The 7 Best Modern Superhero Shows You Can Watch
It’s been a rough 18ish months. Even if you don’t look at the ongoings of the world, we hit a literal content crisis. Films were being pushed back; productions were on hold, Tik Tok grew in popularity. It was a dark time to try to occupy yourself with all of this sudden free time. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel now, though, as movie theatres have release dates again, shows are getting back on the air, new shows have upcoming dates, and Tik Tok – well, Tik Tok is still a dark specter in all of our lives. The only thing that can combat it is superb superheroes in TV format.
As Emmy nominations have shown much love to our favorite superheroes, as well as Loki just finishing up an incredible season, we’ve reached a key point in superhero supersaturation. We’ve gotten money, clout, and incredible creatives to bring comic books to the small screen with the same aplomb they’ve been brought to the big screen!
So, I know we may not have as much free time as we did a few months ago, but here are 7 of the best superhero TV shows you can stream right now.
I kept my choices to the new slew of shows from the past few years as the modern era of comic book adaptations have taken over pop culture. If I had gone all the way back, this would have been a substantially longer list. Also, don’t expect to find Watchmen on here. I won’t even acknowledge it.
7. Umbrella Academy
Based on the book from music icon Gerard Way, Umbrella Academy brought the weird and strange comic book to life in a hilarious, absurd, and downright strange fashion. Having been brought together as children, the super-powered brothers and sisters have long been estranged until the death of their ‘father’ brings them back together, and they start down the winding, time-traveling, and apocalyptically important journey.
With emotional character arcs, some solid action sequences, and an often touching story of familial bonds, Academy doesn’t suffer because of its insane and quirky approach to storytelling but benefits tremendously from it. While we watch the estranged family come back together as several of them understand the true scope of their powers, we’re also treated to acid-induced hilarity, unlikely love stories, and some of the most unique characters on TV right now.
You can find this streaming two seasons over on Netflix as an original program.
Before Disney + took the streaming world by storm, they had entered into a partnership with Netflix to bring The Defenders to the small screen. While it didn’t go off exactly as planned (Iron Fist is unwatchable), one of the good things that came out was Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock – a blind lawyer by day, avenging Devil by night.
Most of the success of this show can rest directly on the shoulders of Cox himself. His portrayal of Murdock and his rise to Hell’s Kitchen’s defender allowed Cox to showcase his acting chops with a true dual-acting role. The affable and charming Murdock took cases and won the hearts of friends and foes alike, while Daredevil came out at night to hammer justice into the criminal underworld and his arch-rival, Wilson Fisk. There’s a real ‘who is the real Matt Murdock’ dichotomy at work here as he leans more and more into his superhero persona, truly becoming the Red Devil as the show wore on.
The supporting cast helped out quite a lot as well. Debra Ann Woll, Elden Henson, and the ever wonderful Vincent D’Onofrio helped fill out the cast to bring Murdoch’s trials and tribulations to life. The ‘will they won’t they’re with Karen as she becomes a world-class journalist. The best friend in Foggy who can’t stand who Matt becomes. And the indomitable battle between Daredevil and Kingpin that raged across the city and even invited an unexpected spin-off with The Punisher.
It also may have helped that this show had some of the best fight choreography out there. Who doesn’t immediately think of that INSANE stairway/hallway fight from season one the second this show is brought up?
The Netflix/Disney experiment was relatively short-lived and didn’t really pan out the way anyone intended. However, Daredevil was so good and so well received, Charlie Cox will officially crossover into the MCU later this year, and there’s even talk of D’Onofrio reprising his Kingpin as well. Crossing over from a dead universe, a la Miles Morales is a sure sign you’ve done something right.
Check all three seasons out (obviously) on Netflix!
When it comes to making a superhero comic/show that isn’t Marvel or DC, it tends to end up being a ‘unique take’ on what we already know. And, for some reason, it always seems to be the Justice League. Maybe it’s just the archetypes that JL embodies that make it easier to translate, but it always seems to be them, whatever the reason.
Enter Invincible. A series that’s based on the Justice League and almost IMMEDIATELY takes its own way with it. Things are not as they seem, and Invincible needs to learn how to grow into his powers quickly.
The simple joy of Invincible is twofold. First, it’s a coming-of-age story as a young man learns to live with his superpowers, his secret identity, and the world as he knows it is coming undone. Second, it’s so incredibly violent. Nothing else on this list comes even close. There’s another Prime-exclusive that tries (read more about that later), but no. Invincible uses its animated license to really go over the top with the violence to the point of making you wince. The level of violence isn’t just because it’s gratuitous, though, but because they really showcase what superhumans would actually do to each other in brutal, brutal fashion.
Throw in some truly great characters, awesome voice acting/cameos, some wild twists and turns, and an excellent season-ending setup for the next batch of episodes, and Invincible is definitely a must-watch!
Check out season one on Amazon Prime.
Within the ever-evolving world of comics, people die, are resurrected, have multi-verse versions of themselves replace each other, or have an abundance of clones running rampant. So, there are very few times that comic book characters experience true loss, barring a few. In the pages of Marvel and on the screen in the MCU, Wanda Maximoff has experienced loss on a scale I don’t think any other Marvel hero can even touch.
After the fallout from Infinity War/Endgame, we find Wanda and the Vision in a sitcom reality where their lives are playing out happily… as long as reality doesn’t seep in. What is real, who is at the epicenter, and can Wanda save her family becomes the show’s crux while Wanda’s true status finally becomes canon in the MCU.
While the show inevitably ends in the Marvel staple ‘final showdown’, the show hinges on dealing with loss, pain, and being able to move on. While the sitcom tropes and the unwinding of the created world become clearer as storytelling devices and fewer pop culture nods, the absolute heart-wrenching truths come to light. The last portions of the show are heartbreaking. Wanda’s pain becomes palpable, even as her greater role in the MCU becomes more defined, cementing her as one of the most important characters in the Marvel Universe.
Yes, we all dissected this show WAY too much. Still, as it carefully and faithfully recreates TV’s best shows to play into its own character themes, WandaVision sets itself aside as an emotional, fun, quirky, and amazing journey. But seriously, it was definitely Mephisto, right?
Check this one out on Disney +.
Continue on over to page 2 for the conclusion of our list!