The Rise of the Television Super Hero

The last decade has seen a distinct interest in super heroes from movie-viewing audiences. Every company that has the rights to even a few super hero properties has been rushing to put out as many movies as they can in order to take advantage of all the money that’s flowing in that direction right now.

Not every super hero property or comic title can generate the interest required for a studio to pick it up and spend lots of money to make a movie, however. For this reason, super heroes have begun migrating to the small screen and, despite smaller budgets and less prominent actors, they have been captivating television viewers everywhere.

The first of these properties to hit the airwaves was a show based on the DC hero, Green Arrow. Arrow had a rocky first season but managed to enthrall audiences enough that it was picked up for a second and then a third season. This was followed by a show from Marvel called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While this series brought in a lot of complaints during the majority of its first season, the final half-dozen episodes had audiences rethinking their criticism. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was also renewed for a second season.

Given the success of these two properties, both Warner Bros. (the owners of the DC heroes) and Disney (the owners of The Avengers and those related properties) have rushed to fill a void that television executives never even realized existed. Fall of 2014 promises two DC series. The Flash will bring yet another popular hero to the small screen, building off of the character’s initial appearance in Arrow. Gotham is a show based on the world of Batman and will feature a look at the history of that comic book world by focusing on the character of James Gordon. Both shows have been picked up for a full season and have generated a lot of interest from the fans.

Disney is not to be outdone, however. While they don’t plan on releasing any shows via mainstream television channels, they do have a number of properties that will be showing up on Netflix. Starting in 2015, Marvel fans will be happy to see Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron First and Luke Cage all getting their own series. This will culminate in a Defenders mini-series, bringing all those characters together to form yet another Avengers-styled super team.

For fans that are not quite sold on all the super hero shows, there are plenty of other things popping up from lesser known sources. The Hellblazer comic series is in production under the title Constantine. War story fans will likely fall in love with the SyFy television adaptation of DMZ. The CW is picking up iZombie, a unique spin on the current zombie craze. Garth Ennis’ horrific and traumatic Preacher series is coming to AMC.

All-in-all, comic book fans are finally getting attention from the big production companies. For big explosions and epic storylines there are movies to watch. For those that like to tune in weekly and enjoy a slow walk through some excellent stories, television is the way to go. As long as these new shows continue to be successful, it is likely fans will see plenty more adaptations in the foreseeable future.

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