Superheroes are all the rage today. With both the DCEU and MCU off and running, quite a few box-office hits under the belt and sprawling, star-studded ensembles on the way, the genre is raking in the billions. But as the Justice League and Avengers prepare to take the theatre near you by storm, don’t forget the renaissance of superhero shows currently happening on your TV. While the cinema history of the superhero genre has a lot of classics to looks back to, superhero TV shows had rare hits and a lot of misses till they truly came of age in the 90s, when DC’s ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ and Marvel’s ‘X-Men’ kept kids glued to their idiot boxes. Naturally, you’ll find only two pre-1990 shows in here.
While the stream of legendary animated superhero shows continued well into the early 2000s with shows like ‘Justice League’, this decade has seen a meteoric rise of live-action TV adaptations of the lives of some of our most beloved superheroes. And unlike the shows of yore, they enjoy high production values, peddle much more mature content and for the most part, are parts of an extended universe like their movies. The CW’s Arrowverse has 5 shows under its belt, which frequently intersperse with each other, while Marvel and Netflix have formed a formidable alliance to launch four shows leading up to an ensemble ‘The Defenders’ which released on 18th August to sterling reviews. Although no current show is yet quite as superlative as the animated adventures of the decades gone by, the golden age of TV has been kind to superheroes.
But out of the glut of great superhero shows available (especially, Netflix superhero shows), which ones are the worthiest of your attention? I’ll tell you. Here is the list of best superhero TV shows since the dawn of time. The list includes superhero shows for kids.
13. Preacher (2016-Present)
Plot Summary: Jesse, a Texan priest with a sordid past and a drinking problem suddenly becomes ‘The Preacher’ when he is inhabited by Genesis, an entity which makes his word the word of god. He enlists the help of a vampire to find god.
This grotesquely violent and darkly humourous show is unlike anything known to the superhero genre, on TV or the silver screen. The highlights which set ‘Preacher’ apart from the run-of-the-mill swill are the pulp elements and run-down western feel of everything, which are otherwise alien to the superhero genre. It is reverent to the brooding, yet funny tone of its source material and despite tweaking a lot of things from the DC Comics, passes as a faithful adaptation to boot. As is with so many iconic cinematic adaptations of superheroes, perfect casting of the lead elevates the show considerably. A rugged Dominic Cooper as the titular preacher battles his own demons along with everything else, giving a nuanced, restrained yet charismatic act. Currently in its sophomore season, the show has hit its stride well, continuing the gory insanity while sharpening the storytelling. Not your usual cup of superhero tea; a swig of alternative comic whiskey instead.
Read More: Best TV Shows of the 50s