With Marvel's Daredevil set to premiere April 10 on Netflix with a TV MA rating, I began to consider what DC heroes could benefit from a similar rating. I disregarded any that are likely to be featured protagonists in the DC films. SO without further ado...
5. Cassandra Cain (Batgirl/Black Bat)
Cass Cain is one of DC's most underrated characters, and I don't just mean in skill. Batman's parents may have died, but Cass' father trained her to be the perfect assassin - through such kind methods as shooting her in the shoulder to train her reactions, and shooting her some more when she messed up. Despite the brutality, it was effective. When she was 8, her father made her complete her first assassination, after which she ran away.
Cass' abilities and story would shine with the mature rating. It would allow for depictions of her upbringing, first assassination, and transformation in to Batgirl in a way that would not be possible on TV or in a PG-13 film.
4. Jonah Hex
If any DC character is in need of a live action redemption, it's Jonah Hex. After his abysmal outing in the 2010 movie of the same name, the old western bounty hunter deserves another shot. Given that Daredevil, whose movie was similarly panned, has a series that is supposedly one of Marvel's best products yet, I believe a similar effect would happen with Hex.
Jonah brings a few unique factors to the table, most notably his setting in the old west. A western with a budget like DC's would provide some fantastic variety for the genre.
3. Deathstroke the Terminator
After making appearances throughout the first three seasons of the CW's Arrow, Slade Wilson was catapulted to popularity. Serving as the main villain of Season 2, his immense potential was shown - but by depicting him as full of rage, misguided, a bit insane, and a partial "desk villain," they missed some of the cold, calculating, brutal aspects that make him truly terrifying to his enemies.
Deathstroke is the best villain for a standalone series like this. Not only is he a strong character, he's one of the best martial artists in the DC Universe, and has immense potential for a story. Whether it is his origin story, one revolving around his children, or a good old fashioned assassination/conspiracy, Slade Wilson has too much potential to not get a mature series.
2. Red Hood (Jason Todd)
Very few DC characters bring brutal justice to the streets like Jason Todd. Though he originally came off as a slightly more villainous Punisher, Jason has grown beyond his roots as the second Robin to become a truly great character. Red Hood could work well on his own or with several other DC characters, particularly the Huntress, who shares a similar moral code.
A particularly interesting facet would be Todd's resurrection at the hands of Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins. This could offer one potential story arc, though personally, I would thoroughly enjoy seeing him take on the Court of Owls and their Talons.
1. The Watchmen
If there's a DC-published group that deserves a TV MA exploration, it's the Watchmen. The Watchmen are part of one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time. In 2012, DC published the 'Before Watchmen' series, which explored the roots of the individuals involved, which makes for a fantastic approach to telling their stories.
The main difficulty here is creator Alan Moore's well known disdain for the 'Before Watchmen' series. However, if he gave his blessing for the project, Watchmen has more potential for a mature show than any other heroes DC has to offer.