The WB’s drama development for fall 2004 is picking up speed, with the Frog making a put pilot commitment to a new take on D.C. Comics superhero the Flash.
Feature scribe-producer Todd Komarnicki (“Resistance”) is writing the pilot and will exec produce the project via Warner Bros. Television and his Guy Walks Into a Bar shingle. Net has attached a hefty penalty to the project if it’s not picked up to series.
“The Flash” — which revolves around an ordinary man with superhuman speed — is the Frog’s latest attempt to reimagine a comic or literary classic for primetime following the success of its Superman-inspired “Smallville.” Last season’s “Birds of Prey” didn’t work out, but execs have high hopes for this fall’s “Tarzan.”
“It’s becoming an unexpected tradition for us,” said Carolyn Bernstein, WB exec VP of drama development.
As with “Smallville,” the new “Flash” will have a “no tights, no flights” philosophy, which means the character won’t be clad in the classic red suit. He’ll also have a cool 21st-century mantra that will guide his life.
“Once our hero gets his calling, he’s given the advice, ‘Live fast so others don’t die young,’ ” Komarnicki said.
Per Bernstein, WBTV topper Peter Roth came to the net a few months ago to pitch the idea of bringing “The Flash” back to the small screen. (CBS had its own “Flash” skein back in 1990.)
“The twist Peter talked to us about was incorporating time travel into the Flash mythology,” she said. “We’ve been talking internally about doing a ‘Time Tunnel’-style show, and this was the perfect way to blend time travel with an established franchise we know is beloved by people who know the comic.”
And so in the new “Flash,” our hero will be a fresh-out-of-college Gothamite who discovers he has the ability to move very fast — so fast, in fact, that he can travel backward or forward in time. He’ll use that skill to right wrongs, save lives and kick ass.
“This is a story about a guy who’s aimlessly drifting through life and barely moving at the speed of life when he discovers his calling is to move at the speed of light,” Komarnicki said.
Bernstein said the show will have self-contained storylines each week in addition to ongoing plot points.
“Every week he’ll have a mission, a la ‘Mission: Impossible,’ ” Bernstein said. “It’s a big, fun, adventure series. There’s also a mentor character who’ll train him, and there’s a legacy of Flashes before him.”
The new “Flash” will not be a brooding superhero, but he will recognize that his new life means plenty of compromises.
“When he’s in the future, he’s missing his present,” Komarnicki said. “He’s really giving up some of his own life to help others.”
Scribe-producer said he feels like he’s “won the lottery in getting to work with Peter Roth and the WB.”
On the feature front, Komarnicki and production partner Jon Berg are producing New Line’s big holiday comedy “Elf” and have teamed with the studio for the David Dorfman (“Anger Management”) pic “The Retreat.”
“The Flash” was packaged by Komarnicki’s reps at Endeavor.