I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this, but I worked on an earlier incarnation of Who Wants to be a Superhero when it was called “Who wants to be a Comic Book Hero?” (I guess someone actually owns the trademark to the word “superhero.” Weird, eh? Stan mentioned during a meeting that he’s friends with the guy who owns the word, so I assume they worked it out.)
Anyway, when I worked on it, there was a much more serious take on the concept. I still have the show bible I wrote with another producer. (I do work behind the scenes on TV as a producer/writer at times, so I’m not just the on-camera guy you see on Attack of the Show.) I worked on it as an associate producer/story editor since a buddy of mine, Arthur Borman, knew I was a total film/comic book geek. It was a chance also to work directly with Stan Lee — one of the nicest guys on the planet earth. He’s like everyone’s grandpa. I really wanted him to sign some comic books of mine, but just could not get the nerve to bring them to a meeting to geek out. It was fun to pitch him ideas for the show. Stan really seemed to care that it be real. I can’t say anything about the production of the show you are seeing on Sci-Fi right now since I was not involved, but I am happy to see that certain ideas did make it onto the show.
One idea I really wished they had used was celebrity villains. We wanted to get cool celebrity super-villains to administer each week’s challenge — people like Kevin Smith, Carmen Electra, Bruce Campbell or Seth Green, among others, would dress in villain costumes and taunt our heroes. That could come up again if there’s a season two.
As for the series as it is now, I actually find it a lot of fun and very entertaining if you don’t take it too seriously. I’m really surprised to see how emotional the show has become — does everyone cry when they get booted by Stan? I mean, you can accuse some of those cast members of being actors, but bad actors are not able to cry that convincingly. I’d say most of the contestants are real fans.
I’ll be tuning into the season finale on Thursday to check it out. (I’m a geek, so what else is new?)