Madeline Gearheart | June 20, 2018
7 Super Series Based on DC Comics
Superheroes have been swooping across theater screens since Wonder Woman hit last year, and it doesn’t look like the trend is stopping anytime soon. There’s a whole lineup of Marvel and DC Comics-based films to look forward to (including Wonder Woman 2 in 2019), and the small screen is jam-packed with series that will appeal to comic book fans too.
We decided to feature just the DC Comics TV offerings here (sorry, Marvel—maybe next time), and these seven shows promise to deliver on the action. Note that many of these series are midway through or finished with their current air dates, so check your local listings for re-run dates and times before the new seasons premiere.
Playboy Oliver Queen goes missing after a shipwreck, only to resurface as a man on a mission to fight injustice in his home city. A Variety review of the TV series’ debut in 2012 described the titular character as “a brooding billionaire vigilante with a bad attitude, lawyer girlfriend, and dazzling set of toys.” That should cover all the bases for foiling evil plots.
Arrow airs on The CW, Thursdays at 9 ET/8 CT.
The Flash comes from the same creative team that produced Arrow. Police scientist Barry Allen transforms into the fastest man alive after being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm that occurred while the city just happened to be irradiated by a particle accelerator malfunction.
Like other heroes in the comic book world, he uses his powers to fight crime while hiding his identity behind his trademark red and yellow costume.
This show airs on The CW, Tuesdays at 8 ET/7 CT.
One of the few female superhero-led action-adventure shows, Supergirl focuses on the cousin of the more famous Superman. Supergirl has her own set of superhuman abilities that lead to being recruited into a secret agency tasked with protecting the residents of National City.
Entertainment writer Caroline Siede says Supergirl has “spent the past three years quietly delivering some of the best live-action female-centric superhero storytelling out there.”
This action show airs on The CW, Mondays at 8 ET/7 CT.
Gotham is an origin story of some of DC’s best-known characters, including Batman, The Riddler, and The Joker. The main character here is Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon who solved the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents when he was a beat cop. The series charts his struggles in a city rife with criminals of the natural and supernatural variety.
Creator, writer, and executive producer Bruno Heller explains that Gotham is about “how . . . you deal with crime of this level when there are no superheroes, when there’s just ordinary, mortal men and women trying to solve these issues . . . It’s about men and women, not about superheroes, and to me that’s the more interesting story.”
Gotham airs on Fox, Thursdays at 8 ET/7 CT.
Online publication Consequence of Sound called Black Lightning “one to watch this year” for its inclusion of modern issues of police brutality and race relations within the story of a retired superhero named Jefferson Pierce. Pierce is forced out of his role as a school principal and back into the role of avenger when gang violence hits too close to home.
Series star Cress Williams described it as “a family drama, rooted in real life, with super powers on top of it.” What else can you ask for?
This stirring series airs on The CW, Tuesdays at 9 ET/7 CT.
Krypton is a prequel to Superman that takes place decades before the planet’s actual destruction. However, something is already threatening Krypton, and archaeologist-turned-superhero Adam Strange must keep the planet safe long enough for Superman to be born.
Although Deadline Hollywood writer Dino-Ray Ramos says Krypton is a bold new spin on the Superman story, he cautions that the series will probably appeal most to those who “want to dig deep into the Superman mythology rather than those who just want some Superman fun.”
Krypton airs on Syfy, Thursdays at 11 ET/9 CT.
A teen drama based on the Archie comic book (Archie Comics works with DC Comics on some projects), Riverdale spins the goofy series in a new direction. Instead of a world filled with high-school crushes and dramas, the town is coping with a murder, and the all-American cast has been replaced with millennials that include mean girls, loners, and sexual predators.
Riverdale airs on The CW, Wednesdays at 8 ET/7 CT.
Don’t see your favorite series represented? Never fear. Comic book TV shows are so popular that there are bound to be more spin-offs and retellings in the months and years to come.