Arts & Culture, Opinion

13th February 2024

Ranking Superhero TV Shows I Have Watched As The Excitement For Superhero Media Dies

As superhero fatigue in movies persists and the DCEU ends this month with the disenchanting release of Aquaman & the Lost Kingdom, I thought I would rank the superhero shows that I have watched because some of them are greatly underrated and I have practically singlehandedly championed the superhero prominence.

21. The Falcon & The Winter Soldier.

The dynamic between Bucky and Sam is fun. I love Zemo as a character. But I really did not like it. The villain was the most cliched trope of ‘I am a good person with good ideas but I’m going about in the wrong way’. It was shockingly awful how they shoehorned her killing people to make this point come across. The social commentary didn’t really mean anything to me like why are you trying to convince me equality is when a black man can also be the face of American imperialism? Isiah literally said no self-respecting black man would ever don the suit and explained why!!! Also, I despise the white suit.

20. Moon Knight.

19. Ms Marvel.

I thought it started out really promising (as most of the MCU shows do) but I can’t get over how bad and uninteresting the villains were.

18. Hawkeye.

Fine. Loved Hailee Steinfeld & Florence Pugh together. I have Marvel fatigue at this point.

17. Black Lightning.

A good first season – I thought it was solid commentary honestly. Tobias Church as a villain had very funny albeit wild dialogue. I stopped watching after the second but I’ve gathered it declined greatly.

16. The Gifted.

I don’t necessarily think it’s that good of a show but I do think it’s enjoyable. I am probably biased because I love the X – men so I think it’s interesting to explore the different mutants and powers that weren’t explored in the movies.

15. Loki.

I’m just very indifferent. I don’t love it or hate it. It was there. I also think Loki became a shell of his former self. And the ’selfcest’ discourse did shave a few years off my life. (Not watched season 2).

14. Gen V.

It does hold on its own but I think it suffers from watching it as a spin-off because I realised I’d rather be watching its predecessor. There were very inventive powers and interesting parent-child dynamics which felt appropriate for the university setting. All of our main characters were interesting except for Andre and all of the ships had chemistry except his and Cate (and it’s no fault to Cate). It does keep you on your toes as expected in this universe.

13. Supergirl.

Some storylines are very hit or miss. I like Alex finding and accepting her sexuality at a somewhat later age and exploring immigration through literal aliens. I think it’s an easy target to dislike because it gets so much flack for being probably the most overtly political cw show. Although, I do think it’s on brand for a show about Superman’s cousin. Kara & Clark are both kindhearted, accepting people so of course they’d wholeheartedly champion these left-wing stances. The show definitely loses its charm when you see characters like Cat and Winn leave. Even Mon-El. Kara and him are a highlight for me (even more so because the actors are together in real life).

12. Agent Carter.

Fun backdrop of being a female hero in the 40s. I prefer this Peggy to the ‘Agent Britain’ – it shows her strength in a different way dealing with the rampant misogyny before creating SHIELD. Good old fashioned sexism is always fun when she uses the patriarchy to get her own way. Jarvis, Sousa & Howard Stark are all fun side characters too.

11. Legends of Tomorrow.

Because it knows it is campy and leans into it.

10. Stargirl.

It started off so strong in season 1 with intriguing villains and the mystery element and I do think season 2 wasn’t as good but overall it’s still a fun, well-made superhero show that benefits very much from having a small number of episodes and seasons.

9. The Umbrella Academy.

LOVE season 1 & 2; hated season 3.

8. Daredevil

7. Cloak & Dagger.

Season 1 is really excellent – it’s SO underrated!! Season 2 definitely wasn’t as good (the villain wasn’t as nearly compelling) but I don’t care if it cancels out!! It was gritty, dealt with real issues well and I think it was so much more appropriate to swap their backgrounds from their comic counterparts – it makes Tandy and Tyrone’s dynamic much more interesting. Both could hold their own and whenever they came together it just felt so powerful. Love that they were kinda each other’s antithesis.

6. The Flash (S1 – S3)

I am so biased. Watching Grant Gustin get a pep talk to run every episode changed my life sorry.

5. The Boys.

So refreshing. Funny & self-aware & dark & tense. Antony Starr is amazing.

4. Arrow.

It definitely has its ups and downs (I do think the downs are greatly exaggerated) but it is obviously the most consistently good recent superhero show on the CW. So many of the villains are a big standout which is a difficult feat I think – Oliver going up against his Australian frenemy with 1 eye like that’s cinema to me. I feel like we truly see the growth of Oliver as a person, from start to end, he becomes a different man. Original Team Arrow compliments him so well.

Also, yes Felicity gets more whiny and contradictory when she’s with Oliver but that’s kinda justified and I staunchly believe she is the best love interest he could have!! I do understand that the flashbacks get less interesting as the seasons go on – they hit their peak in S3 I feel. I think shows with flashbacks just suffer from this in general, they have this structural obligation but sometimes the story has been told for all it can and we need room for the imagination.

3. Wandavision.

Collectively theorising online every week was so much fun. This took hold – I had to buy and read old Wanda & Vision comics just to recuperate. The humour, the mystery, the incorporation of different decades, the fashion and set design I had so much fun until it got too superheroey….I was not a fan of the last episode. But so much effort and detail and care went into making this series and it hasn’t really been replicated since and it really shows.

2. Agents of Shield.

Love a good half-season story arc that the show maintains after s1 because it keeps everything really interesting and new. Really great characters & storylines and so SO subtly funny. Fitzsimmons!!!

1. Smallville.

A perfect encapsulation of 2000s fun because superheroes nowadays will never dress in gaudy colours to reference their comic book counterparts. Just so many great dynamics (as should be expected with the Superman character anyway). I want Clark Kent to always be a boy with the biggest heart. 10 seasons could easily get very repetitive and it does occasionally but it still maintains its fun. It makes me miss filler episodes. One of my favourite things from the show are the Clark and Lex standoffs where they both pretend like they’re not blatantly lying to the other’s face they’ve done it over 50 times and you think I’d be sick of it but I’m not I love it so much.

I understand the villains aren’t the best (except Lex) especially the big bads – I can acknowledge I do watch it more for the characters and their development. Also, Clark not telling his secret to people he loves that he knows he can trust is very much dragged out and at first it does seem like Clark is only with Lois because he physically cannot be with Lana – I wish their breakup was more of a decision. But Clois is one of the great ships. Erica & Tom just have so much fun and bring so much life to it. They truly complete each other as characters. It’s amazing.

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