Other Great Superhero TV Shows
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the most recent in a long line of fanboy programming. I'm inspired to look at a few more original shows comic fans should check out. Read on for more..
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuts tonight on ABC, and I’d like to take a quick moment to be a little reflective. This is a pretty big moment for superhero fiction. Comic Book Movies are in a golden era right now, but aside from Blade: The TV Series, this will mark the most notable spin-off to come from a CBM. (No, I’m not counting Mutant X)
We’ve come a long way. The Adventures of Superman kicked off a history of adaptations (From Lois and Clark to Smallville, Superman has had the most) and usually, superhero TV is reserved for the biggest names. Even The Flash got his own show! But that doesn’t mean lesser-knowns like The Tick or Witchblade can’t get a shot too.
If popular, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could mark a renaissance for heroes on TV again. To be fair, some credit should go to Arrow for being so successful and reigniting audience interest. Vigilante shows are even trickier than the ones that feature superpowers. Just ask Birds of Prey or The Cape. When these shows fall, they fall hard.
Instead of listing the best Superhero TV shows ever, and going over all the usual suspects (Batman ’66, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman), I thought I’d take this time to suggest that fans check out these 4 shows- the best of the more original superhero programs, which despite the Marvel attachment, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to be.
No Ordinary Family
I’ll start with ABC’s last foray into super powered adventures. This was a charming show that was refreshing in that it didn’t take itself as seriously as others in the genre tend to do. Michael Chiklis started as the head of a household that were all mysteriously bestowed with extraordinary abilities. He gets super-strength, Wife Julie Benz is a speedster, and the son and daughter get super intelligence and mind-reading respectively. If you enjoy stories like Fantastic Four or The Incredibles, this is a fun, serialized version of those.
Alphas will probably be the most like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What was neat about this SyFy series was their focus on being relatively grounded with the powers we see. Leading the show was David Stratharin as a doctor who studies human beings he dubs “alphas”, people with abilities that they even try to explain by science. The whole cast is great, but autistic Gary is the highlight, and one of the most unique characters you’ve ever come across. Think of it as a more detective-ish version of X-Men.
British import, Misfits is NOT for the faint of heart. If you’ve always wanted something a little edgier, and a little raunchier, this one’s for you. This series follows a band of delinquents who accidentally get zapped in a storm (classic comic book fashion) and find themselves with new powers they either love or hate. You will find a ton of creativity here when it comes to abilities, and another refreshing approach in that these guys never really become superheroes. They do what anyone young people do- abuse the sh!t out of their gifts in their day to day lives!
Don’t’ boo! *dodges the tomatoes* Yea, so I have to talk about Heroes. At the very least, season 1, which was a bonafide phenomenon. This was a dark series that was as intriguing as anything on TV produced in ages. Random people from around the world suddenly finding out they have unique gifts. (The cheerleader suicide marketing was genius, btw) At least for one year we followed the discoveries of mind-reading cops, and time-bending office workers, and a shadowy serial killer who’s answer may lie in a drug addict’s artwork. Yes, the show’s quality declined over the years, but there will always be NBC's initial season, that had everyone everywhere buzzing.
What are some of your favorite superhero/Comic Book TV? Should I have counted The Green Hornet or Human Target? Sound off!
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