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Superheroes in Film and TV


If You Like…Superheroes in Film and TV
Try the following…on DVD or downloadable video

Superheroes are currently enjoying a huge surge in popularity on both the big screen and small screen, with more films and TV series featuring spandex-clad heroes than ever before. A large part of this has been the growing interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe film series of the 2010s. However, there have been other periods of strong interest in live-action superheroes — the Christopher Reeve Superman movies of the 1980s, the Batman movies of the 1980s and 1990s (featuring various actors as Batman), the many films of the X-Men film franchise, the campy Adam West Batman TV series of the 1960s, the Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman runs on TV in the 1970s, Superboy, The Adventures of Lois & Clark, Smallville were all successful in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

This “booklist” is intended to show the order in which to watch some of today’s interconnected superhero sagas. It is also a sampling of the superhero films and TV shows of past years, but only a sampling. For a comprehensive list of costumed heroes on TV, check out this List of Superhero Television Series article on Wikipedia.

Check out these broad categories:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe [2008-present]

After years of intermittent successes and failures with film and TV interpretations of Marvel’s superheros, a concerted effort to create a series of interconnected films, with continuity across the board, began with Iron Man in 2008, starring Robert Downey Jr. The first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced a lot of the elements that have become standard across the MCU — lots of character-based humor, tons of action, cameos from other heroes in the Marvel Comics Universe, and post-film “tags” or “stingers” that connect one MCU film to another coming out soon. MCU films have been planned out in “phases”, all building to major events that affect all the characters across all the films. For instance, most of the first 20 films in the MCU built up to the massive team-up film The Avengers: Infinity War, the events of which had repercussions for every single character across the Marvel cinematic franchise.

Note: For many years, Sony Pictures had the exclusive rights to produce movies featuring Spider-Man, and produced a set of five live-action films featuring the character, first starring Tobey Maguire (3), then Andrew Garfield (2). In Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man is finally included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, now played by Tom Holland, and his subsequent appearances are all part of the MCU.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe also includes some TV series and web series in its continuity, so you’ll find Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s Agent Carter and Marvel’s Inhumans in this section. In 2015, Marvel began producing TV series for distribution via the Netflix streaming service, starting with their popular Daredevil character. The six (so far) Marvel Netflix shows are set within the same overall Marvel Cinematic Universe as the films and network TV shows, but do not have an overt cross-overs with those other Marvel properties.

Phase 1


Iron Man
[DVD Iron] [2008]

The Incredible Hulk
[DVD Incredible] [2009]

Iron Man 2
[DVD Iron] [2010]

Thor
[DVD Thor] [2011]

Captain America: The First Avenger
[DVD Captain] [2011]

Read the Staff Recommendations review of this film!


Marvel’s The Avengers
[DVD Avengers] [2012]

Phase 2


Iron Man 3
[DVD Iron] [2013]

Thor: The Dark World
[DVD Thor] [2013]

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
[DVD Captain] [2014]

Guardians of the Galaxy
[DVD Guardians] [2014]

Read the Staff Recommendations review of this film!


Avengers: Age of Ultron
[DVD Avengers] [2015]

Ant-Man
[DVD Ant] [2015]

Phase 3


Captain America: Civil War
[DVD Captain] [2016]

Doctor Strange
[DVD Doctor] [2016]

Guardians of the Galaxy 2
[DVD Guardians] [2017]

Spider-Man: Homecoming
[DVD Spider] [2017]

Thor: Ragnarok
[DVD Thor] [2017]

Black Panther
[DVD Black] [2018]

Avengers: Infinity War
[DVD Avengers — due out on DVD in the Fall of 2018] [2018]

Ant-Man and the Wasp
[DVD Ant — not yet out on DVD] [2018]

The Marvel TV Shows

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
[DVD Agents] [2013-present]

Seasons Available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set for this series!


Marvel’s Agent Carter
[2015-2016]

Seasons Available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Marvel’s The Inhumans
[2017]

Not yet available on DVD.


The Marvel Netflix Series

Marvel’s Daredevil
[2015-present]

Primarily available through Netflix streaming service. Blu-Ray of season 1 produced. DVD and Blu-Ray of season 2 produced — neither in libraries’ collection at this time.


Marvel’s Jessica Jones
[2015-present]

Primarily available through Netflix streaming service. Blu-Ray and DVD of season 1 produced — not in libraries’ collection.


Marvel’s Luke Cage
[2016-present]

Primarily available through Netflix streaming service. Blu-Ray of season 1 produced — not in libraries’ collection.


Marvel’s Iron Fist
[2017-present]

Primarily available through Netflix streaming service. Blu-Ray of season 1 produced — not in libraries’ collection.


Marvel’s The Defenders
[2017-present]

Primarily available through Netflix streaming service. No Blu-Rays or DVDs released at this time.


Marvel’s The Punisher
[2017-present]

Primarily available through Netflix streaming service. No Blu-Rays or DVDs released at this time.



The DC Extended Universe [2013-present]

The publisher DC, via Warner Brothers motion pictures, had major success with the Superman and Batman film franchises of the 1970s through the early 2000s. However, it wasn’t until Marvel’s stunning success with building a cinematic universe with multiple films that all crossed over with and had internal continuity with each other, that DC decided to do the same thing. Beginning with its latest version of Superman in Man of Steel (2013), the DC superhero movies have all been intended to exist in the same universe of continuity. Despite huge success with DC characters on television (the various shows on The CW network which are collective set in “The Arrowverse”), those series do NOT exist in the same continuity as the feature films, and in fact some characters appear in both the DCEU and The Arrowverse but are portrayed by different actors and have differing backstories.


Man of Steel
[DVD Man] [2013]

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
[DVD Batman] [2016]

Suicide Squad
[DVD Suicide] [2016]

Read the Staff Recommendations review of this film!


Wonder Woman
[DVD Wonder] [2017]

Justice League
[DVD Justice] [2017]


Superhero Feature Films and TV-Movies – Series of 5 or More…

The Batman Film Series (1943-2012)

Batman
[1943]

15-episode serial. First on-screen appearance of Batman.


Batman and Robin
[1949]

15-episode serial.


Batman
[1966]

Theatrical film featuring the primary cast members of the 1966-68 TV series. Campy in style.


Batman
[DVD Batman] [1989]

First of two to star Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman

Read the Staff Recommendations review of this film!


Batman Returns
[DVD Batman] [1992]

Batman Forever
[DVD Batman] [1995]

Single film to star Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman.


Batman and Robin
[DVD Batman] [1997]

This one stars George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman.


Batman Begins
[DVD Batman] [2005]

First in a trilogy to star Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman.


The Dark Knight
[DVD Dark] [2008]

The Dark Knight Rises
[DVD Dark] [2012]

For Batman entries after The Dark Knight Rises, see the section on DC Extended Universe above.


The Superman Film Series (1948-2006)

Superman
[1948]

15-part serial. First on-screen appearance of Superman, with Kirk Alyn in the role.


Atom Man vs. Superman
[1950]

15-part serial.


Superman and the Mole Men
[1951]

First non-serialized Superman film. Starring George Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman, who also starred in the 1952-1958 TV series The Adventures of Superman.


Superman
[DVD Superman] [1978]

First of four films to star Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman.


Superman II
[DVD Superman] [1980]

Superman III
[DVD Superman] [1983]

Supergirl
[1984]

NOTES


Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
[DVD Superman] [1987]

Superman Returns
[DVD Superman] [2006]

Starring Brandon Routh as Clark Kent/Superman. The filmmakers considered this a sequel to the first two Christopher Reeve films, while ignoring Superman III and Superman IV.


For Superman entries after Superman Returns, see the section on the DC Extended Universe above.


The X-Men Film Series (2000-present)

X-Men
[DVD X-Men] [2000]

First in the X-Men live action film series


X2: X-Men United
[DVD X2] [2003]

X-Men III: The Last Stand
[DVD X-Men] [2006]

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
[DVD X-Men] [2009]

First spin-off in the X-Men live action film series, focusing on fan favorite character Wolverine, portrayed by Hugh Jackman.


X-Men: First Class
[DVD X-Men] [2011]

First of the X-Men movies with an all-new cast, set several decades earlier than the previous films.


The Wolverine
[DVD Wolverine] [2013]

Another stand-alone Wolverine film.


X-Men: Days of Future Past
[DVD X-Men] [2014]

This film crosses over the “classic” and “new” X-Men casts in a time travel tale.


Deadpool
[DVD Deadpool] [2016]

While not directly an X-Men film, Deadpool is related to the X-Men series, as several X-Men characters make appearances in the film, and the character has long been associated with the “mutants” of the Marvel comics.


X-Men: Apocalypse
[DVD X-Men] [2016]

Another film with the newer X-Men cast.


Logan
[DVD Logan] [2017]

Both Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine) and Patrick Stewart (Professor Charles Xavier) have stated that, after playing those characters in multiple films since 2000, this would be their final times to reprise this popular X-Men characters. The film is set in the not-too-distant future.


Deadpool 2
[2018]

While not directly an X-Men film, Deadpool 2 is related to the X-Men series, as several X-Men characters make appearances in the film (including a blink-and-you’ll miss it cameo of the entire “new generation of X-Men cast”), and the character has long been associated with the “mutants” of the Marvel comics

Summer 2018 film.



The Spider-Man Film Series (2002-present)

Spider-Man
[DVD Spider] [2002]

First of three films to feature Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man


Spider-Man 2
[DVD Spider] [2004]

Spider-Man 3
[DVD Spider] [2007]

Final appearance of Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.


The Amazing Spider-Man
[DVD Amazing] [2012]

First of two appearances of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2
[DVD Amazing] [2014]

Last of two appearances of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.


For Spider-Man entries after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, see the section on The Marvel Cinematic Universe above.


Miscellaneous Superhero Movies, or “Film Series” that have fewer than 5 entries

This list is merely a sampling of the many Superhero films, both released theatrically or as made-for-TV-movies from the past several decades. We don’t claim that this is a complete list, and it emphasizes films or TV-Movies that are available on DVD through the libraries’ collection. However, some unique titles are included, just to provide a bit of color and variety to the list. For those not “hotlinked” to the library catalog, consider tracking them down through the InterLibrary Loan service.

Dr. Strange
[1978]

Pilot movie for a potential TV series. Though the series didn’t get picked up, the TV-movie was aired, and subsequently released on both VHS and DVD. Based on the Marvel Comics characters.


Captain America
[1979]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Intended, along with its immediate sequel, Captain America: Death Too Soon, to be pilots for a potential series. The series was not picked up, but both TV-Movies were later released on both VHS and DVD, often in a combined package.


Hero at Large
[1980]

Feature film about a struggling actor hired to wear a superhero costume to help promote a movie, whose act of heroism brands him a true superhero in the eyes of the public.


Condorman
[Hoopla Streaming] [1981]

Comedy action film, as the writer/artist of the Condorman comic book, is unexpectedly pulled into the espionage game, and ultimately becomes the superhero he created.


Swamp Thing
[1982]

Based on the DC Comics characters. Followed by a 1989 sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing, and a four-season TV series.


The Toxic Avenger
[1984]

Superhero comedy splatter film, followed by several low-budget sequels.


Howard the Duck
[1986]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. One of George Lucas’s first stand-alone projects after the original Star Wars trilogy.


The Spirit
[1987]

2-hour pilot film for a potential TV series, based on the work of legendary cartoonist Will Eisener. The series didn’t happen by the movie did air on TV and was later released on DVD.


The Punisher
[Hoopla Streaming] [1989]

Straight-to-VHS release, subsequently released on DVD. Based on the Marvel Comics characters. No connection to later Punisher films.


Captain America
[1990]

Made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the character of Captain America in 1990, this film was never released in U.S. theaters, instead showing up on VHS and LaserDisc. Subsequently released on DVD. Based on the Marvel Comics characters.


Darkman
[1990]

Followed by two sequels, Darkman II and Darkman III.


The Rocketeer
[DVD Rocketeer] [1991]

Feature film, adapted from the independent comic books by Dave Stevens. This was a period piece, set during the late 1930s, featuring a hero with a stolen jetpack fighting to keep the technology from being delivered to the Nazis.


The Meteor Man
[1993]

Superhero comedy film, the first to feature a black superhero on the big screen.


The Crow
[DVD Crow] [1994]

Followed by several sequels, The Crow: City of Angels, The Crow: Salvation, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer, and a single-season TV series, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. The first film in the series starred Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, who was killed in an accident during filming.


The Shadow
[1994]

Based on the classic avenger of 1930s radio serials. “Who knows that evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”


The Mask
[1994]

Based on the dark fantasy comic book series by Dark Horse Comics, this showcased the manic comic talents of Jim Carrey. Followed by a sequel, Son of The Mask, which did not star Carrey.


Judge Dredd
[1995]

Based on a dystopian series of comic-book magazines, starring Sylvester Stallone. Rebooted in 2012 with Karl Urban as Dredd.


Generation X
[1996]

Pilot film for a series tied into the X-Men mutant universe from Marvel Comics. Initially intended to serve as the pilot for an ongoing weekly series, then as potential the first of a series of 2-hour TV movies. Ultimately it was aired as a single TV-movie and never went further than that.


The Phantom
[1996]

Based on the classic adventure comic strip, which first appeared in newspapers in 1936..


Spawn
[1997]

Based on the Image Comics characters.


Steel
[1997]

Based on the DC Comics characters. According to Rotten Tomatoes review site, this film, starring basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal, is considered one of the worst-ever live-action comic book films.


Blade
[DVD Blade] [1998]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. First of three films (and a TV-series) to feature Blade the Vampire Hunter. Followed by Blade IIBlade: Trinity and Blade: The Series.


Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
[1998]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. TV-Movie pilot for a potential series, that wasn’t picked up. It did get shown on TV, and was eventually released on DVD. No connection to the later appearances by Nick Fury (as portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and TV series).


Mystery Men
[DVD YA Mystery] [1999]

Something of a parody of traditional superhero comic book tropes, but based on a comic book from Dark Horse Comics.


Unbreakable
[2000]

Suspense thriller with elements of comic-book superheroes, from film auteur M. Night Shyamalan. Followed by Split in 2017 and Glass (forthcoming) in 2019.


Daredevil
[2003]

Ben Affleck stars as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, 15 years before he became Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Jennifer Garner co-stars as the assassin Elektra, who’ll go on to star in her own spin-off movie. Based on the Marvel Comics characters.


Hulk
[2003]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Directed by Oscar-winner Ang Lee.


Catwoman
[2004]

Based on the DC Comics characters, from the Batman storylines. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, this is generally considered, by most fans, as one of the worst big-budget comic book films.


Hellboy
[DVD Hellboy] [2004]

Followed by one sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, in 2008.


The Punisher
[2004]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Unrelated to 1989 film, however this 2004 version has a 2008 sequel, Punisher: War Zone, with the same star, Thomas “Tom” Jane.


Elektra
[2005]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Spin-off of the 2003 Daredevil film, with Jennifer Garner continuing in the same role.


Sky High
[j DVD Sky] [2005]

Original “family friendly” film from Disney, headlined by Kurt Russell.


 

The Fantastic Four
[2005]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Followed by a sequel in 2007, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Quirky note: Chris Evans appears as Johnny Storm (a.k.a. The Human Torch) in these two films, before settling into the role of Captain America in the MCU films, starting in 2011.


Constantine
[2005]

Based on the DC/Vertigo Comics characters. Not connected to the later TV series, featuring the same character.


Man-Thing
[2005]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Made as a low-budget horror film, which aired on the Syfy Channel. Also eventually released on DVD.


Zoom
[j DVD Zoom] [2006]

Family-friendly super hero fare, headlined by Tim Allen.


Ghost Rider
[DVD Ghost] [2007]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Followed by a 2011 sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The character of Ghost Rider, in a different incarnation, later appears in the 4th season (2016-2017) of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which has no connection to these two films.


Underdog
[j DVD Underdog] [2007]

Live-action film based on the 1964-1973 classic animated series.


Hancock
[DVD Hancock] [2008]

Sort of the anti-Superhero film.


The Spirit
[DVD Spirit] [2008]

Feature film version of this classic character by Will Eisner.


Watchmen
[DVD Watchmen] [2009]

Based on the DC Comics characters, from the groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name.


Jonah Hex
[DVD Jonah] [2010]

Based on the DC Comics characters.


Kick-Ass
[2010]

Based on a comic published by Marvel Comics. Followed by a 2013 sequel, Kick-Ass 2.


Green Lantern
[DVD Green] [2011]

Based on the DC Comics characters. Starring Ryan Reynolds as the iconic DC hero Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. The film was a critical and box office disappointment, but Reynolds went on the appear in the series of Deadpool films for Marvel starting in 2016.


The Green Hornet
[2011]

Action comedy superhero adventure film, adapted from the 1930s radio serial.


Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
[DVD Birdman] [2014]

Less a mainstream superhero film than a film about an actor who’s been typecast for having previously played a superhero, The Birdman, who is trying to break out of that typecasting. This film won the 2015 Oscar for Best Film.


Fantastic Four
[DVD Fantastic] [2015]

Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Unrelated to the 2004 and 2007 films — this is a reboot. Not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Split
[DVD Split] [2017]

Sequel to Unbreakable (2000). To be followed by Glass (2019). All three directed by auteur director M. Night Shyamalan.


There are dozens of Superhero films in various stages of pre-production for release in the next several years.


The “Arrowverse”

Beginning with the premiere of Arrow on The CW television network in 2012, DC started a juggernaut of superhero-related TV series, all interconnected and related to each other. Because Arrow was the first series to launch, fans (and eventually even the programmers themselves) refer to this universe of connected series as “The Arrowverse”. Despite the fact that in the comic books, these characters co-exist with the other major DC superheroes and villains (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.), the versions of the characters as seen in the the many CW superhero TV series are NOT connected to the growing body of feature films in the DC Entertainment Universe, and in fact some characters that appear in both the DCEU and The Arrowverse are portrayed by different actors and have differing backstories.


Arrow
[DVD Arrow] [2012-present]

Arrow seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two | Season Three | Season Four | Season Five

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


The Flash
[2014-present]

Flash seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two | Season Three

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


Supergirl
[2015-present]

Supergirl seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two


DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
[2016-present]

Legends of Tomorrow seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two



Non-interconnected Superhero TV Series
In Chronological Order

This category includes films and TV series that featured characters from either the DC or Marvel superhero comics (company listed behind the years below), as well as other superhero TV/Film products not connected to either of the two major publishers. Some, like The Greatest American Hero, are original for TV/Film. Others feature characters that may have appeared in comic books, graphic novels, or manga before migrating to the big or small screen. The entries in this section are in alphabetical order by the name of the film or TV series.


The Adventures of Superman
[1952-1958, 6 seasons, 104 episodes] [Syndication/based on the DC Comics characters]

Adventures of Superman seasons vailable on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Batman
[1966-1968, 3 seasons, 120 episodes] [ABC/based on the DC comics characters]

The cast of this live-action series, mainly Adam “Batman” West and Burt “Robin” Ward, reunited for two animated Batman feature films, which continued the humorous style of Batman storytelling in the 2010s: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face.

Batman seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


The Green Hornet
[1966-1967, 1 season, 26 episodes] [ABC/based on serialized radio program, originally in the 1930s]

Never released commercially on DVD.


Captain Nice
[1967, 1 season, 15 episodes] [NBC/superhero sitcom – original for TV]

Never released commercially on DVD in the U.S.


Mr. Terrific
[1967, 1 season, 17 episodes] [CBS/superhero sitcom – original for TV]

Never released commercially on DVD in the U.S.


The Shazam!/Isis Hour
[CALL] [1974-1976, Shazam: 3 seasons, 28 episodes; Isis: 2 seasons, 22 episodes] [CBS/Shazam, also known as Captain Marvel, was a Fawcett Comics character, now owned by DC Comics. Isis, an ancient Egyptian Goddess, was an original character for television.]

Though existing in separate half-hours of storytelling, the characters of Shazam and Isis often crossed over into each others’ stories. The Isis portion was also known as “The Secrets of Isis”. This live-action series aired on Saturday mornings, surrounded by cartoons.

Shazam and/or Isis seasons available on DVD only as a manufacture-on-demand product. No sets in the libraries at this time.


Wonder Woman (a.k.a. The New Adventures of Wonder Woman)
[1975-1979, 3 seasons, 59 episodes + pilot film] [ABC + CBS/based on the DC Comics characters]

The first season (only 13 episodes), on ABC, was a historical adventure drama set during World War II. When the series moved to CBS for its final two years, the setting was updated to the contemporary time period of the late 1970s, with Lyle Waggoner’s Col. Steve Trevor being changed to Col. Steve Trevor Jr., the original’s son. Waggoner and Lynda Carter as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman were the only cast to continue to the renamed The New Adventures of Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

The Incredible Hulk
[1977-1982, 5 seasons + 2 pilot movies, + 3 sequel TV-movies] [CBS/based on the Marvel Comics character. In two of three post-series made-for-TV-movies, two additional Marvel Comics characters — Thor and Daredevil — were introduced as “pilots” for possible spin-off series, but neither panned out)]

The Incredible Hulk seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

The Amazing Spider-Man
[1977-1979, 2 seasons, 14 episodes — repackaged for syndication as several 2-hour TV-movies] [CBS/based on the Marvel Comics characters]

Never released commercially on DVD in the U.S. Several episodes were released commercially on VHS in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


The Greatest American Hero
[DVD Greatest] [1981-84, 3 seasons, 44 episodes + spin-off pilot packaged with season 3] [ABC/original for TV]

Greatest American Hero seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Complete Series

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


Superboy
[1988-1992, 4 seasons, 100 episodes] [Syndicated/based on the DC Comics characters]

Superboy seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Swamp Thing
[1990-1993, 3 seasons, 72 episodes] [USA/based on the DC comics characters and two earlier feature films (1982, 1989)]

Swamp Thing seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

The Flash
[1990-1991, 1 season, 22 episodes] [CBS/based on the DC comics characters]

John Wesley Shipp, who plays Barry Allen (a.k.a. “The Flash”) in this 1990 series, returned to play the father of Barry Allen in the new CW version of The Flash (and more) in 2014.

Flash seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


Human Target
[1992, 1 partial season, only 7 episodes aired] [ABC/based on the DC Comics characters]

Never released commercially on DVD in the U.S.


Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
[1993-1997, 4 seasons, 88 episodes] [ABC/based on the DC comics characters]

Lois and Clark seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

NightMan
[1997-1999, 2 seasons, 44 episodes] [Syndicated/loosely based on the comic book from Malibu Comics]

NightMan seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

The Crow: Stairway to Heaven
[1998-1999, 1 season, 22 episodes] [Syndicated/based on comic book series (from several publishers) and series of feature films]

No complete seasons released commercially on DVD in the U.S., only sample episodes on hard-to-find discs.


Black Scorpion
[2001, 1 season, 22 episodes] [Sci-Fi/based on two Showtime made-for-TV movies (1995, 1997)]

Black Scorpion seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Smallville
[DVD Smallville] [2001-2011, 10 seasons, 216 episodes] [The WB and The CW/based on the DC comics characters]

This series told about the early years of Clark Kent, before he became Superman. The producers had a stated “No Tights/No Flying” policy. Though Clark Kent did eventually move from Smallville, Kansas to the big city of Metropolis, to work for the Daily Planet, and start a relationship with fellow reporter Lois Lane, it was not until the final scenes of the final episode that he put on the Superman suit, and flew for the first time.

Smallville seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two | Season Three | Season Four | Season Five | Season Six | Season Seven | Season Eight | Season Nine | Season Ten


The Tick
[2001-2002, 1 season, 9 episodes] [FOX/based on comic book and animated series characters]

Also rebooted with a different cast in 2016 on the Amazon streaming service.

The Tick seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Witchblade
[2001-2002, 2 seasons, 23 episodes + pilot film] [TNT/based on comic book from Top Cow Productions]

Witchblade seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Mutant X
[2001-2004, 3 seasons, 66 episodes] [Syndicated/related tangentially to Marvel Comics]

Mutant X seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Birds of Prey
[2002-2003, 1 season, 13 episodes] [The WB/based on DC comics characters]

Birds of Prey seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Blade: The Series
[2006, 1 season, 13 episodes] [Spike/based on the Marvel Comics characters and series of 3 earlier feature films; followed by 12-episode animated series in 2011]

Blade: The Series seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Chuck
[DVD Chuck] [2007-2012, 5 seasons, 91 episodes] [NBC]

Though this is more of a spy/thriller, and didn’t feature costumed super-powered superheroes, the main character, Chuck Bartowski, is given the equivalent of super-powers in the pilot episode and spends five seasons with more enhanced abilities that everyone around him. Close enough for this list!

Chuck seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two | Season Three | Season Four | Season Five

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


Heroes / Heroes Reborn
[DVD Heroes] [2006-2010, 4 seasons, 78 episodes; Heroes Reborn, 2015, 1 season, 13 episodes] [NBC]

Heroes seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two | Season Three | Season Four | Heroes Reborn


The Middleman
[2008, 1 season, 12 episodes] [ABC Family/based on comic book from Viper Comics]

The Middleman seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Human Target
[2010-2011, 2 seasons, 25 episodes] [FOX/based on the DC Comics characters]

Human Target seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Alphas
[DVD Alphas] [2011-2012, 2 seasons, 24 episodes] [Syfy]

Alphas seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


Gotham
[DVD Gotham] [2014-present, as of 2018, 4 seasons, 88 episodes] [FOX/features DC comics characters in a prequel to the days of Batman in Gotham City]

Gotham seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two | Season Three


Constantine
[2014-2015, 1 season, 13 episodes] [NBC/based on the DC comics characters]

Though this darker series enjoyed only only a short (13-episode) single season on NBC, the character (as portrayed by actor Matt Ryan) has subsequently appeared in both Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and, indeed, will become a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow in 2018. This places the series Constantine with one foot in The Arrowverse of connected series, and one foot out.

Constantine seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

iZombie
[DVD iZombie] [2015-present, as of 2018 4 seasons, 58 episodes] [The CW/based on the comic book from Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint for more mature audiences]

iZombie seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two | Season Three

Read the Staff Recommendations review of the Season One DVD set of this series!


Lucifer
[DVD Lucifer] [2016-present, as of 2018 3 seasons, 57 episodes] [FOX+Netflix/based on the comic book from Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint for more mature audiences]

Lucifer seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: Season One | Season Two


Preacher
[2016-present, as of 2nd season 2 seasons, 23 episodes] [AMC/based on the comic book from Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint for more mature audiences]

Preacher seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

Runaways
[2017-present, as of 1st season, 1 season, 10 epsodes] [Hulu digital streaming/based on the Marvel Comics characters]

Not released commercially on DVD in the U.S. at this time. Only available via streaming.


Legion
[2017-preent, as of 2018 2 seasons, 21 episodes] [FX/based loosely on characters from Marvel Comics]

Legion seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none at this time]

The Gifted
[2017-present, as of 2018 1 season, 13 episodes] [FOX/based in part on “mutant” characters from Marvel Comics’s “X-Men” stories, though in an alternate timeline]

The Gifted seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none]

Powerless
[2017, 1 season, 9 aired episodes, 3 unaired] [NBC/(see description below)]

This was a sitcom, set within the DC Comics universe continuity, looking at life in a company dedicated to manufacturing products to make it easier for normal humans to survive in a world where deadly battles between superheroes and supervillains might break out at any time.

Not commercially released on DVD in the U.S. at this time.


Black Lightning
[2018-present, as of 2018 1 season, 13 episodes] [The WB/based on the DC comics characters]

Though airing on the CW at the same time as the various series known collectively as The Arrowverse (see above), Black Lightning is not currently considered to be in the same continuity world as those other shows. The producers have not completely ruled out making it fit into The Arrowverse in upcoming seasons.

Black Lightning seasons available on DVD or Digitally through the libraries: [none]

Krypton
[2018-present, as of 2018 1 season, 10 episodes] [Syfy/based on background settings from the DC Comics universe]

Not commercially released on DVD at this time.


Cloak & Dagger
[2018-present, launched in June 2018] [Freeform (formerly ABC Family)/based on the Marvel Comics characters]

Not commercially released on DVD at this time.



First posted to BookGuide August 2018 sdc | Last updated: September 2018 sdc