Comics Alliance Best of 2015: Best Movie or TV Adaptation of 2015
Our judges have adjudicated; our readers have voted. We’re proud to present to you the best movie or TV adaptation of a comic in 2015 — and four great runners up.
The anime adaptation of ONE and Yusuke Murata’s One-Punch Man manga had the lion’s share of its work done already; Murata’s art for the series already approached and surpassed the detail and pacing of most storyboards and anime frames. There’s an easy-to-find .GIF of a fight scene from the manga that’s simply taken Murata’s panels and stitched them together to look like faux-animation, and even if the anime adaptation stuck simply with that, it would be enough.
Instead, the anime uses the unmistakable character designs and impeccable pacing of Murata’s original work and infuses the finished animation with a murderer’s row of the best animators working in the business today. The resulting combination takes the best of both worlds, bringing each animator’s unique style to Murata’s beautiful blueprints to create some of the best looking animation in years. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything that had such a recipe for success as an adaptation and still managed to wow just about every single person who saw the finished result. [Ziah Grace]
I maintain that much of the success of the Marvel cinematic universe is the way each new film manages to find a new style — spy thriller, or pulpy war story, or broad sci-fi comedy — that bends the simple winning formula at the franchise's heart into something fresh. Agent Carter has this in spades. Not only is it a period piece, allowing the show to carve out its own little corner of the universe, but it brings that era to life with a unique flair, with fight scenes intercut with a Captain America radio drama, or Indiana Jones-style punch-ups on top of a moving car. Like Peggy's vivid blue and red costume, it's reminiscent of her super-powered ex, but executed in a style that is entirely the show and character's own.
More than anything else, though, it's surprising to see a superhero TV show that takes as its central story the role of women in post-war America, and the insecurity of the men who returned from combat to find their occupations happily filled by female workers. I can't wait to see how the show's style and central metaphor is reshaped in the Hollywood-set second season. [Alex Spencer]
Listen, if you had told me two years ago that there was going to be a television show where a goofy kid fought a psychic gorilla, and also Ed’s Tom Cavanagh would be there, and that it was on the CW, I would have called you a liar. But here we are: it is 2015 and The Flash is not only a successful television show, but it’s one that embraces the goofy Silver Age roots of Barry Allen.
The Flash is definitely well-suited to being on The CW, a TV network that has long catered to teen audiences by putting out shows that combine sincere melodrama with goofy humour. The Flash is one of the latest of these, where family drama (and Joe West, Supercop Dad) and romantic entanglements coexist with superheroics. Add in a charming lead in Grant Gustin and a cast that always seems to look like they have fun hanging out, as well as the aforementioned gorilla, and you have a fun show. [James Leask]
Daredevil set the tone for what a Netflix Marvel show looks like: more 'realistic', with the brightness turned way down, and full-blooded violence. Jessica Jones stays in keeping with that style, but expands on it, not least in the diversity of its cast. Not only does the show have a female lead — and a brilliant one in Krysten Ritter — but it surrounds her with women and people of color in a range of roles that's sadly lacking from most of Marvel's output. It's probably telling that the most prominent white male is the villain, one defined by his creepy misogyny. By using his mind-control powers to force women to “smile”, David Tennant's Kilgrave gives the MCU its first MRA supervillain.
The way it deals with sexual violence makes Jessica Jones a difficult watch. It never revels in its subject matter, though, and if you push through the discomfort you'll find a show that's smart, compelling and, in spite of its darkness, frequently very funny. [Alex Spencer]
Daredevil’s arrival on Netflix was an exercise in restraint, in keeping with the best of the character’s comics over the years. Charlie Cox was a quiet, calm centre who allowed various other characters to stalk around him — from Kingpin to Karen Page to the delightful Wesley. The slow-burn everyone expected was replaced by a show that frequently exploded into violent rage, reflecting the true nature of Matt Murdock behind the layers of guilt, repression, bitterness and Catholicism.
Carefully drawn together, and with only a slight lag as things reached the finale, the show was a cleverly constructed piece of work that surprised everyone with its high quality. It led the way for the equally powerful Jessica Jones, and put some fresh life back into Marvel Studios in a year of middling movies. [Steve Morris]