So Preacher just came out, and many comic book fans are shocked. We never expected to see a comic like that making it to the big screen, especially after the sheer amount of movie rumors that never came to fruition. The first couple of episodes were good and many people are very excited about the first season on AMC.
It’s not shocking that someone green-lit a new comic book show, they have been some of the most successful movies for over a decade. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced hit after hit, and even terrible DC movies can make close to a billion dollars. Those are only the movies; comic books have been taking over TV as well.
The Arrowverse is rivaled only by the MCU for best expanded universe, and there have been TV hits that span over years based on comic characters (think Smallville). Aside from Preacher, there are a ton of comic book shows currently airing, and here they are ranked.
11 Legends of Tomorrow
Before we get into what’s wrong, let’s look at what’s right. They took some great twists and turns through the story and even were brave enough to kill off fan favorite characters to keep people on their toes - Game of Thrones style. The cliffhanger ending was a great idea, and getting rid of Kendra solves major problems including the horribly forced relationship between her and Ray. Now for what didn’t work; we already touched on the Kendra-Ray romance, but holy crap, it was a terrible plot arc. There was little to no chemistry between the two, the concept of them dating came out of nowhere, and their whole relationship happened off screen. Theirs wasn’t the only bad relationship though; Kendra and Sarah’s friendship was random, Jackson and Stein’s arguing got redundant, and the crew’s allegiance to Rip was unexplained. Then there was Vandal Savage’s character who was just a weird impression of Hans Landa, when it could have been so much more. However, probably the most problematic part of the show was the convenient fixes to every problem. Oh, we need to dissolve bombs? Well, Firestorm can do that now. Oh, there’s a giant monster? Well, Ray can grow really big. Sarah is back with Ra’s al-Ghul? Don’t worry Kendra can un-brainwash her. Cutting the cast in half may help to better the show in the long run, but will it be able to get past season two?
Lucifer really has an uphill battle to climb. Unlike most of other comic book show, this one doesn’t already have a large built in fan base. The CW shows have the whole collective universe, as do the Marvel shows, but Lucifer does not. Overall, the show has been up and down, but good enough to deserve a second season. However, for the most part, it really just feels like any other crime procedural that has come before it. For season two, Lucifer can really do some cool things. It can bring in more characters from Sandman (maybe even Dream) or other DC characters like Spectre, but as it stands now fans are tired of watching the Lord of Hell’s antics without any other characters even touching his level of interest. All the good reviews of the show centre around Tom Ellis, and that’s about it. The show needs more character before it turns into Constantine. The two show had similar fans, similar reviews, and people seemed to only like the main character. Constantine is gone, unless he keeps showing up on Arrow (please?), and Lucifer may be heading that way.
9 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
What is there to say about Joss Whedon’s hit show? It has got great characters and the idea was solid when it first came out, but now the show has started to drift and lose much of the appeal that it once had. They seem desperate to keep the influx of characters going, even if that means that they will sacrifice what is working on the show. Bobbi and Hunter’s exit from the show was forced and didn’t fix the parts that were not working. The two were initially going to star in their own show, which would have been fine, but it got cancelled before it ever aired, and now fans will be missing two of the best characters from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for absolutely no reason. Even after the poor showing in season three, we expect the show to get better moving forward. Hunter and Bobbi will inevitably return after that embarrassing situation, which should help, but best of all the writers no longer have the annoying crutch of Grant Ward. Ward was a pretty good villain to introduce the show with, but as early as season two he had worn out his welcome. His appearance in every episode was just an obnoxious red herring as we were more intrigued by Coulson drawing on walls and the killer piece of metal that jumping around. Then, the whole Inhuman plot started and characters like Ward became irrelevant. By season three, it was an absolute joke that they felt a need to keep him around. He’s now gone, as is Hydra (possibly) so maybe we might see something interesting for season four.
The show has a lot of promise and won awards like “Favorite New TV Drama” at the People’s Choice Awards (whatever you want to make of that). However it does belong on the CW along with Arrow, and The Flash. Someone at the CW is a genius and sees the potential that putting the three together has. Supergirl needs to belong in the Arrowverse to truly succeed. It’s the best "Superman" story being paired with the superior current "Batman" story (apologies to Batfleck) and a great rendition of the Flash. The studio has the makings of a truly amazing season in two years when they will be able to have multiple crossovers and the beginning of the Justice Society. Also, it's about time they add a woman hero to the mix, especially after they sadly killed off Laurel - and it looks like Jesse Quick may be back on Earth-2. Supergirl opened to some great ratings, but CBS couldn’t deal with the fact that superheroes (even pretty women dressed as Superman) don’t have the mass appeal that shows like The Big Bang Theory and NCIS have. Producers had to take notice when Flash crossed over for one episode and the ratings jumped by over a million viewers. Supergirl has all the makings of a good show; great characters, a never-ending farm of source material, and a stellar cast highlighted by the charming Melissa Benoist. Fans of Superman will continue to flock to the show as we finally have a good Superman story to watch for the first time since The Justice League.
Gotham has been a very up-and-down show. Plenty is working right for Gotham and they did correct a lot of what was wrong with season one. However, when a TV show hinges heavily on a few child actors, it often suffers. Gotham fell into this hole, as both Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne have become pivotal figures to tell the story. That’s not a knock on David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova who have actually done a pretty good job with the characters, but more of a knock on the show runners. Gotham was meant to give the stories of Gotham City that are not Batman, yet there are entire episodes arcs dedicated to him. Season 1 was really bad about it, as fans didn’t really get a feel for how rough the mob war was, when the plot was cut between scenes of a pre-teen romance and Bruce Wayne learning the art of boxing. There really isn’t a place for those stories in the show, as it seemed to advertise itself as a show about the villains that were formed by the City of Gotham. Many Batman fans were upset about the handling of said villains in the first season, for example Zsasz and Penguin’s comic origins were not even close to the ones from the show. Things got better in season two as we got an awesome arc for The Riddler, and Hugo Strange was the perfect villain to incorporate.
It’s not exactly the high-action packed superhero show that you expect when you think comic book show, but that’s not to say iZombie isn’t good. The show gives a good name to paranormal detective shows. It’s mostly following Liv Moore (get it?) as she helps the Seattle PD solve homicide cases. Oh, and she’s a zombie who retains the memories from the brains she eats. Instead of having the mindless decaying murder freaks from the depths of hell, in this show the zombies are just people… only dead people. The show is very reminiscent of Angel and the rest of the Buffy-verse.
Arrow started a whole universe that other shows are begging to emulate. This Arrowverse encompasses The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Constantine, and has the potential to grow more with Vixen or even an unlikely crossover with Gotham. The first two seasons were really good, but it has seemingly hit a wall since then. It follows too much of the Batman arc (including Ra’s al-Ghul trying to make Oliver the head of the League of Assassins) and a large chunk of the characters are now over-the-top and annoying. Thea’s rendition of Speedy is too angsty, Merlyn will not go away, and Damien Darhk just felt like an unfair villain. (Also what was up with that final scene? It felt like Oliver was a Keyblade away from being in Kingdom Hearts.) Much of what isn’t working really does point back to Felicity. They should either have her love Oliver or not love him, her constant fence hopping on the issue is just annoying and we haven’t been able to enjoy the quirkiness of her character because of it. Not to mention the more the show focuses on her the more we are just treated to scenes of her at a computer spouting out obviously inaccurate hacker terms, instead of seeing people beat the snot out of each other, which is why we tune in. Felicity has lost so much of her appeal and the show has greatly suffered for it.
While Arrow has taken a significant downturn, Flash has been pointing upwards all year. They have been able to seamlessly have an over arcing “big bad” while keeping the “meta-of-the-week” fresh, and the writer’s ability to leave each episode on some sort of cliffhanger has been awesome. There are few other renditions of a Superhero that are as spot on as Grant Gustin’s portrayal of Barry Allen. He’s charming and selfless while being just a little cocky and sitting on some dark depression tied to his mother’s death. If other writers could go back to the source material like The Flash does, we would have many better shows and movies. The cliffhanger at the end of season two is an awesome way to bring something new to the show and many are expecting to see Flashpoint, and the writers better give us exactly that. Because of their ability to use the Arrowverse we can see Citizen Cold have his own story arc, we could see Robert Queen as The Arrow, and maybe even a reprise of Killer Frost. There are so many ways to take this next season, but will fans start to get annoyed with the constant changes? Are the creators going to give us a whole season of the Flash needing to set things back to the way they were? How many times does Barry need to change history before he learns his lesson? Season three will be a turning point for the show. They can either do it well like they did with Earth-2 or ruin it like Arrow did with the League of Assassins. Fans will just have to wait and see.
3 Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones' first season absolutely killed it. It was a fantastic look at some of the lesser-known comic characters. Instead of parading out the likes of Spider-Man or Ghost Rider, Marvel and Netflix decided to dig deep and bring fans Jewel a.k.a. Jessica Jones. She quickly became one of the smartest character choices to use, as she has a super dark history and a personality that is both interesting and relatable. The best scene from the entire show many have come early on when she is tricked into taking a job from people who want to kill her (because the Avengers accidentally killed one of their loved ones). The following monologue when Jessica unleashes her pain on the people’s hotel room and tells them that just because she has powers does not make her immune to loss, something that the other Marvel heroes seem to be, made us fall in love with the show. Then they added the Purple Man. The Purple Man in the comics is a largely disrespected character, mainly because he was absolutely ridiculous. He was a man with purple skin that let off pheromones to control other people. David Tennant made him a childlike character who didn’t seem to understand the rules that society needs to live by and truly doesn’t understand what he’s doing is wrong. He has become the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, more interesting than Loki, more deadly than Hydra, and creepier than Ward. We cannot be more excited about season two as this show only got better as it kept going, giving us almost no lulls in action or drama.
2 The Walking Dead
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Start with Zombies, add a post-apocalyptic United States, sprinkle in a cool character with a Katana, and one with a crossbow - boom, you got a recipe for a hit. At this point, people rarely associate The Walking Dead with its comic book origins, partially because the show is just so much better than the books. The whole zombie uprising is starting to become a very tired plot line, but it has never been done better than The Walking Dead. The show-runners have done a great job at giving fans what they want from the show. They take from the books as they need, but do their best to just write good stories about the characters that fans love, and the ratings show that it’s working. Glenn, Daryl, Carl, and Rick have become bulletproof, but a vast majority of the characters could be killed off at any moment, for any reason. The show has been one of the most watched things on TV, and because of things like Hulu and Netflix it gains more fans every season. The show didn’t even have to include Negan (a major villain from the books) until the second half of season six. Yet it’s not like Flash where we are tired of speedsters already, or Arrow where the villains are so overpowered that they have to be remarkably dumb to let the heroes win. It’s just an incredible show that is marching strongly into their next season, instead of limping to it like many of the other shows on this list.
Daredevil is the best comic book show you can find right now. Season one was one of the best seasons of anything in television history and season two was pretty damn good on its own. Charlie Cox plays a fantastic Matt Murdock, and a stellar cast and crew surround him. The cinematography on the show has already created some of the greatest fight scenes of all time. Seriously, take your pick between the hallway fight, the staircase fight, or the prison fight and you can make an argument for it being more epic than anything seen in any of the blockbuster Marvel movies. All the characters are appealing, but much of what works about this show really rides on two specific characters – Fisk and Castle. Wilson Fisk introduced us to the Kingpin, one of the true great villains in Marvel, portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio. Fisk became one of the most interesting characters to ever grace the screen. He and the show painted a character who was both as powerful as he was tragic, and his episodes in season two were the highlights of that season. Jon Bernthal plays a perfect Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, after decades of movies did an awful job trying to put the iconic murderer on screen. He is absolutely amazing, as was the character bringing to life Daredevil’s moral question; kill the bad guys or send them to jail? Season one set up a fantastic world for the characters and (along with Jessica Jones), while season two gave us a followup about what can happen in that world. Instead of everything going well for the characters we love, they often lose a lot. We can’t be more excited about all of Marvel’s Netflix shows and Daredevil is the reason for that.