The superhero genre continues to take over the small screen, with multiple shows popping up left and right every TV season. But with so many options out there, how do you know which ones are worth your time? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best superhero TV shows ever created and see what makes them stand out from others. So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the greatest superhero TV shows of all time.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (2016-2022)
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is an incredible superhero TV series that ran for seven seasons on The CW. Based on the characters of DC Comics, it follows the adventures of a rag-tag team of superheroes from across time, who come together to battle interdimensional forces in order to protect the timeline and all humanity.
With its compelling storylines, thrilling action sequences, and heartfelt moments, it’s easy to see why this show has become so popular with viewers since its 2016 premiere. But it’s really the show’s distinct characters that make the show different from others. Each one brings their own unique personality and skillset to the table, creating chemistry between them that makes you root for them even more as they go on their epic journeys.
From Sara Lance/White Canary (Caity Lotz) to Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan), each character has a distinct story arc and growth throughout the show, making it difficult not to get emotionally attached as you watch them grow closer over the course of the seasons.
If you haven’t seen it already, we highly recommend giving this amazing series a try!
The Boys (2019-present)
Based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys follows the eponymous team of vigilantes as they combat superpowered individuals who abuse their abilities.
Unlike most superhero TV shows out there, The Boys offers a gritty look at the superhero world, exploring themes of corruption, power, and morality. It also features a stellar cast of actors, with Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, and Antony Starr leading the way. And with a bold and striking visual style, The Boys gives longtime superhero fans a fresh perspective on the genre.
In June 2022, The Boys was renewed for a fourth season.
A spinoff from the 2021 film The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker centers on the titular jingoistic killer played by John Cena. After recovering from the injuries, he suffered during the events of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker, a.k.a. Christopher Smith, is forced to join the mysterious A.R.G.U.S. black ops squad Project Butterfly, who are tasked to identify and eliminate parasitic butterfly-like creatures who have taken over human bodies around the world.
The first season of the series received critical acclaim, with reviewers praising the show’s goofy take on vigilantism as well as the cast’s performances and humor.
Peacemaker season 2 was ordered in February 2022, but it has been delayed since series creator James Gunn became the new co-CEO of DC Studios in October of that year.
Young Justice (2010-2022)
With its complex story arcs and dynamic characters, this animated TV series has captivated audiences since it first aired in 2010. Young Justice follows the lives of teenage superheroes and sidekicks, namely Nightwing, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis, as they attempt to balance their heroic duties with the everyday life of being teenagers.
The show’s superhero story explores themes such as family dynamics, loss, friendship, identity, and loyalty, among many others. Each hero has an interesting backstory that adds layers to the overall plotline. Moreover, the animation style is beautiful and captures the action scenes perfectly, while still allowing for character development and meaningful conversations between the characters.
Justice League (2001-2004)
A classic from early in the millennium, this show featured some of DC’s most iconic heroes. With its blend of action-packed battles and witty comedy, it was a hit among viewers who wanted to see their favorite superheroes team up against evil forces.
Justice League focused on seven main characters: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter, a.k.a. J’onn J’onzz. They were tasked by an intergalactic police force (the Guardians) to protect Earth from various threats while also struggling with their own personal issues.
The series had no shortage of thrilling fight scenes as well as moments that highlighted each character’s unique personality traits. In addition to being entertaining for fans of the comic book genre, Justice League also provided thoughtful commentary about morality, loyalty, justice, and friendship.
Moon Knight (2022)
Based on the Marvel Comics featuring the character of the same name, Moon Knight follows Marc Spector and Steven Grant (both played by Oscar Isaac), two alters of a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID), as they are drawn into a mystery involving Egyptian gods.
The miniseries received generally favorable reviews from critics who described it as “refreshingly weird”. Although the entertainment value of the show may wax and wane a bit, its dark tone and portrayal of DID were met with critical acclaim. The acting, particularly of Isaac and his co-stars May Calamawy and Ethan Hawke, was also praised by critics.
Smallville is a beloved superhero TV show that follows the coming-of-age story of a young Clark Kent (Tom Welling). With its incredible visuals and storylines, the show serves as the perfect introduction to Superman and his mythos.
The small-town charm of Smallville will make you feel like you are part of the action and will help you connect with Clark’s journey in surprising ways. The series takes place during Clark’s teenage years, after he discovers his powers but before he becomes Superman.
In the series, Clark battles inner demons as well as outer ones, guided by mentors such as Jonathan and Martha Kent, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, and Chloe Sullivan, among others. Each episode features several exciting plot points focused on developing the show’s characters while also showcasing fantastical adventures.
From meteor showers to alien invasions – Smallville has it all! All these elements combined made for one epic superhero TV show that will remain iconic forever.
Doom Patrol (2019-present)
This surreal and darkly comedic series follows a group of outcast superheroes as they work together to protect the world from danger.
The team consists of Robotman (a former racecar driver whose body has been replaced by an indestructible robotic one), Elasti-Woman (an actress whose body can shrink or expand at will), Negative Man (a test pilot who is constantly fighting off a nuclear energy beast living inside him) and Crazy Jane (a young woman with 64 distinct personalities).
The members of this ragtag bunch haven’t had it easy when it comes to life – but that’s what makes them so special. With their unique abilities, each member adds something valuable to the group dynamic, allowing them all to fight for justice in powerful ways.
Whether it’s taking down villains or helping those in need, these heroes are sure to give you plenty of thrills and laughs along the way!
Doom Patrol is ending after its ongoing fourth season.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones (2015-2019)
Marvel’s Jessica Jones was an absolute hit with superhero fans when it first aired in 2015. It follows the story of the titular character (Krysten Ritter), a former superhero-turned-private investigator who is struggling to cope with her traumatic past and mysterious powers. Jessica has been through a lot, but she manages to find strength within herself and use her gifts for good.
The critics generally found Jessica Jones to be a strong and compelling show. It currently holds an impressive 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics praising its dark and gritty tone, strong performances, and compelling story. Many also commended the show’s bold and timely approach to issues such as consent, abuse, and trauma.
Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
It’s hard to say what makes a great superhero show, but Batman: The Animated Series is widely regarded as one of the best.
Inspired by the Batman live-action films directed by Tim Burton, the TV show focuses on the titular character’s exploits and his crusade against injustice in modern-day Gotham City.
With its mature writing and its dark and moody art style that captured the essence of Gotham City, Batman: The Animated Series quickly became an instant classic. The show was also filled with memorable supporting characters, such as Commissioner Gordon and Harley Quinn, and even featured some villains from other DC Comics series like Mr. Freeze and Ra’s Al Ghul.
Aside from its tone and writing, the show also received critical acclaim for its thematic complexity, artistic presentation, voice acting, orchestrated soundtrack, and modernization of the title character’s source material/
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
Based on Marvel Comics featuring the characters Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after Sam was handed the mantle of Captain America in the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame. In the six-episode miniseries, Sam teams up with Bucky to stop anti-patriots who believe the world was better during the Blip.
Critics were generally positive about the TV series, praising its action sequences, the lead actors’ performances, and its exploration of the themes and characters introduced in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reviewers also commended how the show handled topical issues such as race and nationalism, while also providing an exciting and emotional story.
Marvel’s The Punisher (2017-2019)
Marvel’s The Punisher follows Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) as he navigates life after his family was killed by members of the criminal underworld. He decides to take justice into his own hands and goes on a mission to punish those responsible for their deaths. His journey takes him down dark roads with unexpected twists, making it an exciting ride throughout its two seasons.
Aside from Bernthal’s impressive performance as the title character, the TV also features top-notch acting from cast members like Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah, and Daniel Webber. It also has plenty of action sequences that are sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
But what really makes this series stand out is its exploration of important themes such as PTSD, guilt, loss, and redemption – all through Castle’s eyes. All in all, it’s a gripping show that will have you hooked until the very end!
Wonder Woman (1975-1979)
The 1970s saw the rise of one of television’s most iconic superheroes: Wonder Woman! A symbol of courage and strength, Lynda Carter took on the role and truly embodied it. She was a leader who could inspire all those around her to do good in the world while fighting bad guys in her signature costume complete with her stylish red boots and golden tiara.
With a powerful theme song and fan-favorite catchphrases, Wonder Woman quickly became popular among both young children and adults alike. For three seasons, viewers enjoyed watching Wonder Woman fight crime with her lasso of truth – teaching us all valuable lessons about standing up for what is right along the way.
The Flash (2014-2023)
The Flash follows the story of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), a crime scene investigator from Central City who was struck by lightning and gained superhuman speed as a result. He uses his newfound powers to protect his hometown and the people he loves from criminals, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities.
Critics have generally been very positive about The CW’s The Flash. The show currently holds an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with praise for its well-developed characters, compelling storylines, and impressive visual effects. It has also been praised for its lighthearted tone, making it an enjoyable watch for both comic book fans and casual viewers.
What’s more is that The Flash is one of the few superhero shows that have effectively pulled off the idea of alternate Earth, which introduces different versions of the show’s characters played by the same actors.
Marvel’s Luke Cage (2016-2018)
Marvel’s Luke Cage stars Mike Colter as the titular character with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin, who is trying to rebuild his life in modern-day Harlem after being framed for a crime. After clearing his name, Luke becomes a hero and celebrity, only to encounter a new threat that makes him confront the line between hero and villain.
The critics were mostly positive about Luke Cage. Most of them praised the show’s writing, performances, soundtrack, and representation of black culture. The show was also commended for its strong characters and its relevance to today’s social and political issues. The New York Times described it as a “groundbreaking” series that “succeeds where other Marvel shows have failed”, while Variety applauded its “thoughtful exploration of race, identity, and power.”
Big Hero 6 The Series (2017-2021)
A follow-up to the 2014 movie Big Hero 6, this animated series continues the adventures of 14-year-old tech genius Hiro Hamada and his compassionate, cutting-edge robot Baymax, created by his late brother Tadashi. Along with his friends Wasabi, Honey Lemon, Go Go, and Fred, they form the titular superhero team and embark on high-tech adventures as they protect their city from an array of scientifically enhanced villains.
Like the original film, the TV show is action-packed, funny, and heartwarming. Throughout its three-season run, the TV series revolves around the themes of friendship and loyalty, which viewers can relate to on many levels.
Each character has its own story arc, so viewers get to know them as individuals with unique personalities and motivations. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, Big Hero 6 The Series is an exciting watch that is sure to bring out the superhero inside you!
Supergirl follows the story of Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), an alien from Krypton who was sent to Earth as a child and grows up living among humans. With her super strength and the power of flight, she uses her abilities to protect National City from dangerous threats while learning more about herself and struggling with balancing out two lives – that of Supergirl and Kara Danvers.
The show is filled with action-packed fights between superheroes, aliens, and villains alike. It also touches on important topics such as feminism, immigration, gender identity, justice, and even climate change. Aside from the beloved titular superhero, supporting characters of the show are also likable and relatable, with viewers easily finding themselves connecting with them emotionally. Supergirl is definitely worth watching for anyone looking for a powerful yet entertaining show!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-2020)
Based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division), this live-action ABC series stars Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, reprising his role from the film series, alongside Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge. In the show, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents deal with various unusual cases and enemies, including Hydra, Inhumans, Life Model Decoys, and alien species such as the Kree and Chronicoms.
Throughout its seven-season run, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. earned praise for its strong characters and entertaining storylines. While some critics noted that the show can be a bit slow at times, most have commended the show for its willingness to take risks and its ability to tell stories that connect with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
Arrow tells the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), a billionaire playboy who was thought to be dead after being stranded on an island for five years. When he returns home, he discovers that Star City is plagued with crime and corruption, so he decides to make it his mission to cleanse his home city of its criminal element using only his skills as a bowman and martial artist.
Arrow was praised by critics and fans alike for its strong writing and attention to detail when it comes to staying true to the original material. The show was so successful that it birthed to a universe of interconnected spinoffs, including The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and Superman and Lois.
X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
X-Men: The Animated Series follows mutants, who have special powers and abilities, as they fight for justice and human acceptance in the world around them.
This series became a huge hit with fans of all ages thanks to its great storytelling, memorable characters, and exciting action scenes. While the cartoon may not seem very sophisticated by today’s standards, it still offers an entertaining introduction for young fans who want to dive deep into the world of X-Men.
The series currently holds a 100% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers praising the show’s amazing handling of social issues like divorce, Christianity, the Holocaust, and even AIDS hysteria.