Aquaman has been the butt of jokes for as long as I can remember. He was never one of my favorite superheroes, but ever since I saw the character portrayed in the Justice League and JL Unlimited cartoons, I’ve begun to give him a chance (the guy had some serious attitude going for him). When he appeared in an episode of Smallville, I figured they could do a few stories about him, but I didn’t think he could support his own show. I still don’t know for sure that it would have worked, but after watching the pilot episode of a proposed Aquaman series (a.k.a. Mercy Reef), I was certainly open to the possibility.
The series was a casualty of the merger of the UPN and WB networks into the CW network. A pilot had been created for the WB (by the same people who make Smallville), but the show was cancelled without any other episodes filmed in the wake of the merger. The pilot, though, recently showed up on iTunes for anyone to watch. (Smart business move, if you ask me. They might as well get some of their money back.)
This really was a well-made pilot. Superb visuals, a good introductory story, and some big name actors (Lou Diamond Phillips and Ving Rames, specifically) kept my interest and left me wanting more. They obviously spent a lot of money on it. The addition of the Bermuda Triangle into the lore seems like it would have really given this show somewhere interesting to go. I’d love to know what they had planned for the Navy Pilot who, it was revealed at the end, was really a Bermuda Triangle survivor.
It’s obvious that the show would have had an extremely similar structure and tone to Smallville, but I’m okay with that. I like Smallville. And I don’t think Orin/A.C. (Arthur Curry)/Aquaman would be as idealistic as Clark Kent, so the stories could have been somewhat grittier.
But we’ll never know. Wave “bye-bye” to this show. This one is bound to sail away into the sea of shows that briefly break the surface before submerging into an ocean of ill-fated pilots, cast off by the network to float in the turbulent waters of the ‘net for a short time until it finally sinks below even the blogosphere’s sonar to sleep with the fishes for all time.