For this week’s installment of Top 10 Tuesday, Will explores Superhero TV Shows.
Another short lived series that I enjoyed Blade: The Series brought the titular vampire killer from the big screen to television in a respectable effort that surprisingly focused just as much on the Vampires as Blade himself. Turning what seemed to be the major vampire baddie into a more sympathetic character than expected due to heavy focus on him and his struggles dealing with Vampire clan politics. The show only lasted a short thirteen episode season so it’s true potential was never realized.
Ok I know this show is terrible but wait because I’m only referring to the solid until the finale first season here that convinced viewers that this was a show with plenty of potential that was sadly squandered. The premise alone is intriguing, ordinary people discover that they have gained extraordinary abilities and nobody knows how or why. It begged viewers to ask, What would you do if you suddenly had superpowers? And watching these characters deal with this situation was exciting to say the least. Sadly the writers literally lost the plot and the later seasons were just utter nonsense but for a brief shining moment this was one of the most promising shows on TV.
8. The Incredible Hulk
Arguably Marvel’s most successful live action television effort to date, The Incredible Hulk told the story of David Banner (Yes not Bruce) as he dealt with just trying to live his life with a monster inside of him begging to get out. His efforts to keep that monster subdued were always thwarted every episode as someone was always there to cause trouble for David and inevitably unleash The Incredible Hulk portrayed by green painted bodybuilder Lou Ferigno. The series lasted five seasons on CBS and spawned three made for TV movies and is fondly remembered to this day.
7. Batman 1960’s
The classic Adam West Batman won hearts with it’s goofy charm back in the 1960’s. A classic children’s television show this was a decidedly a much lighter take on the Caped Crusader especially when compared to recent incarnations. The show was totally goofy and cheesy and it fully embraced the comic book form with comic style sound effects like POW! and WHAM! appearing on the screen every time there was a fight scene. It may not be a masterpiece but if you’re looking for a little mindless entertainment you can’t go wrong here.
6. The Tick
The Tick arrived on television screens with little fanfare in 2001. After having some success as a Saturday morning cartoon the Blue Bomber of Justice decided to try his hand at a live action series to no avail as it lasted merely nine episodes before it was mercilessly squashed by network executives at Fox. Undoubtedly though, The Tick is to be lauded for bringing comedy to the superhero genre on TV, something that was incredibly rare at the time. By casting talented voice actor and comedian Patrick Warburton and positioning it as a superhero sitcom Fox may have thought it had a winner on it’s hands but alas it was not meant to be. Maybe the show will have a chance at redemption when Amazon revives it next year.
While not quite as good as the Timm/Dini DC toons, X-Men still exploded onto our early nineties televisions with enough aplomb to make young kids diehard X-Men fans for life. The mature storytelling coupled with exciting characters and action had kids glued to their screens every week even if the animation quality was iffy at best. Also who could forget that iconic opening? So totally nineties yet so totally awesome at the same time.
4. Justice League: Unlimited
Justice League took the same approach as Batman: The Animated series and applied it to the greater DC Universe. The result is yet another great superhero show that stands out from among the others. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s talents are once again on full display here as they take on DC’s entire pantheon from A list big timers like Superman to D tier nobodies like The Question and each one regardless of popularity is treated with care and respect. Justice League Unlimited is a must watch for fans of DC comics.
Smallville is probably the most CW show on this list so it’s no surprise that it aired on the CW. Smallville was the high school teen soap opera of superhero shows. Set in the titular town of Smallville Kansas the show focused on a teenage Superman merely a superboy just dealing with the everyday struggles of youth whilst also having to deal with his burgeoning abilities and various supervillians suddenly coming out of the woodwork. To date Smallville is the most successful superhero show having lasted a total of ten seasons, longer than any other this writer knows of. What can you say? The CW really knows their audience.
2. Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Animated series is an all time classic, treasured by fans as one of the greatest Batman adaptations of all time and upon viewing it’s easy to see why. Batman: The Animated Series defied expectations of what a weekday afternoon kid’s cartoon should be. Not wholly concerned with pandering to young children, show runners Bruce Timm and Paul Dini instead strove to create a series fans of any age can thoroughly enjoy and they succeeded spectacularly. What made the show successful was that it was not afraid to embrace the darker aspects of the Batman mythos. Nobody held back simply because of being in a cartoon, the villains were as cruel and menacing as you’d expect and Batman was as brooding as you’d expect. That coupled with the world class story telling created one of the best genre shows in any medium
This CW superhero drama is a winner and an unexpected candidate for best show on TV. By taking a Batman Begins approach to C-list superhero Green Arrow, The CW has crafted one of the most exciting and compelling superhero dramas in decades. This is in no small part due to a strong focus on characters over plot and the incredible acting talent who brings these characters to life each week. If you haven’t see Arrow yet I heartily recommend that you do.
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