OK James Gunn, You've Convinced Me Max's Green Lantern Series Could Be The Smartest TV Show Ever

 Hal Jordan and John Stewart from DC Comics.
Hal Jordan and John Stewart from DC Comics.

To get this factoid out of the way right quick, for all the judgment it’ll earn, I’m not the biggest Green Lantern fan. Meant in the strictest sense, in that I do enjoy any time spent with magic ring-bearers, but I’m not nearly as well-versed in the intergalactic lore as other DC fans. As such, I’m not inherently predisposed to a future of obsessing over Max’s reconfigured Lanterns series. And yet somehow, studio co-boss James Gunn has convinced me this could be not just an incredible entry in DC"s upcoming television lineup, but the smartest show on TV.

Lanterns will be imperative to the overall DCU, as the mystery being investigated by John Stewart and Hal Jordan will directly tie into the “Gods and Monsters” chapter. Gunn previously revealed that Ozark creator Chris Mundy is set as showrunner for a story that shares genre space with True Detective. That’s already wildly exciting, but the show’s latest behind-the-scenes additions already make this one of the strongest creative teams imaginable. Let’s look at the two talents whom Gunn revealed co-wrote the Lanterns pilot with Mundy.

Hal Jordan and John Stewart from DC Comics
Hal Jordan and John Stewart from DC Comics

Tom King

Any modern era DC fan is likely well-versed in writer Tom King's work, award-winning and otherwise. (Not to mention his Marvel miniseries The Vision and Image's Love Everlasting.) But for those who aren't, I don't mind running down a shortlist of stellar series and stories he's penned over the last decade: Mister MIracle, Human Target, Rorschach, Strange Adventures, The Omega Men, and Danger Street.

When it comes to the Dark Knight, King wrote the first 85 issues (plus a trio of annuals) for Batman's ongoing Rebirth run, which he followed up with the Batman/Catwoman miniseries, Batman: Killing Time, Gotham City: Year One, Batman: One Bad Day - The Riddler, and stories for the anthologies Batman: Black and White and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Still not a comprehensive list.

King won the Eisner Award for Best Writer the two times he was nominated, in 2018 and 2019, and more recently penned Supergirl: World of Tomorrow, which is being adapted into a feature film within this very DCU we're discussing. He's shaping to be one of Gunn's trusted scribes in the road ahead, and it helps his cred on Lanterns that his Green Lantern story "Will You Be My God?" from Justice League: Darkseid War is considered a standout by more than just yours truly.

I'm an unabashed Tom King nerd, which wouldn't take John Stewart's detective skills to figure out, but I do genuinely think he's a fantastic creative force to have in the writers room. He tells often methodical narratives that skew more grounded than fantastical, but with crescendo beats that feel far more earned than costant mass destruction. King also likes to play with timelines and sequence, which should also make for unique and engaging television on any scale.

Damon Lindelof

The third corner of this brainy trifecta is Emmy winner and longtime TV scribe Damon Lindelof, whose career is filled with stories set in heightened realities, focusing on bonkers situations. In the annals of TV history, he'll probably always be most remembered as co-creator of the mega-hit sci-fi mystery Lost, which is as much a blessing as a curse depending on one's mileage. (I personally dug most of what Lost offered up in its first four seasons, and then less after that.)

But it's everything Lindelof has put out since Lost that has me the most excited for his creative role in Lanterns. There's the emotionally devestating roller coaster of WTF that was the three seasons of The Leftovers, which pulled off some unparalleled story beats with its incredibly human look at what happens when spirituality and togetherness get ripped away.

Most appropriate for this argument, of course, is the fact that Damon Lindelof pulled off the impossible with a quasi-adaptation follow-up of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, which was as groundbreaking and thought-provoking as live-action comic tales get. Not to mention extremely dark and emotional.

Most recently, Lindelof co-created 2023's genre-embracing action-adventure comedy Mrs. Davis, which was on a completely different tonal wavelength than his previous efforts, but was no less densely crafted, with a labarynthian story involving God, A.I., sneakers, and unrequited (plushighly reluctant) love.

All things told, Tom King and Damon Lindelof appear to be incapable of building up boring and hacky narratives, and the sky is truly the limit for where the two and Chris Mundy will take the Lanterns murder mystery.

Other Reactions To James Gunn's Lanterns News

Amid all the fans reacting to James Gunn's post about the Lanterns pilot, there were also a few familiar faces and names who popped up to share the positivity, including Tom King's frequent artist collaborator Mitch Gerards.

  • Superman & Lois' Elizabeth Tulloch: Yay @damonlindelof!!!!

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3's Randy Havens: This is gonna be amazing

  • The Suicide Squad's Flula Borg: 🔥!!

  • DC Comics' writer Tom Taylor: Yeah! Great to hear!

  • DC Comics artist Mitch Garads: 🔥🔥🔥💚💚💚

  • The Umbrella Academy director/producer Jeff King: Murderers Row ✨

Here's hoping all things go smoothly, without any giant yellow obstacles getting in the way, so that Lanterns can find its way onto the schedule for DC fans with Max subscriptions. Until then, check out everything hitting the small screen with our 2024 TV schedule.