TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily

Fox Targets Punisher TV Series

Fox has bought an hour-long drama from ABC Studios based on The Punisher, expanding Marvel’s television development slate to five live-action series. The project has been given a put-pilot commitment, meaning the pilot is guaranteed to be put into production.

Deadline reports the adaptation, from Criminal Minds showrunner Ed Bernero, will transform the comic book antihero Frank Castle into a rising-star detective in the New York Police Department who moonlights as a vigilante, seeking justice for those the courts have failed. Bernero will executive produce along with Marvel.

The Punisher joins The Incredible Hulk, Cloak & Dagger, AKA Jessica Jones and Mockingbird in the pipeline from ABC Studios and corporate sibling Marvel. It’s the first Marvel series to be sold outside of Disney-owned ABC.

Created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru, the Punisher debuted in 1974 as an ex-Marine driven by the gangland execution of his wife and two children to wage a one-man war against the mob. A brutal vigilante with a willingness to torture and kill, the character was an unlikely addition to the Marvel Universe in the 1970s but, nonetheless, became a staple of the publisher’s line, supporting several titles at the height of his popularity in the 1980s.

Frank Castle also has spawned three movies — the latest, 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, was a box-office flop, becoming one of the lowest-grossing movies based on a Marvel property — and even appeared, in kid-friendly form, on Spider-Man: The Animated Series and The Super Hero Squad Show.

The Punisher marks the second comics-based series for Fox since the cancellation in May of Human Target. Just last month the network gave a script commitment to an adaptation of The Spectre, the DC Comics’ hooded Spirit of Vengeance.


  • Anonymous

    Not liking the premise of this adaptation already.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, no. No way. He’s not a policeman.

  • B.J. Morgan

    There aren’t many people out there that are bigger fans of Punisher than I am, but this premise doesn’t really work for me at all. I guess it makes a bit more sense to update the origin some, but the thing about Punisher is that he is direct and above the board about who he is and why he’s conducting his war. Having him moonlight as vigilante rather than being full-force is kind of dumb. It makes him more Dexter and less Punisher.

  • CoolComix

    The Punisher was never a cop, he is a rogue soldier waging his own war on criminals. I like the premise, but they should call it something else.

  • Imaginet1

    I think that is a stupid idea because why a tv show is called “Punisher” if it have nothing in common with the comic book. with another name mayby i will watch it.
    They  think that comic book fan are dumb. 

  • Vrlamothe

    So… NOT-A-THE PUNISHER adaptation… then it will happen as in that Conan the Barbarian TV Series… he is gonna say that -“I’m not a killer”- line? I’m sorry, but I do not predict a good ending for this TV Series, not if they change that much everything.

  • Turtletrekker

    Lame. If they don’t want to do the Punisher right, then don’t do it at all. I’m already passing on this.

  • Turtletrekker

    Lame. If they don’t want to do The Punsher right, then they shouldn’t do it at all. I’m already passing on this one.

  • Dr. Wonderful

    Hahaha No.

    Sorry, but what is wrong with making it, he’s s a soldier. Damn, how hard is it to do something RIGHT at fox?

  • Jeff Baker

    So now Marvel is into “cross-dressing” their heroes into something that is totally against what the heroes are about?!!! Is this version of the Punisher going to have Frank Castle having a split personality? This is so stupid, it reeks of ignorance and sloppiness. Having Frank Castle as a cop one minuute and the Punisher the next is only going to end badly for Marvel. You can’t treat the Punisher like Batman, IT WON’T WORK!!!

  • cookepuss

    Making him a cop is probably the only way it’d become a network series. As a cop, he’s an officer of the law. Granted, his night job as The Punisher makes him the worst cop ever, but it could be argued that he’s going where the rest of the guys in his department can’t. He’d be Dexter-lite for the network viewers. Strip him of the badge and he’s basically no different than the guys he’s hunting down. He himself is a criminal and wanted man. It’d be more faithful to the comic, but the censors would have a fit and the producers would be hard pressed justifying the on screen carnage – or what little of it is allowable on free TV. 

    IMO, the problem isn’t necessarily FOX’s, but Marvel’s for wanting a larger mainstream audience. Punisher is something better suited to cable. It’s a trade off. More faithful, but smaller viewership VS concessions and larger viewership. R vs PG13. The real question is why does FOX now have the rights when they previously belonged to Lionsgate? You’d have thought that Marvel would’ve brought them back home given the chance.

  • Jorell_Rivera

    So he’s like if daredevil was a cop. Awesome. I hope there’s a Popsicle torture scene in the show.

  • Gregg N

    Umm, actually, Ultimate Universe’s Punisher was a cop.

  • Christopher Currie

    –This might be better if Frank was a beat cop instead of a detective; he’s just a little more anonymous this way to the upper brass.This series has to have some truly really heinous bad guys, or else the series works against its main premise by having a licensed cop just blowing people away in secret.. Also, they must maintain the core origin of Castle by having his family blown away in a Mob shootout.. It should be good to give him the military background as well, though I guess it will be updated to Afghanistan/Iraq, that’s fine..
    Also, will there be a “Punisher Squad”?  Will there be Detective Soap?  What about Microchip, will he be an ally in the Computer-tech department of the NYPD?
    I don’t know about “famous” villains from the comics.  Due to the nature of the Punisher’s agenda, most people don’t live to return except Jigsaw, but would that even be realistic to have a scarface-character like Jigsaw in the show?  Who knows, maybe he’d start off with an unblemished face, then by the end of the season there’s an explosion or shootout where he gets his trademark scars..
    What about a “love interest”?  Would Frank even be interested, at this point?  Will they try to shoehorn in a female detective, who maybe has feelings for Frank, but then gradually starts to get suspicious about things..

  • Ssteve1011

    Wait what if he was a blind lawer who moonlighted as a vigilante!

  • Bjornbrosdahl

    Look, there’s way too many cop dramas on tv already, also the Punisher violently tortures and murders “bad guys” for sport. give people what they want , psychotic vigilantism with tons of blood. the ONLY way this is going to work is to put it on FX and drop the detective junk out of it. The punisher wouldn’t hesitate for a SECOND to blow away some crook. DO NOT RUIN THIS FOR THE TRUE FANS! You will have effectivly destroy the interest of your core audiance.

  • B.J. Morgan

    Indeed he was… but let’s just say the institution had nothing left to offer him.

  • B.J. Morgan

    Perhaps these Hollywood execs should read Greg Rucka’s Punisher. There’s a great cop angle there and it doesn’t involve Punisher becoming a cop sneaking around to plug perps.

  • cookepuss

    Punisher was ruined in the media a long time ago. They’ve taken 3 stabs at it in film and failed each time. If you still have faith that the Punisher will leap to live action and be any more faithful then you are the hardest of the hardcore fans. Given this country’s general aversion of R-rated action flicks in cinema and subsequent leaning toward PG13, there’s very little way that Punisher will be anything more than watered down on television. 

    Regardless, even if it somehow turns out to be a good show, this is FOX we’re talking about. How many good shows have they screwed over over the years. FOX likes the idea of genre television, but they don’t really support it. This is not the adventuresome FOX that spawned X-Files. This is the FOX that has casually canceled the likes of Firefly, Terminator, Dollhouse, Dark Angel, Millenium, and so on. If it’s anything even remotely geektastic, FOX will promptly cancel it. They just don’t “get” it.

  • Al D.

    To be honest, it could be an interesting twist on how Frank handles the war on crime.  Like I have no idea why he would bother to moonlight as Punisher instead of being Punisher 24/7 but I can see how he would use the system to bend it to his own war.  The only problem is when he gets face-to-face with the punks on his day job.  Frank’s natural instinct would be just to blow them away on the spot.   Although that could be a cause for tension there.  But what would he really be bothered with hiding?  Maybe he thinks it’s easier to get closer to the perps with the tools on the job.

  • RockyF

    Actually Marvel does have the rights.  ABC Studios is producing this pilot for Fox.

  • kalorama

    All the people griping about the premise should really reflect on the fact that three attempts to make Punisher movies that hewed close to the comic book premise resulted in there movies that died ugly deaths at the box office.  The court of public opinion has already rendered a resounding “not interested” in the Punisher as most comic fans know him.

  • Mechanimorph

    Maybe they could kill Nathan Fillion’s onscreen family and turn that “Castle” show all kinds of DARK!! He’s already a Marvel Comic  ;-)

  • Randy Watson

    They have one more option, one so unspeakable that I dare not utter it… make a good Punisher movie. Maybe even get a competent writer who knows how not to suck *cough*Garth Ennis to write it.

  • Crewmanguy

    This has much to do with the core concept of the Punisher as that horrible Mutant X tv show did with the comic.  
    They really need to get back to what was done in the movie staring Thomas Jane and go from there.  A series like that, on a station like HBO or AMC would do very well. Network television doesn’t have the freedom the series needs to stay true to the character. 

  • Anonymous

    This is terrible idea and it will fail.  Fox, it’s not too late to pull the plug on this.  This belongs on cable if it has to be made at all.

  • Scud

     This sounds so lame. I highly doubt Castle would waste time trying to solve cases when he could be at home building bombs, cleaning guns and obsessively planning hit after hit. They’re probably going to give him a love interest as well. The thought of this show makes me want to throw up.

  • Lunatics On Pogosticks

    I think  it will be interesting as long as say the first season or so is just build to where his vigilante actions result in the death of his family and he becomes the real punisher.

  • Toneloak

    I like your idea of him being a beat cop. Maybe he was a detective or higher(ex-soldiers get first dibs in the police department) but got knocked down in rank because of something related to his family’s deaths. As an extra layer something huge could have happened that is somewhat a mystery that his connections and the sympathies left over from his family’s death affords him the job he has now. Either way, he doesn’t care about the demotion he get a lot more anonymity coupled with his supercop skills that lead him to the targets he has to punish.

    Depending on how far FOX is willing to taking this series they have the chance to be Dexter great with subtle darkness ambiguity of morality; if they were to do that they’d have to do so without stealing from the tone of Persons of Interest to avoid being redundant given that they’re following a successful show in style or go the route of Human Target with simpler morality.

  • Bringerofdoom

    This doesn’t sound good. Punisher isn’t a “secret vigilante at night” kinda guy. The whole point of the character is that he has changed his entire life and just became that beast called Punisher. Also, he shouldn’t be a cop but a experienced marine/soldier. Just as strong and heavily trained as, say, Rambo. And he uses all that experience and his skills to kill the criminals that walk among us. I want to see a girl getting raped by two thugs, then Punisher comes along and blasts their heads off with a shotgun. That kinda stuff. Wont happen I’m afraid.

    I dont mind a lighter version of the Punisher (war zone was too much, man) but this doesn’t sound proper for Punisher at all.

  • kalorama

    That ship has pretty much sailed. After two failed Punisher films in short order, they’ve built up a pretty big wall of  skepticism for mainstream audiences. There’s only so much crap you can feed people before they realize it’s not chocolate mousse.

    Best they can hope for is that the TV show rehabilitates the character and they can try again in a few years. Biut that’s  unlikely. The TV show is most likely going to fail, not because the concept isn’t any good but because the well has been too polluted by the crap movies.

  • Darrell Tucker

    If Frank aint on HBO or Showtime then I aint watching it. Simple as that.

    Oh, and if this story is a leak to gauge fan raction then I would say the awnser is a resounding “F%#! That”.

  • Carmen Vergara

    I hope they will include the
    following allies in this Punisher television series:


    G. W. Bridge, Stuart Clarke, Lynn
    Michaels, Microchip, Henry Russo, Martin Soap, Joan, Mr. Bumpo, Spacker Dave, Lt.
    Molly Von Richtofen, Yorkie Mitchell, Jen Cooke, Kathryn O’Brien, Nick Fury, Steve


    I look forward to seeing the
    following villains in this Punisher television series:


    Barracuda, Bushwacker, Hitman,
    Jigsaw, Ma Gnucci, The Russian, The Rev, Jigsaw, The Kingpin, The Holy, Elite,
    Mr. Payback, Nicky Cavella, Finn Cooley, Maginty, William Rawlins, Tony Pizzo,
    Cristu Bulat, Tiberiu Bulat, Robert Hellsgaard

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t even seen the last Punisher movie yet…. so my enthusiasm is prett low.

  • kelly


    I already watch Dexter.

  • kelly

    Glee’s pretty “geektastic”.

  • kelly

    Or they can just make a series of anime cartoons featuring the character.


  • James


  • Shawn

    Ok the first line clearly says it’s BASED on the Punisher. 

  • sandwich eater

    This seems like a terrible idea.  It looks like networks are unable to create scripted shows that aren’t about cops.  I wonder if this show will last longer than Human Target.

    The show could be close to the Punisher comics with a TV-14 rating, it doesn’t necessarily have to be on HBO.  You can show people getting shot and killed on a TV-14 show.

    A larger issue is if these live action Marvel shows will be any good.  I haven’t seen anything about any of these to make me excited.  I doubt they can afford enough destruction to do a Hulk show proper justice.  The Punisher and the Jessica Jones shows seem like they’ll just be 2 more entries into the already crowded police procedural genre.

  • RunnerX13

    Policeman might be find, but a detective???

  • RunnerX13

    Sounds like the Cape.

  • Observer

    I think they’re afraid of portraying a military man as a psychopath. All soldiers are heroes in the eyes of the public these days. 

  • Charles Smith

    This is a bad idea. Along the lines of NBC Heros attempt to start with a concept that should have a loyal base audience and all they have to do is carefully broaden the appeal to capture enough non-geeks in the mainstream. It unfortunately is DOC (dead on concept). This almost a bad as if WB where to cast Akira with non-Asians…

  • Cuban Linx

    Are making TV shows of characters such as The Punisher and Hulk Marvel’s way of admitting they failed miserably to adapt those characters to film? Do not get me wrong I loved Edward Norton’s Incredible Hulk and Thomas Jane’s Punisher. The less talk about Ang Lee’s Hulk, Dolph Lungdren’s Punisher and Punisher War Zone the better.

  • Jake

    Had they adapted the series placed it on FX, and gave us a hardboiled crime story. Where it took 12 episodes or so for the Punisher to deal with a crime family, or a heavy like Barricuda or Jigsaw. Yet to call it the Punisher, have him moonlight as a antihero and serve justice. This almost sounds like a Chris Meloni vehicle. lol

  • Bobzemo

    This is just stupid.

  • Spencer Goldade

    Gah… I hope Fox just effs off.  Because the likelihood is that either we’ll all love the show and they’ll cancel it, or they’ll just make it into crap.  Go away, Fox, stick to one-sided reporting.

  • Chanciusmaximus

    No please, just buy the name and slap it on whatever you’d like! :/

    I was excited when I saw this news, but when I found out it was going to be nothing like The Punisher from the comics I was VERY disappointed.

  • cookepuss

    Yeah, but there’s a there’s mainstream geek and there’s hardcore geek. Spider-Man and Superman more mainstream. Punisher and Daredevil are more hardcore, existing on that fringe where only loyal fans might notice or care. Glee leans more toward the mainstream and plays on the sudden, inexplicable ressurgence of musicals.

    My original point being, FOX has a very hard time supporting sci-fi and other such genre television. The loyal fan base required to sustain the show doesn’t always fall in line with the high per-episode production costs. Just watch how quickly Terra Nova is going to take a nosedive. If Fox supports it past season 2 then I’d be surprised. Worse yet, they could do what they did to Fringe and cast it off to the Friday night death slot. 

    X-Files was an anomaly. Look at FOX’s track record when it comes to genre TV: 

    Sliders, Strange Luck, VR5, Brimstone, Lone Gunmen, Dark Angel, Firefly, John Doe, Wonderfalls, Millennium, Terminator, Dollhouse, Tru Calling, Alien Nation

    Not all bad shows. Some very, very good. All canceled with 3 or fewer seasons under their belt. Doesn’t bode too well for Punisher. Certainly doesn’t bode too well for Fringe’s future either.

  • nik

    They’re ripping off Blind Justice.  Lame.

  • kild

    I’ve been waiting for Meloni to be cast as the Punisher since OZ. I hate this current take, but I’d watch it if he was cast.

  • Anonymous

    Again, Fox misses the point with an adaptation.  Why do we expect anything else from them?

    One season.

  • Anonymous

    If it does take off, what are the odds Marvel will retcon the character in the comics to capitalise?

  • Anonymous

    It seems like Marvel seems to prefer the “Ultimate”-izing of their characters for movie/TV adaptation. “The Avengers” definitely looks more like “The Ultimates” than it does the standard Marvel book (of course, a black Nick Fury emphasizes that as well). 

  • Darrell Tucker

    Fox should just stick with what they’re good at, which is hacking into phones belonging to the families of dead soldiers and murdered girls. Oh wait, they weren’t very good at that…

  • Ireactions

    This is stupid. The whole point of the PUNISHER concept is that the Punisher works outside the establishment. He can’t be bothered with due process or pressing charges: he’s chosen to ignore such things in favour of shooting people who hurt others. The Punisher is the enraged voice of people who feel the system is no longer looking out for anything but itself. If he’s a police officer, then he is no longer outside the establishment: he becomes a part of the system.

    This shouldn’t be called THE PUNISHER. They should just give the show and character a different name and reserve the PUNISHER intellectual property for a format that could actually deliver the twisted bloodshed and absurd comedy of THE PUNISHER.

  • sobrien302

    Marvel continues to show no commitment to their properties.  I have such respect for Lucas in that no Star Wars stories get told that do not comply with the continuity he has established.  Mavel on the other had continues to slap any of their characters into any story that can turn them a dollar.

    Why is this character even called the “Punisher.”  Do Marvel/Fox believe that the few pulled in by the name will not just as quickly be turned off by it not being the REAL Punisher?  Will they wait until episode three before Wolverine makes a guest appearance?

  • Scarlet Jessica

    His a vigilante and he should stay that way!!! I hope they will adapt it better and I hope it would be available at online TV.

  • KhornePony

    the last movie was meh, however, the video game was pretty funny.

  • Antibigotxx2

    man. didn’t they already learn from the 2 crappy movies that the punisher sucks.

  • guest

    I thought that was called batman

  • website design

    An entertaining blog ,nice posting is here, i would say thanks for this nice post .

  • website design

    Nice information blog is presented that is so useful and helpful here, thanks for this interesting post

  • website design

    Nice posting with a great information share is here it is nice to read this post.

  • Fate Jacket X

    file this under “never happened.”