also the origin story of another Justice Leaguer “Ice” (Kimberly Oja), who becomes the victim of an experiment and become a hero.

There is also the mysterious Martian Manhunter, played by MASH’s David Ogden Stiers, who helps the Justice League scout out baddies.

The best parts of this pilot are, well, Matthew Settle’s Green Lantern at least looks heroic, Kimberly Oja is credible and you also have Miguel Ferrer as the villain and he is always a perfect baddie.

The costumes in this pilot looks like somebody raided the SNL sketch wardrobe department. They are down-right appalling. And this is a shame since this is also the first time we have ever seen a live-action version of Green Lantern or any of these heroes except The Flash. Flash had his own series back in 1990. If you havent seen it I highly recommend you pick up the Flash TV series on DVD if you like superhero TV. It is a cut and above other shows and it is a shame it didn’t last longer.

The production design is appalling and well the script is a huge stinker. With all the effects, this pilot must have cost quite a bit. Who spends that kind of money on this? The script must have been a huge hint to how bad this was going to be.

What I don’t get about this show was why use established heroes that people actually have a lot of affection for. Why not go the route of completely original heroes and then up the humor like they did for The Tick live-action series. This series could have been really interesting if they did go in the style of The Tick.

Pilot Score: 1.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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