By Jeremy Pewter
Over the past five years or so, the entertainment industry has seen an explosion of DC and Marvel Comic television shows. The rise of comic book shows isn’t exactly surprising, especially considering the success of superhero big-budget blockbusters, such as The Avengers and Suicide Squad.
Many of these shows have become just as successful as their big-budget counterparts, with several gaining critical acclaim and picking up a few awards along the way. But what are the best comic book shows on TV right now? Our list looks at ten different small-screen sensations to give you a rundown of the best choices for your next binge-watching session.
1. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
This show is the spin-off of Nick Fury’s shady spy agency from the hugely popular Avengers movies. Created by none other than Joss Whedon, this show was one of the first of the new breed of Marvel and DC shows. Featuring appearances from some of the cast of the movie, most notably Samuel L. Jackson, as well as some high-quality effects and stunts, it’s easy to see why Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been a huge success in its own right.
2. The Flash.
Prior to getting his own show, The Flash first appeared on television in DC’s Arrow. It’s no surprise the Flash got his own spinoff, especially considering how popular The Flash comics are. The success of The Flash benefits from having a lighter tone than some of the other offerings on this list, which gives the show extra charm and makes it more accessible to a wider audience. But there are still plenty of insider references from the comic books in the show, as well as plenty of fantasy violence.
Much less family-friendly than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or The Flash is Netflix’s Daredevil. It’s gritty and violent, and it will satisfy anybody who didn’t enjoy Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the blind crime-fighting lawyer. Featuring some familiar and well-liked comic book anti-heroes—such as Kingpin and The Punisher—in their best on-screen incarnations, Daredevil will excite any fans of the comic who felt let down by the portrayal of its characters on the big screen.
4. Ultimate Spider-Man
What would a list of the best comic book TV shows be without some cartoons? The recently finished Ultimate Spider-Man has been one of the best-animated adaptations of a comic book to come out recently. The show will have people of all ages laughing at some point, thanks to performances by Drake and Josh’s Drake Bell as a very sarcastic Peter Parker. Donald Glover, best known for his role as Troy in Community, will also feature in the new film reboot. If you’re looking for a light-hearted comic book show with some adult undertones, look no further than Ultimate Spider-Man.
5. The Walking Dead
This one’s a little different—and highly recognizable—from all the DC and Marvel shows on our list. The Walking Dead has become so popular that some may not even realize it was originally a comic book by Image Comics. The Walking Dead consistently has one of the highest audiences on TV, and millions of viewers can’t be wrong. Certainly not one for the kids, this show is much more horror than fantasy. It continues to thrill throughout the seasons and will have you screaming at the screen and hiding behind the sofa on more than a few occasions.
6. Jessica Jones
One of Marvel’s darkest TV offerings is Netflix’s Jessica Jones. This show is about a woman who goes on to open her own detective agency when her career as a superhero is cut short. Dealing with dark, real-world issues such as rape and post-traumatic stress disorder, Jessica Jones is starkly different from even the likes of Daredevil. If you prefer a more somber, meaningful tone to your TV shows, Jessica Jones is the perfect addition to your to-watch list.
We’ve already seen one of Arrow’s spin-offs, The Flash, so it would be wrong not to include the actual show on our list. Based on DC’s Green Arrow, Arrow first appeared in the long-running Superman spinoff,
Smallville. Arrow’s cameo in Smallville sparked interest in a separate TV show for the character. The production values on this show may not be as high as some of the other shows on this list, partly because it started earlier. Despite that, it still shines, thanks to strong plot lines and quality acting. The show has also spawned a second spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, which was recently released and features some of DC’s lesser-known superheroes.
8. Luke Cage
Netflix’s deal with Marvel has produced some great television, and Luke Cage is yet another great example. Luke Cage, also known as Power Man, may not be the best-known superhero, but this story of an ex-convict with superhuman strength and endurance is sure to appeal to a lot of people. Having first appeared in Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is the first comic book show to feature a black person as the protagonist and titular character. Like many of the original series on Netflix, Luke Cage is adult and violent—perfect for those looking for a more mature comic book show.
The hugely popular Gotham, based in Batman’s hometown, reveals the origin stories of some of Gotham’s most famous characters, including The Penguin, The Riddler, and Poison Ivy. The show focuses on a young James Gordon, who any Batman fan will know well, and is much more of a crime-drama than some of the more straightforward superhero shows on our list. This show succeeds in giving some more depth to the Batman universe on the small screen.
Another from the creator of The Flash and Arrow, Supergirl will be familiar to any comic book fan as the cousin of Superman. Well-received by critics and featuring some great casting in the lead roles, Supergirl is much more of your usual CGI superhero affair. With familiar characters such as Jimmy Olsen, this show will satisfy any fan of Superman.
In the past few years, Hollywood has seen an influx of comic book TV shows, thanks to the immense popularity of modern superhero movies. Many of these shows have done just as well as their big-screen counterparts. It’s certainly refreshing to see more obscure characters, like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, snag their own spinoffs. (As much as we love Batman and Superman, it’s not exactly a stretch to say they’ve been overdone.) Comic book fanatics are sure to be satisfied with any of the picks on our list.
This article was written by Jeremy Pewter from Stylin' Online. Check out his next article: Exploring the Golden and Silver Age of American comic books!