With a wide variety of comic book legends to draw inspiration from, DC Comics has quickly taken over television sets across the globe. With shows such as Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, and Titans, fans can take their pick of superhero TV shows. We’ve broken down some of the most popular ones on air right now. Need a recap? You’ll want to brush up on the characters in our blog, DC Superheroes 101. All caught up? Let’s get started.
Based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen, also known as The Flash, the hit show first premiered October 7, 2014, on The CW. Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen, a crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. Thanks to the failure of a particle accelerator, Allen obtains the ability to move at super-human speed. He uses his powers not only to protect the city he loves but also to track down and avenge his mother’s murderer, the Reverse-Flash.
The Flash is a spinoff from fellow CW series Arrow, which occurs in the same fictional realm. The creative team on The Flash worked diligently to ensure that the series stayed true to the look and feel created in the comic books, so fans can rest assured that the time and effort was taken to make Barry Allen resemble his comic counterpart, not simply serve as a half-hearted reproduction.
The premiere of The Flash became the second-most watched premiere in the history of The CW, coming in just behind The Vampire Diaries premiere in 2009. The show won People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama in 2014 and was recently renewed for a sixth season.
Developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenhein, and Andrew Kreisberg, Arrow is based on the character Green Arrow from the DC Comics family. The series depicts Oliver Queen, a rich playboy who, after being stranded on an island for five years, arrives in his hometown ready to fight crime with his bow and arrow. Though the character Green Arrow appeared on The CW’s hit show Smallville from 2006 to 2011, it was decided that the series would take a different approach with a fresh face.
Arrow premiered on October 10, 2012, and focuses heavily on the five years that Queen was stranded on the island, with flashbacks regularly occurring during the series’ first five seasons. Featuring Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Katie Cassidy Rodgers as Lauren Lance/Black Canary/Black Siren, Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, and David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan, the series received positive reviews and even sparked several other superhero TV shows: a series of webisodes, an animated spin-off, Vixen, in August of 2015, and a second animated spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, which premiered in January of 2016. These shows bridged the gap between The Flash and Arrow by featuring several of the same characters.
Currently, in its seventh season, The CW announced in January that the series would be renewed for an eighth season. In March, it was announced that the eighth season would conclude the series and would only feature ten episodes.
Starring Melissa Benoist, Supergirl follows the life of Kara Zor-El, also known as Supergirl. Unlike some other superhero TV shows, Supergirl started off slow in terms of buy-in. After being given a tentative commitment for the series in September of 2014, the show was officially picked up on May 6, 2015, and confirmed for a full first season on November 20, 2015. In January 2019, the series was given the green light for its fifth season which is expected to premiere this October.
A cousin of Superman, 13-year-old Kara was sent by her parents to protect her infant cousin when Krypton exploded. Unfortunately for Kara, her spaceship was forced into the Phantom Zone instead of landing on Earth. By the time the craft arrives on Earth, Kara is 24-years-old and learning to navigate her superpowers.
Having adopted the alias Supergirl, Kara spends the first season protecting National City. Without revealing any spoilers, let’s just say the first season revolves around a slight bit of family drama that Kara discovers, and is ultimately forced to reconcile her feelings about.
The series features several small crossovers with the character of Superman, including the appearance of Jimmy Olsen, best friend to Superman and a former Daily Planet photographer. Olsen moves across the country to take a job as the Art Director at a company called CatCo. It’s revealed that Superman encouraged Jimmy, who now goes by James, to keep watch over Kara in her voyage as Supergirl. Jimmy’s storyline features some unexpected additions that make for an interesting watch for traditional fans. If you’re looking for a deeper backstory before beginning the series — but warning: there may be spoilers! — check out our blog on The Story of Supergirl.
On May 14, 2018, the DC Universe announced a spin-off of Titans featuring Doom Patrol characters Niles Caulder/Chief, Rita Farr/Elasti-Woman, Cliff Steele/Robotman, and Larry Trainor/Negative Man. The web television series premiered on February 15, 2019, and is a reinvention of the Doom Patrol characters that DC Comics fans have come to know and love.
The team of superheroes are a bit of outcasts. While each member of the team has miraculous superpowers, they also suffer the after-effects of being injured or disfigured in a variety of horrible accidents that are the root of their powers — sort of a pro/con situation, if you will. Feeling rejected and depressed, the team is brought together by The Chief to investigate some crazy happenings in their universe.
“Following the mysterious disappearance of The Chief, these reluctant heroes will find themselves in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse,” according to the DC Universe website. “Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of superpowered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them.”
Those interested in watching Doom Patrol can check out the series on the DC Universe website by clicking here.
Fans of Batman have no doubt heard of Gotham, a series that reinvented the characters of Bruce Wayne and James Gordon in a completely new and original way. First premiering on September 22, 2014, the series was originally developed by Bruno Heller to focus on the start of Gordon’s career with the Gotham City Police Department. As it evolved, however, viewers have been treated to a variety of Batman original characters including Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, and Bane.
The series begins at the start of Gordon’s career as a police detective in the near-immediate aftermath of the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Gordon and fellow detective Harvey Bullock are tasked with solving the homicides, and viewers are treated to not only a new look at the relationship between some of their favorite characters, but also at an intersection between film and television. For example, fans of The Dark Knight trilogy will find ties to the film in characters Harvey Dent, Carmine Falcone, and Salvatore Maroni, while getting a new look at characters such as Jim Gordon’s ex-fiancé Barbara Kean.
The series features Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, and David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne. The series was incredibly popular during its five-season run, with its last episode airing on April 25, 2019. Fans looking to reminisce about the show can find solace in the selection of Gotham-themed apparel offered on the Sons of Gotham website. Find your personal favorite in the Gotham collection by clicking here.
Those who are looking for more depth behind Superman’s life are in luck. Krypton, developed by David S. Goyer, is a series that chronicles life on Krypton, Superman’s planet of origin, roughly 200 years before the birth of the comic book legend. The show focuses on Superman’s grandfather, Seg-El, and his family, the House of El, after they have been rejected by the rest of their Kryptonian society.
The series premiered on March 21, 2018, and begins to explain the connection between Seg-El and his future grandson Superman. The show features Cameron Cuffe as Seg-El and chronicles the choices that he must make as he is forced to choose between working to restore his family’s reputation or letting Krypton be destroyed to save the future life of his grandson Superman.
Krypton is a relatively new series and has been met with mixed reviews. The series was renewed for a second season in May 2018 and is scheduled to premiere on Syfy on June 12, 2019.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Occurring in the same universe as superhero TV shows Arrow and The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, also known more simply as Legends of Tomorrow, is a series that brings together characters from both shows, as well as new heroes from the DC Comics universe, intent on saving the world.
The series description on the Warner Brothers website reads, “When heroes alone are not enough ... the world needs legends. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat — one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself.”
Legends of Tomorrow premiered in January 2016 and was picked up for a fifth season in January 2019. Viewers will recognize several cast members from their work on other superhero TV shows such as Arrow and The Flash, including The Atom, Sara Lance/White Canary, Dr. Martin Stein, and Captain Cold. However, viewers may also recognize The Atom actor Brandon Routh from another role; not in one of the many superhero TV shows currently airing, but on the big screen for his 2006 portrayal of Superman in the film Superman Returns.
Not to be confused with the Young Justice comic series, Young Justice is an adaptation of the characters in the DC Universe, primarily focusing on young superheroes. The series debuted on November 26, 2010, with an hour-long special. The series focuses on superhero sidekicks known as “the team.” Set in the present day, the teenagers work to prove themselves as true superheroes rather than childish sidekicks. The characters include Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Speedy, and their counterparts Batman, Aquaman, Flash, and Green Arrow.
After the conclusion of its second season, Young Justice: Invasion, the series was canceled. However, on November 7, 2016, it became one of the superhero TV shows that got a second chance when Warner Bros. Animation released a statement announcing that the series would be given a third season, Young Justice: Outsiders, which premiered on January 4, 2019.
Developed by Salim Akil, Black Lightning is based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Cress Williams stars as Black Lightning, a retired superhero attempting to return to the glory days while still balancing life with his family. Originally ordered as a pilot production by Fox in September 2016, the company ended up turning down the series in February 2017. The CW picked up Black Lightning and a new script was written for the pilot. The CW officially selected the show in May 2017, and the first of 13 episodes premiered on January 16, 2018.
Black Lightning follows a high school principal named Jefferson Pierce, a former superhero known as Black Lightning. Pierce retired from crimefighting after seeing the impact his absence had on his family. However, an increase in crime and corruption due to a gang called the 100 leaves Pierce without much of a choice, and he returns to the life of fighting crime. The series was met with outstanding reviews, receiving a 96% approval rating for its first season on Rotten Tomatoes.
For the Fans
The DC Universe has given viewers more than its fair share of top of the line shows, and these are just some of the incredible choices fans can watch today. Regardless of which one is your favorite, Sons of Gotham has the best selection of DC branded apparel, home décor, and gift items for you and your fellow fans. Check out their website to shop the huge selection, and be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for access to special discounts!
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