Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Batman: The Animated Series, Mike Colter as Luke Cage (Courtesy Everett Collection; Fox; Netflix)

100 BEST SUPERHERO TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME

Thanks to an unprecedented explosion of superhero content on television and streaming platforms today, it may seem like the Age of Heroes began with Arrow and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But the phenomenon of costumed heroes on TV began almost as soon as television itself with 1949’s The Lone Ranger series – the first legitimate ABC hit series. Since then, the heroes have taken on many forms in animated and live-action arenas. They have been campy and deadly serious. Sometimes, like Spider-Man, they don very familiar designs and, sometimes, like Jessica Jones, they toss off the affectations for a less conspicuous jacket or hoodie.

As you might expect, series based on Marvel and DC Comics properties dominate this TV subgenre overall, though not all of their titles appear on this list. There are 64 television programs based on comic books published by DC; three of them, however, are not based on superheroes. Marvel, meanwhile, is the source of 50 programs in the TVsphere. Surprisingly, only 5 of those are based on the X-Men — the same number of superhero shows produced by Greg Berlanti currently on the air. Spider-Man, meanwhile, lends his name to 12 television shows, 3 of which were live action. Superman and Batman also appear in the title of a surprising number of shows, while Wonder Woman fronts just one show. And, as it happens, only 14 American superhero shows feature a female lead – although some might argue that Medusa (Serinda Swan) was the real lead of Marvel’s Inhumans, bringing the tally up to 15. Out of the 100 Best superhero shows, 22 are original creations not sourced from comic books.

To create our list of the greatest superhero TV shows, we considered series’ Tomatometer scores, of course, plus the rankings of a number of reputable “best of” lists, and applied some editorial discretion, asking ourselves which shows have acquired cult status over time. You won’t find every comic book–based character that has ever been adapted for the small screen — shows like Lucifer, Constantine, and Preacher fall under horror-fantasy, for instance — but you will find the best superheroes on TV.

Did we miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments!

Synopsis: Adventures of a teen tech genius.... [More]

Astro Boy (1963)

#99
Synopsis: Animated tales of a robotic boy in the 21st century.... [More]

The Flash (1990)

#98
Synopsis: Tales of comic-strip hero Barry Allen, a police scientist who accidentally gains super speed, and uses it to fight crime... [More]

Powers (2015)
48%

#97
Synopsis: Two detectives investigate crimes in a world populated by superhumans.... [More]
Directed By: David Petrarca

Synopsis: An exiled prince of an enslaved planet lives on Earth as a `regular' high-school kid, aided by his powers of... [More]

Blade: The Series (2006)
50%

#95
Synopsis: A half-human, half-vampire superhero battles demonic creatures with help from a weapons specialist and a military vet.... [More]

#94
Synopsis: Three little girls, Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, form a group to fight crime in the city. They receive occasional help... [More]

#93
Synopsis: A cool, new take on the classic Dark Knight franchise, Beware the Batman incorporates Batmans core characters with a rogues... [More]

NightMan (0)

#92
Synopsis: Being struck by lightning gives a jazz musician the ability to sense evil, which he fights using a friend's inventions... [More]

Shazam! (1974)

#91
Synopsis: Teen Billy Batson becomes Captain Marvel with a single word (`Shazam!') and helps those in need. Assisting him is his... [More]

Automan (1983)
83%

#90
Synopsis: A computerized supercop on a big-city police force fights crime.... [More]

#89
Synopsis: Justice Magazine editor Jessica Drew fights crime in this gender spin on Marvel's `Spider-Man.'... [More]

Street Hawk (1985)

#88
Synopsis: A computerized motorcycle with high-tech weaponry propels this `Knight Rider' clone, which focuses on a crime-fighting driver, Jesse Mach, who... [More]

Mutant X (2001)

#87
Synopsis: Genetic misfits battle the nefarious biotech company that created them.... [More]
Directed By: John Bell

Synopsis: Tony Stark, an engineering genius is captured in Afghanistan while demonstrating a new missile. His captors want him to create... [More]

Synopsis: Campy show about female superheroes who use advanced technology to defeat villains. When they are not fighting crime and saving... [More]

Manimal (1983)
24%

#84
Synopsis: Escapist inanity focusing on a crimefighter with the power to turn himself into animals. All kinds of animals, including a... [More]

#83
Synopsis: Spider Man and Wolverine swap their bodies, but it does not prevent Sabretooth to hunt for Wolverine.... [More]

Synopsis: The Green Lantern lights up adventure in this all-new CG animated action series from world-renowned producer, artist and animator Bruce... [More]
Directed By: Rick Morales

#81
Synopsis: He's part-man, part-plant and all environmentalist, and he struggles to save a Louisiana bayou from those who would destroy it,... [More]

Synopsis: Flash Gordon, Mandrake, Lothar and the Phantom join forces to foil more attempts by Ming the Merciless to conquer Earth.... [More]

#79
Synopsis: Spider-Man journeys to an alternate Earth to recover a space probe after being blamed for a malfunction that stranded the... [More]

#78
Synopsis: The bionic-powered Bennett clan battles the villainous Dr. Scarab in this animated adventure.... [More]

M.A.N.T.I.S. (1994)
56%

#77
Synopsis: Escapist fare in which a paraplegic scientist fights crime as a superhero, thanks to a Mechanically Augmented NeuroTransmitter Interactive System---M.A.N.T.I.S.... [More]

#76
Synopsis: Teen-flavored fantasy about crimefighters with unusual abilities. They're led by Dr. Billy Hayes and his 7-foot-4 associate, who could shrink... [More]

#75
Synopsis: A North Dakota teen suddenly has superpowers after wandering into his scientist neighbor's lab.... [More]

No Ordinary Family (2010)
73%

#74
Synopsis: A sci-fi drama about a family that develops superpowers after a plane crash in the Amazon. The patriarch, Jim, discovers... [More]

Alphas (2011)
87%

#73
Synopsis: A team of people with extraordinary abilities investigates crimes linked to others like them.... [More]

Heroes (2006)
49%

#72
Synopsis: A drama delving into the lives of people from around the world who have superpowers, which they use to prevent... [More]

The Batman (2004)

#71
Synopsis: The youthful Dark Knight battles the underworld in this animated adventure, which features several of his most notorious foes, including... [More]

#70
Synopsis: From Warner Bros. Animation, these teen titans are on the go! Right after they make a sandwich or play some... [More]

Synopsis: Superheroes, including Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, band together to fight evil.... [More]

#68
Synopsis: Heroes from the Marvel universe join forces to protect Super Hero City from a conglomerate of villains.... [More]

The Cape (2011)
41%

#67
Synopsis: An ex-cop takes on a superhero persona in this fantasy-based drama about a man fighting crime after being falsely accused... [More]

#66
Synopsis: Emmy-winning animation about the origins and maturation of the X-Men mutant superheroes, back when they were teens and first discovering... [More]

Danny Phantom (2004)

#65
Synopsis: Animation about a teen who suddenly acquires powers (like being able to fly or become invisible) after his father's botched... [More]
Directed By: Butch Hartman

#64
Synopsis: Cosmic radiation---with help from Marvel comic maestro Stan Lee---created this superhero quartet that consisted of Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman,... [More]

Witchblade (2001)
63%

#63
Synopsis: A New York policewoman brandishes a supernatural weapon to take down evildoers.... [More]

Synopsis: The comic-book hero comes to TV in a stylish, ultraviolent animated series. Todd McFarlane's creation set sales records when it... [More]

Synopsis: A sleek, sexy, Emmy-nominated 1990s take on the enduring superhero, culled from DC Comics, which has spawned numerous successful film... [More]

Synopsis: Teen superheroes travel back from the future to recruit Superman in their fight against evil in the 31st century.... [More]

Synopsis: By the power of Grayskull, a young prince was transformed into a muscle-bound action hero battling the sinister demon Skeletor.... [More]
Directed By: Steve Clark

#58
Synopsis: Superheroes Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Falcon battle evil.... [More]

Teen Titans (2003)
97%

#57
Synopsis: Fighting for truth, justice and the last slice of pizza, these five superheroes are living proof that you're never too... [More]

Future Man (2017)
82%

#56
Synopsis: A janitor is called upon to save humanity from alien invaders.... [More]

Synopsis: Brash adventurer Star-Lord defends the universe from its greatest threats.... [More]
Starring:

Synopsis: Earth's G-Force Squad, made up of five orphaned teens, fight enemy alien invaders from the dying planet Spectra, who are... [More]

The Gifted (2017)
77%

#53
Synopsis: A suburban couple's lives are rocked by the discovery that their children possess mutant powers, forcing the family to go... [More]

#52
Synopsis: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage team up to protect New York City.... [More]

Synopsis: Animated tales of Marvel Comics icons, including Captain America and the Incredible Hulk.... [More]
Starring:

Ben 10 (2005)

#50
Synopsis: Animated series about a boy who finds a gadget that can turn him into 10 different alien heroes.... [More]

Krypton (2018)
59%

#49
Synopsis: What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman's home planet, "Krypton" follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe),... [More]

Synopsis: The story revolves around Spiderman, Iceman and Firestar, who are college students from the Empire State Unversity. It shows how... [More]

Static Shock (2000)

#47
Synopsis: Animated adventures of a teen with electrical superpowers, based on the DC Comics character.... [More]

#46
Synopsis: High-schooler Peter Parker fights crime and tries to keep his identity as Spider-Man a secret while adjusting to teen pressures... [More]

#45
Synopsis: Two teens in a budding romance discover they both have special powers that complement each other's. Based on the Marvel... [More]

Synopsis: Hanna-Barbera cartoon about a caped superhero and a 10-year-old boy stuck in a prehistoric world.... [More]

Sailor Moon (1992)

#43
Synopsis: Japanese anime about a moody 14-year-old schoolgirl with magic powers who, aided by her friends the Sailor Scouts, combats evil.... [More]

Synopsis: The animated adventures of the man from Krypton and his alter-ego, Clark Kent.... [More]
Starring: Tim Daly, Dana Delany

Marvel's Runaways (2017)
85%

#41
Synopsis: Six teenagers with nothing in common join forces after discovering their parents are evil-doers.... [More]

#40
Synopsis: Adventures of the web-slinger.... [More]
Starring: Paul Soles, Peg Dixon

Synopsis: The Man of Steel battles `for truth, justice and the American way,' while his alter ego, Clark Kent, works as... [More]

#38
Synopsis: After exacting revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife and children, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) uncovers a... [More]

#37
Synopsis: A time-traveling rogue assembles a group of heroes and villains to prevent the world's destruction.... [More]

Synopsis: Batman fights evil in Gotham City and beyond, teaming up with various heroes from across the DC Comics universe.... [More]

#35
Synopsis: Adventures of the masked crimefighter and his assistant Kato that tried to duplicate the success of ABC's other dynamic superhero,... [More]

Synopsis: Animated crimefighting exploits of the part-human, part-turtle martial-arts masters, who also became film and merchandising stars and had a 30-minute... [More]

Synopsis: Superhero spoof about an inept crimefighter with superpowers given to him by aliens. Trouble is, he lost the instruction manual.... [More]

Chuck (2007)
89%

#32
Synopsis: From executive producer, Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") and executive producer-director McG ("Charlie's Angels," "We Are Marshall") comes a one-hour, action-comedy... [More]

Misfits (2009)
92%

#31
Synopsis: Following varying crimes a small group of "misfits" find themselves doing community service. When the group get caught in a... [More]

#30
Synopsis: Highly stylized cartoon about a great warrior who has been hurled into the future by an evil shape-shifting wizard called... [More]

The Maxx (0)
100%

#29
Synopsis: A hulking homeless man in a purple superhero getup protects a beautiful social worker named Julie. The 13-episode series is... [More]

#28
Synopsis: A highly stylized, popular cartoon about a trio of little-girl crime fighters with great strength and the ability to fly.... [More]

The Tick (2001)
88%

#27
Synopsis: In a live-action version of the cult comic book, a dedicated but dimwitted superhero fights crime, assisted by his sidekick,... [More]

The Middleman (2008)
100%

#26
Synopsis: Struggling artist Wendy Watson takes a job with a mysterious crimefighter called the Middleman, who fights otherworldly evil 'so you... [More]

The Tick (2016)
90%

#25
Synopsis: In a world where superheroes have been real for decades, an underdog accountant with zero powers comes to realize his... [More]

Super Friends (1973)

#24
Synopsis: Supervillains are brought down by the Justice League, made up of heroes Batman and Robin, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman,... [More]

Batman (1966)
92%

#23
Synopsis: POW! The Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder fight crime in Gotham City in this campy version of Bob Kane's... [More]

Wonder Woman (1976) (1975)
100%

#22
Synopsis: "With the strength of Hercules, the wisdom of Athena, the speed of Mercury and the beauty of Aphrodite, she's Wonder... [More]

Smallville (2001)
91%

#21
Synopsis: This modern retelling of the Superman mythology as an action series blends realism, adventure and emotion.... [More]

Batman Beyond (0)
100%

#20
Synopsis: From the ingenious team that brought audiences the Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series comes the continuing legend of The... [More]

Spider-Man (1994)

#19
Synopsis: The story of a brilliant student and part-time photographer Peter who dons his spider-man avatar.... [More]

Gotham (2014)
78%

#18
Synopsis: GOTHAM is an origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has... [More]

Black Lightning (2018)
98%

#17
Synopsis: A retired superhero is drawn back into his old lifestyle when his daughter seeks to serve justice to evil-doers. Based... [More]

#16
Synopsis: Talk about anger-management issues! Radiation turns a scientist into a raging green behemoth whenever he becomes agitated. Unable to control... [More]

Synopsis: An action-adventure series based on the Marvel Comics secret-intelligence organization headed by Agent Phil Coulson.... [More]

Legion (2017)
90%

#14
Synopsis: Legion follows the story of David Haller, a troubled young man who may be more than human. Since he was... [More]

#13
Synopsis: An action-adventure series following Peggy Carter as she does undercover work for Howard Stark while also holding down a routine... [More]

Marvel's Luke Cage (2016)
88%

#12
Synopsis: After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) becomes a fugitive trying... [More]
Directed By: Paul McGuigan

The Tick (1994)

#11
Synopsis: Animated tales of a 400-pound crimefighter dressed in a blue body stocking who assumes the role of superhero and protects... [More]

Marvel's Daredevil (2015)
88%

#10
Synopsis: A blind lawyer fights crime by day in the courtroom and by night as a superhero with extraordinary senses in... [More]

Supergirl (2015)
88%

#9
Synopsis: At 24, Kara Zor-El decides the time has come to embrace her superhuman abilities and fulfill her destiny as a... [More]

#8
Synopsis: Animated adventures of superheroes, including Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl.... [More]

Justice League (0)
95%

#7
Synopsis: In this action-packed adventure series, the world's greatest superheroes, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl and... [More]
Directed By: Dan Riba

Young Justice (2010)
94%

#6
Synopsis: From Warner Bros. Animation, this new series knows that being a teenager means having to prove yourself but what if... [More]

X-Men (1992)
87%

#5
Synopsis: A '90s update of Marvel Comics' mutant superheroes.... [More]

Arrow (2012)
89%

#4
Synopsis: Reinventing the DC Comics character, the Arrow is not a superhero but a hero every bit as dangerous as the... [More]

#3
Synopsis: A PTSD-stricken superhero hangs up her costume and opens her own detective agency in this superhero drama.... [More]

The Flash (2014)
89%

#2
Synopsis: Scientist Barry Allen acquires super speed through a freak accident and becomes known as the Fastest Man Alive in this... [More]

Synopsis: A moody Caped Crusader defends Gotham City against the usual suspects in this animated series inspired by director Tim Burton's... [More]

Tag Cloud

adventure Summer Sundance Now Dark Horse Comics PBS Writers Guild of America spy thriller Tumblr doctor who talk show SXSW cops Winter TV Winners Rock biography Ghostbusters Kids & Family Apple Musical CBS All Access TCA 2017 hist DirecTV Syfy El Rey Spike FX A&E E3 jamie lee curtis sports zombies Fox News streaming History 20th Century Fox APB zombie Mindy Kaling TLC robots 007 Pixar Sundance Video Games harry potter Logo composers 2016 Lucasfilm medical drama transformers 24 frames Year in Review Sneak Peek Pirates thriller Rocky Reality Competition Netflix SDCC crossover Country IFC Films Interview singing competition Ellie Kemper GoT Trailer Rom-Com Creative Arts Emmys FOX TNT TV BBC Starz finale NYCC mutant Premiere Dates romance MSNBC serial killer YouTube Premium Box Office Star Trek Amazon Cosplay police drama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt VICE TCA BET boxoffice technology Nat Geo GIFs Biopics Sci-Fi Warner Bros. Disney Channel First Look Sony Pictures Emmys what to watch unscripted CW Seed NBC TCM cinemax Thanksgiving Musicals E! DC Universe golden globes DC Comics Star Wars TIFF 21st Century Fox Columbia Pictures sitcom dc comiccon BBC America Awards ratings VH1 Fantasy CBS Marvel HBO YA science fiction cooking 2015 Acorn TV Podcast crime Lifetime Adult Swim Christmas Esquire Trivia American Society of Cinematographers period drama Infographic DC streaming service Super Bowl vampires Valentine's Day Holidays Calendar Paramount cults Pop Mystery Drama CMT Comic Book crime thriller war Paramount Network USA IFC RT History Action Comedy Central New York Comic Con Reality justice league Extras Oscars Election PaleyFest Opinion crime drama 45 WGN supernatural Watching Series Shondaland Comics on TV Nominations TV Land TBS Song of Ice and Fire festivals Horror docudrama Spring TV Martial Arts X-Men TruTV LGBTQ The Arrangement travel ABC The CW Toys Freeform San Diego Comic-Con Grammys SundanceTV 2017 Western blaxploitation See It Skip It Universal historical drama political drama President Marathons Teen FXX social media diversity Shudder MTV Polls and Games Food Network politics AMC based on movie Best and Worst ABC Family GLAAD Schedule dceu Cartoon Network Tomatazos aliens OWN Epix Red Carpet USA Network Hulu cats Superheroes CNN Superheroe Animation Lionsgate Photos Set visit Crackle anime Showtime Masterpiece Ovation Disney Comedy Character Guide Countdown Bravo Britbox dramedy National Geographic binge ITV psycho Certified Fresh Walt Disney Pictures Fall TV ESPN Music Nickelodeon YouTube Red discovery Mary Tyler Moore