Looking for love this Valentine’s Day, but stuck at home due to the state of the world? Look no further than these eight binge-worthy series you’re guaranteed to fall for before spring. From boundary-pushing superhero series like Black Lightning to nostalgic reboots like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Punky Brewster, this month has it all and then some. Arrowverse titles also make up another four of our 12 titles; you’ll want to watch episodes of Supergirl, Arrow, and more to prep for the series premiere of Superman & Lois. Read on to find out which Fresh titles should be on your binge list this month.
What it is: While he thought he had hung up his super suit and street-fighting days of yesteryear for good, Jefferson Pierce (now a school principal) brings his superpowered Black Lightning persona out of “retirement” as street gangs threaten his city.
Why you should watch it: If you’re a fan of the Greg Berlanti–led DC Comics universe on The CW, then you know what you’re in for here, and you’ll absolutely love Black Lightning. This series goes one step further than the usual fare, with its representation of black and LGBTQ superheroes on the small screen. Season 4 premieres Feb. 8 on The CW.
Commitment: Approx. 30 hours (for the first 3 seasons)
What it is: Nickelodeon rebooted its beloved ’90s kid horror series in 2019, and it now returns for a second six-part season with an all-new Midnight Society and monsters to match, lurking in the shadows.
Why you should watch it: If your immediate reaction to this anthological series’ titular question is a resounding “yes,” then you should probably change the channel. From showrunner JT Billings, the show follows a group of kids who call themselves the Midnight Society as they tell ghost stories around a campfire with increasingly horrific real-world consequences. Catch up on the first season of the reboot before the second season’s fresh horrors! Season 2, titled Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows, premieres Feb. 12 on Nickelodeon.
Commitment: Approx. 2 hours (for the first season of the reboot)
What it is: After the unexpected death of their father, estranged siblings Ralph-Angel (a conman fresh out of prison), Nova Bordelon (a New Orleans–based journalist and activist), and Charley Bordelon (an upper-class Los Angeles mother to a teenage son) move to rural Louisiana to claim their inheritance: hundreds of acres of sugarcane farmland.
Why you should watch it: Queen Sugar is the result of women both behind and in front of the camera joining their powers: executive producer Oprah Winfrey; executive producer, director, and writer Ava DuVernay; stars Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner; and other female directors for each episode of its four seasons. And their work isn’t the only stunning aspect of the series — sprawling locations under the Louisiana sun and timely discussions of racial prejudice, mass incarceration, juicy drama with characters you’ll love, and more make it a thought-provoking, must-watch. Season 5 premieres Feb. 16 on OWN.
Commitment: Approx. 55 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: This spinoff from the long-running The Fosters from creators Bradley Bredeweg, Joanna Johnson, and Peter Paige follows Callie and Mariana all grown up and moving to the City of Angels to pursue life as young professionals, Callie as a law clerk and Mariana as a software engineer. Of course, misadventures and growing pains ensue.
Why you should watch it: Good Trouble has the same tenderness and drama we came to love on The Fosters, along with some incisive takes and comedic observations on Gen Z life in a new city. Season 3 premieres Feb. 17 on Freeform.
Commitment: Approx. 23 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: This hour-long drama from creators Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi, and Matt Wolpert is framed around one question: What if the USSR beat the United States to the moon in 1969? Setting the series on the path of that alternative timeline, For All Mankind establishes an aspirational world where the space race never stopped, where women and racial minorities are soon invited to join NASA’s efforts, and more.
Why you should watch it: While it may at first feel familiar to other space dramas of the past, over the course of 10 episodes, this Joel Kinnaman–led adventure-drama carves its own, exciting niche in the genre. Now that it seems to have found its footing by the end of season 1, we’re excited for what’s next. Season 2 premieres Feb. 19 on Apple TV+.
Where to watch: Apple TV+
Commitment: Approx. 9 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Greg Berlanti and Todd Helbing are at it again as co-creators on Superman & Lois, a snapshot of domestic life for our favorite superhero and journalist as they’ve grown and settled down into marriage and kids. Of course, our central hero eats world-ending-baddies for breakfast, so expect more of that, too.
Why you should watch it: As we’ve seen time and again in The CW’s various DC Comics franchises, they’re at their best when leaning into the human character and real-world dramas of its heroes as much as they are the crime-fighting and world-saving. Superman & Lois is sure to deliver on that front, and Tyler Hoechlin’s take on the caped hero hasn’t steered us wrong yet. We’re recommending you catch up on his guest arcs on Supergirl before starting this one. And for those extra keen viewers, you can add in the crossover hours of Batwoman, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow for a total baker’s dozen of episodes. Superman & Lois premieres Feb. 23 on the CW.
Commitment: Approx. 9 hours for Hoechlin’s season 2, 4, and 5 guest arcs on Supergirl (episodes 2.1 “The Adventures of Supergirl,” 2.2 “The Last Children of Krypton,” 2.21 “Resist,” 2.22 “Nevertheless, She Persisted,” 4.9 “Elseworlds, Part 3,” and 5.9 “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One”) and appearances in Arrow (7.9 “Elseworlds, Part 2” and 8.8 “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Four”), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (5.1 “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Five”), The Flash (5.9 “Elseworlds, Part 1” and “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three”), and Batwoman (1.9 “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two”)
What it is: Created by the late John Singleton, Eric Amadio, and Dave Andron (the latter of whom serves as showrunner), Snowfall tells an L.A. story like we’ve never seen by dramatizing the rise and breakout of the city’s first crack epidemic in 1984 and its greater impact on American culture at large.
Why you should watch it: As riveting as it is eye-opening, this street crime series pulls no punches in its portrayal of the drug trade and its implications in both micro and macro spheres. Startling performances from its ensemble of relative newcomers also bring us into a world that until now has been left off narrative television — and they keep a hold on us there. Season 4 premieres Feb. 24 on FX.
Commitment: Approx. 22 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: In the classic series, a young Punky Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) finds refuge in a vacant apartment after being abandoned with her dog in a supermarket. The building’s manager Henry Warnimont (George Gaynes) befriends and eventually adopts her.
Why you should watch it: Twice Emmy-nominated in 1985 and ’86 for best children’s program, Punky Brewster is sure to hold some nostalgic real estate in the hearts of parents far and wide. Revisit the classic to get ready for the 10-episode revival, in which Frye again stars as Punky, who’s now an adult with kids of her own. (It worked for Fuller House, so why not here!?) The new series streams in full Feb. 25 on Peacock.
Commitment: Approx. 44 hours (for the original four seasons)
Fall TV is still in full swing this month, which means more and more shows for your viewing pleasure. While you decide which new ones to tune into, catch up on the 13 series below — all of which are Certified Fresh returnees with zombies, superheroes, and brainiacs to spare.
What it is: Elizabeth Olsen stars as Leigh Shaw, a widow in mourning who, unable to bear living in the apartment she shared with husband, quits her job as a magazine writer and moves in with her mother. What follows is a nuanced character study of those left behind in death’s wake.
Why you should watch it: It’s not easy to make a show on grief, much less sell it. But I’m Sorry for Your Loss is benefited by its thoughtful and thought-provoking scripts from playwright-turned-series creator Kit Steinkellner and nuanced, heartbreaking performances from Olsen, Janet McTeer as her mother, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s Kelly Marie Tran as her sister. Plus, it’s perfectly timed at just 30 minutes per episode. Season 2 premiered October 1 on Facebook Watch.
Where to watch: Facebook Watch
Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Co-created by Nick Kroll and featuring the voice talents of comedy heavy-hitters like John Mulaney, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, and Jenny Slate, Big Mouth is a coming-of-age series about awkward teens discovering their sexuality through the raging hormones of puberty.
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen plenty of naughty comedies in the past, but none of them excavate the triumphs and traumas of pubescent adolescence quite as fearlessly or uproariously as Big Mouth. Season 3 premieres in full on October 4.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 10.5 hours (for the first two seasons, plus a Valentine’s Day special)
What it is: The going’s rough and tough in this BBC and Netflix co-production from creator Stephen Knight. Charting the rise of the notorious Peaky Blinders gang in post-WWI England, the long-running drama is led by a never-better Cillian Murphy as the fearless, cold-blooded leader, Tommy Shelby.
Why you should watch it: Between its production design, its larger-than-life performances, and airtight writing and direction, this period series takes some big swings and lands each one. Murphy delivers as the icy Tommy, and Helen McCrory is stellar as the series’ hard-as-nails matriarch. Throw into the mix a strong, talent-heavy ensemble — including turns from the likes of Tom Hardy and Aidan Gillen — and Peaky Blinders earns its reputation as one of the best series that you just might be sleeping on. Season 5 premieres on October 4 on Netflix.
Commitment: Approx. 24 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: This decorated, mind-teaser of a series from creator Sam Esmail is at its core the story of Elliot, played by 2018 Oscar winner Rami Malek in a role that nabbed him an Emmy for best actor after season 1. Elliot is a mentally unstable (see: socially anxious, depressed, and drug-addicted) hacktivist recruited into “fsociety” by one Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Confused? Intrigued? Just watch it.
Why you should watch it: Over the course of three seasons, Mr. Robot has made it near-impossible to look away. Few other series today make for water-cooler fare at work, but Esmail — with the help of Malek, Slater, and an impressive supporting ensemble cast — taps into the cultural consciousness with a premise as timely as it is ambitious. Its fourth and final season premieres on October 6 on USA Network.
Commitment: Approx. 24 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: Ever wonder what the other surviving Kryptonians (what few of them are left) are up to while Superman is out there saving the world? Well, turns out his cousin, Kara Zor-El (aka Supergirl) is up to just about the same thing. This is her story.
Why you should watch it: It took until the second season for this DC Comics series to really nail down its tone on the CW with star Melissa Benoist and co., but there’s no doubt that it today ranks as one of the most formidable hour-long outings in the superhero comics-to-screen universe. Season 5 premieres on October 6 on The CW.
Commitment: Approx. 65 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: Don’t know what The Walking Dead is? You may want to check your pulse…
Why you should watch it: Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard’s post-apocalyptic premise of zombies walking the Earth and ending mankind as we know it, the acclaimed series developed by creator Frank Darabont indulges in gore and “what if” fascinations. These are characters brought to life with bone-deep precision from a stable of some of TV’s greatest talents. You just never know when your favorite will bite the dust, but that’s admittedly part of the fun, too. Tune into this season to catch Black Panther star Danai Gurira’s final outing. Season 10 premieres on October 6 on AMC.
Commitment: Approx. 98 hours (for the first nine seasons)
What it is: Inspired by the true story of former NFL-er Spencer Paysinger, this drama series from creator April Blair follows a talented high school football player from South L.A. who’s drafted to play for Beverly Hills — and the social and professional tensions that build when two worlds collide.
Why you should watch it: Hailed by the Hollywood Reporter the best new broadcast network drama of 2018, All American bears ingredients from some of our favorite teen and sports dramas of yesteryear while managing to stand out from the pack thanks to its central performances: newcomer Daniel Ezra as the recruited football star Spencer James and Taye Diggs as the NFL star-turned-Beverly Hills coach who sees a future in him. Season 2 premieres on October 7 on The CW.
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Grant Gustin is crime scene investigator–turned–crime scene vigilante Barry Allen (aka the Flash), a lightning-enhanced fastest man alive. The story follows Barry’s crime-fighting adventures alongside a group of friends with their own special abilities.
Why you should watch it: You don’t gain an adoring following like that of The Flash without bringing edge-of-your-seat comic-book action and suspense, lovable characters and story arcs, and pitch-perfect performances week to week. Equal parts charming and high-octane in all the right ways, this DC Comics offering keeps us coming back for more. Season 6 premieres on October 6 on The CW.
Commitment: Approx. 82 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: Riverdale is the latest TV adaptation of the beloved Archie comics of yore — only this time, it gets the CW treatment as a murder mystery–thriller with hot, live-action high schoolers played by KJ Apa, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, and Cole Sprouse. This is not your mom and dad’s Archie.
Why you should watch it: We’ll say it: Riverdale ranks among the best teen dramas to come out of primetime since Gossip Girl, and it deserves the viewership and brand ubiquity to match. It’s the classic Archie we know with a heaping serving of sex appeal and a dash of True Detective. What’s not to love? Season 4 premieres on October 9 on The CW.
Commitment: Approx. 42 hours (for the first three seasons)
What it is: Walter White is a high school chemistry professor who, after a terminal cancer diagnosis, begins cooking and selling methamphetamine to pay off his mounting medical bills and take care of his family. With that, what starts as a compelling enough premise in Vince Gilligan’s genre-defining character study builds to become one of the greatest series ever to grace the small screen.
Why you should watch it: As played by Bryan Cranston (who won a whopping five Emmys for the role), Walter White is one of the most iconic television characters of the 21st century. Meeting him mark for mark is Emmy winner Aaron Paul as his delinquent co-conspirator and cook, Jesse Pinkman. To watch the two of them play off each other while diving deeper into the underbelly of drugs and crime in New Mexico is about as good as TV gets. Binge all five groundbreaking seasons before its much-anticipated feature film bookend, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, premieres on October 11 on Netflix.
Commitment: Approx. 46.5 hours (for all five seasons)
What it is: Set in the fictional, titular Maine town and drawn from the expansive works of Stephen King, this anthology series from creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason uses characters both classic and new to re-imagine the author’s best works for the small screen. Season 1 was largely inspired by The Shawshank Redemption, while the second outing looks to pull from Misery.
Why you should watch it: With executive producers like King himself and blockbuster filmmaker J.J. Abrams at the helm, you know you’re in for some tricks along with your treats. And with Halloween right around the corner, the return of this hit horror series is sure to get you in the appropriate holiday spirit. Season 1 features standout performances from the likes of Andre Holland, Sissy Spacek, and Bill Skarsgård (himself a King-universe vet thanks to his Pennywise role in the record-breaking It films). Lizzy Caplan promises to light up the screen in season 2, which serves as something of a prequel or origin story for Misery’s demented nurse Annie Wilkes. Get a taste of the King-inspired mayhem before the new season’s October 23 premiere on Hulu.
Commitment: Approx. 8.5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Chuck Lorre knows TV, but we’ve never seen The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men mastermind tackle something quite like The Kominsky Method, a half-hour, single-cam comedy that follows an aging acting coach and his agent in contemporary Hollywood. Both a stinging comedy on the industry’s lasting truths and a revealing, humorous look at men of a certain age, the series racked up two Golden Globes earlier this year, including Best Musical or Comedy Television Series.
Why you should watch it: Few things have been more satisfying over the last few years than watching Hollywood heavy-hitters deliver career-best work on the small screen. Among them are Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as the central Sandy Kominsky and his longtime agent and friend Norman Newlander, respectively. The pair’s rat-a-tat everyman rapport goes down easy, even when they’re not on their best behavior. Season 2 premieres on October 25 on Netflix.
Where to watch it: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 4 hours (for the first season)
What it is: This acclaimed HBO comedy from creators John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky is the story of wunderkind coder Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) as he and partner Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller) struggle to get their startup off the ground during Northern California’s tech boom.
Why you should watch it: Few shows pack as many laughs-per-episode as Silicon Valley. Through its hilarious portrayal of a company on the rise, it also taps into the real-world “brotopia” of the West Coast’s tech industry in more than just name with an assortment of memorable (and in the case of Middleditch, Emmy-nominated) performances across the board. Its sixth and final season premieres on October 27 on HBO.
Commitment: Approx. 23 hours (for the first five seasons)
There’s a lot to binge up on going into this month — so let’s get right to it, shall we? Below, catch our roundup of 15 series boasting Certified Fresh seasons that are returning in October.
Why you should watch it: Few series can claim to have brought the situational comedy into the modern age, but with its fresh, incisive, and most of all hilarious take on contemporary life in New York city — while featuring a pair of gay men and their best girlfriends to match — Will & Grace is one of the series that did. The best episodes of last season prove a) why NBC revived this hit series and b) why it’s still essential viewing all these years later. Season 10 premieres Oct. 4.
Commitment: Approx. 77 hours
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen plenty of naughty comedies in the past, but none of them excavate the triumphs and traumas of pubescent adolescence quite as fearlessly or uproariously as Big Mouth. Season 2 premieres in full October 5.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 5 hours
Why you should watch it: Fresh off Amazon’s Emmys-sweep with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, now’s as good a time as ever to go back and discover some other standouts in the streaming service’s catalog. First thing we’d suggest is The Man in the High Castle. Epic and engrossing — not to mention timely — it takes viewers into an utterly foreign world that still hits a little too close to today’s political climate for comfort (the way that so many of TV’s very finest manage to do). Season 3 premieres October 5.
Where to watch: Amazon
Commitment: Approx. 20 hours
Why you should watch it: A refreshing take on Asian Americans for the small screen? Check. Well-earned laughs from a trio of talented young actors? Check. A heaping dose of ’90s nostalgia? Check. And the combined powers of the hilarious Park and Constance Wu (now of Crazy Rich Asians fame)? Check and check. Need we say more? Season 5 premieres October 5.
Commitment: Approx. 22 hours
Why you should watch it: Doctor Who is making a case for being one of those timeless sci-fi properties that’s earned a devout following akin to Star Wars or Star Trek. The decades-spanning series always finds ways to one-up itself, and with Jodie Whittaker appearing as the first female Doctor this season, there’s never been a better time to jump aboard. Season 11 premieres October 7 — to get ready, we recommend you begin with the 2005 relaunch.
Commitment: Approx. 90 hours
Why you should watch it: One of cable’s highest rated dramas returns with its season 9 premiere on October 7. Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard’s post-apocalyptic premise of zombies walking the Earth and ending mankind as we know it, the acclaimed series developed by creator Frank Darabont indulges in gore and “what if” fascinations. These are characters brought to life with bone-deep precision from a stable of some of TV’s greatest talents. You just never know when your favorite will bite the dust. (That’s admittedly part of the fun, too.)
Commitment: Approx. 86 hours
Why you should watch it: If you’re a fan of the Greg Berlanti–led DC Comics universe on The CW, then you know what you’re in for here, and you’ll love Black Lightning. But this series goes one step further by being an awesome first of its kind, spotlighting not only black superheroes on the small screen, but LGBTQ ones, as well. Season 2 premieres on October 8.
Commitment: Approx. 9.5 hours
Why you should watch it: You don’t gain an adoring following like that of The Flash without bringing edge-of-your-seat action and suspense, lovable characters and story arcs, and pitch-perfect performances week to week. Season 5 premieres October 8.
Commitment: Approx. 66 hours
Why you should watch it: We’ll say it: Riverdale ranks among the best teen dramas to come out of The CW since Gossip Girl, and it deserves the viewership and brand ubiquity to match. It’s the classic Archie we know with a heaping of sex appeal and a dash of True Detective. What’s not to love? Season 3 premieres October 10.
Commitment: Approx. 25.5 hours
Why you should watch it: Whatever you do, don’t be put off by the series’ title — even if you’ve got one! Starring as Rebecca, Rachel Bloom is a musical genius, concocting show-stopping comedic melodies inspired by the best of Broadway and Top 40 week after week. And as if the comedy’s song-and-dance wasn’t entertaining enough, it’s buoyed by excellent performances and tight, creative scripts that tackle everything from broken hearts to mental health. Last season got especially dark, and we love it all the more for continuing to break the mold. Season 4 premieres October 12.
Commitment: Approx. 30 hours
Why you should watch it: It took until the second season for this DC Comics series to really nail down its tone with star Melissa Benoist and crew, but there’s no doubt that it now ranks as one of the most formidable hour-long outings in the superheroic comics-to-screen universe. Plus some behind-the-scenes trivia: Benoist is fresh off a Broadway run as Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. We love a multi-talented Supergirl! Season 4 premieres October 14.
Commitment: Approx. 45 hours
Why you should watch it: Arrow is the series that first kickstarted the DC Comics universe for Berlanti and The CW, and for six seasons now, it hasn’t let up the fun. Season 7 premieres October 15.
Commitment: Approx. 102 hours
Why you should watch it: Creator Kenya Barris is one of those writers who just goes there. Even in what some would call the confines of network TV — which, incidentally, has been seen pushing up against him this last year — he conjures stories in the sitcom structure that are resonant, timely, and fearless. Plus, they’ll make you laugh, too! Tracy Ellis Ross and Anderson are especially show-stealing. Season 5 premieres October 16.
Commitment: Approx. 35 hours
Why you should watch it: As the first Marvel original series venture on Netflix, Daredevil had a lot buzz and high expectations to live up to. We’re glad to report that it did and then some. Certainly among the best-executed comic adaptations for TV to date, it’s gritty, character-driven, and entertaining. Watch the first two seasons followed by The Defenders season 1 before diving into Daredevil season 3, which premieres Oct. 19.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 34 hours
Why you should watch it: When Ray Donovan premiered on Showtime in 2013, it promised the arrival of an exciting new anti-hero. It’s since stayed true to that promise and hasn’t let up, bringing us into the hidden underbelly of Los Angelean elite and slowly unveiling the many layers of a complicated and troubled man. Season 6 premieres October 28.
Commitment: Approx. 52 hours
(Photo by ABC/Kurt Iswarienkio; Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani; Cara Howe/Netflix; Richard Ducree/The CW; Katie Yu/The CW)
Sometimes the major heroes of television shows based on comic books just need some support. It can be in the form of a best friend, a worthy opponent, a character to carry a secondary plot or someone just to be there and literally tell the main character that they’re doing a great job. Characters can start out as the latter and emerge as fan favorites. They can also remain on the periphery of the frame, offering commentary or a key piece of info. And then there are also a few who are just criminally underutilized.
So let’s celebrate the characters who help make the heroes look good, be they guests, recurring parts, or reliable presences. Here are a few of the best supporting characters in 2018.
In some ways, it is a cheat to bring the superlative Carl Lumbly onto Supergirl as J’onn J’onzz’s (David Harewood) father M’yrrn. But as Lumbly defined the role of the Martian Manhunter on television – he voiced J’onn in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series – it was also fitting to bring that persona of dignity and gravitas to the part.
In doing so, it opened up M’yrnn to a wealth of new experiences and some of the best moments in Supergirl’s third season. His delight in discovering coffee, his karaoke night with the gang, and J’onn’s attempt to give them more of a family life by moving them both out of the DEO and into an apartment all revealed added and welcome dimensions for both characters. Sadly, Lumbly and M’yrnn were not to be permanent additions, as the writing team saw fit to almost immediately give the character a degenerative brain disease. But even as that story line continued to its inevitable conclusion, both performer and character embraced their scripted fate with dignity and a performance far beyond the material as written.
As opposed to his comic-book counterpart, it is easy to imagine the Herr Starr of AMC’s Preacher would like a quiet retirement. Despite being the most efficient and ruthless agent of The Grail, the strain it puts on him is easy to see even as he carries out its directives. It is also the underlying reason why he’d rather see Jesse (Dominic Cooper) become the Messiah over The Grail’s inbred scion Humperdoo (Tyson Ritter). Granted, any sane person would make that choice as well, even in the insane world of the show.
But for all his motivations and skills, the guy can’t catch a break and finds himself forever at Jesse’s heels, even when he should have the upperhand. That said, it seems he finally has a way to hold sway over Jesse thanks to a deal with Gran’ma Marie (Betty Buckley) and the ever-present carrot of Jesse’s Genesis-infused soul. Will he finally get everything he wants exactly how he wants it?
Well, if the show follows even just 10 percent of Starr’s story from the comics, it seems unlikely. Nonetheless, it makes Starr the best of the supporting foils on Preacher.
As the top lawman in Purgatory, Sheriff Nedly would like nothing more than to see the town resume its sleepy ways. But that’s really a front, as he has always known Purgatory and the surrounding Ghost River Triangle is a magnet for supernatural happenings. He does his best to keep the strange incidents Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) and her friends get into from becoming public knowledge. And while initially standoffish with Black Badge Division agent Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson), he ultimately embraced his presence as another line of defense against the demonic forces in the region. He also proved to be an able mentor to Officer Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell), a woman who, like Nedly, seems destined to tangle with the unexplained.
And yet, Nedly faces those horrors with a quip and that gruff, irritable manner we saw in the first season — even if he has become something of a teddy bear to the main cast. He faced down the widows of Sheriff Clootie by asking if they were Pokemon and had, perhaps, the best reaction to being glamored by vampires by dropping his irascible facade entirely and embracing an ascot. Nedly may not be a constant presence on the show, but he is definitely welcome whenever he appears.
(Photo by David Giesbrecht/Netflix)
Malcolm has come so far since his days as Killgrave’s (David Tennant) victim and Jessica’s (Krysten Ritter) junkie neighbor; in fact, this may even be the last time he will still be considered a “supporting character.”
While The Defenders and the early parts of Jessica Jones’ second season saw him dutifully fulfilling his self-appointed role as her sidekick, we soon saw Malcolm’s own innate detective skills and sense of justice leading him away from Jessica. In his spare time, he replaced his drug habit with a long string of hook-ups, leading to a one-night stand with Trish (Rachael Taylor) that both seemed to regret in the end.
And though moving away from Jessica as a truly supporting player, his emerging B-Plot highlighted one of Jessica’s big faults – her inability to embrace people – while defining him as one of the best characters in the second season. Sadly, his success meant he had to leave Alias Investigations entirely for a rival P.I. firm and stealing away Jessica’s best client, Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Anne Moss). Hopefully, it will work out for Malcolm and, just maybe, he and Jessica will mend things before too long.
(Photo by )
When Ashe was first announced as a new permanent member of the Legends team, the character was said to be something of a foil for the established characters. But when she finally debuted, she quickly went from criticizing the ne’er-do-wells’ habit of making situations worse to munching on kettle corn while watching them do it. But considering she came from a 2042 in which A.R.G.U.S. turned the United States into an anti-metahuman police state in which food was scarce, it makes absolute sense she would abuse the Waverider’s food replicator and collection of video games.
Though haunted by the death of her brother in 2041 and stand-offish with the team for the first few months, Zari finally embraced them as friends after spending an incalculable amount of time inside a time-loop which reset with the Waverider exploding. While still sarcastic and occasionally emotionally distant, Zari accepted the ship as home, aiding the team in fashioning a Beebo doll powerful enough to stop the demon Mallus.
And even though the treat to her life from Mallus was over, she choose to remain with the Legends. We’re definitely glad she did.
(Photo by Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)
Making her presence felt in the second episode of Cloak & Dagger as an almost completely silent detective, O’Reilly quickly distinguished herself as an upstanding officer of the law. With a keen eye for detection — she knew almost instantly that Tandy Bowen’s (Olivia Holt) first stabbing was in self-defense — and a true sense of justice — she chaffed after being told she could not pursue Tandy’s case any further — she quickly became Tandy and Tyrone Johnson’s (Aubrey Joseph) only real support; in fact, she was more supportive of the two than they were of each other.
When neither the light-wielding Tandy nor the darkness-controlling Tyrone could turn to their parents, she became the go-to adult. But as viewers saw, her willingness to bend some laws for a greater good or even do a line of coke for pleasure and business suggests she is more than just a good cop, making her a rough balance of the Johnsons’ tendency toward precise order and Melissa Bowen’s (Andrea Roth) love affair with chaos. Created by Bill Mantlo in the first issue of Cloak & Dagger in 1985, O’Reilly was always a supporting character for the duo. Including after she died and became something else – a change in status seemingly teased in the closing moments of the show’s first season.
For some, The Walking Dead never quite worked because Morgan was missing for so long. Debuting in the first episode as a distraught man readying himself to shoot his zombified wife’s corpse, James made a staggering impression in what was his only appearance until a single episode in season 3. The character remained alive in the story via a walky-talky and Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) constant attempts to give him some clue of where his group was headed.
But when the pair finally reunited in season 5, Morgan was a changed man. His journey to Alexandria was not an easy one, and it saw his strength collapse into profound grief over the loss of his family and a willingness to kill anyone who got in his way. Eventually, he met a man who helped him recover some of his humanity. After which, he choose to find Rick.
Despite learning a way of peace, events since joining Rick’s group have led him back to violence. Still suffering from PTSD, the control Morgan thought he had wavered in the face of the world Rick and other groups were building. Consequently, he began to kill again and later suffered hallucinations of some of his victims. When last seen, Morgan appeared ready to leave the group and heal.
Now, on Fear the Walking Dead, Morgan is maintaining his wish to be alone while healing, even if he’s coming to understand that isolation is just not practical. To those he encounters, he’s something of a soothsayer, but it may just be a matter of time before Morgan resumes the way of violence.
(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW)
If there is one character on Riverdale who genuinely remains in the support category, it’s Kevin Keller. While presented as important part of the gang – he is Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) confidant – he is not one of the main four and often finds himself either aiding Betty or offering quippy commentary on the events of the week while passing through the halls of Riverdale High. Early in the second season, the Black Hood story line dovetailed with Kevin’s penchant for cruising, but it was dropped before anything truly meaningful could come of it, and that’s despite Kevin’s decision to come out to his father.
Nonetheless, Kevin is always around to back up the gang or literally set the stage with his production of Carrie: The Musical. And his continued presence as a supporting player may be rewarded in the third season as he and Josie (Ashleigh Murray) – another underutilized character – find themselves living under one roof when their parents decide they should become a family. Hopefully, it will lead to more of a presence for Kevin (and Josie) going forward.
After all these years, it is difficult to remember a time when Mack was an agent of a rival version of S.H.I.E.L.D., looking to steal Nick Fury’s Toolbox from Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). But as the show looked back on itself during season 5, Mack’s original status on the show underscores where he is now – the resident healthy skeptic. Even after traveling through time, experiencing another life in a computer and becoming possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance, Mack is always the first to call shenanigans on any new ridiculous threat or tech the team encounters.
But even as a plant, Mack endeared himself quickly by becoming Fitz’s (Iain De Caestecker) interpreter while he recovered from brain trauma and an indispensable part of Coulson’s core team when the two S.H.I.E.L.D.s merged late in the second season. Not that it’s been easy for him. He’s tried to quit multiple times and always ends up with more responsibilities as a consequence. He also carries the memory of a child he lost in real life and in that computer simulation, and his relationship with Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) has hit one of its roughest patches going into the sixth season. Through it all, Mack perseveres, though. Sometimes thanks to his faith — he’s also the only truly religious member of the team — and sometimes because he’s the guy holding the shotgun-axe.
Though Black Lightning is still a young series – its first season ran 13 episodes – it worked hard to get to places some of its CW brethren would reach far later in their runs. Consequently, the show opens with a team practically assembled already – the Pierce family; in fact, a threat to the family forces Jefferson (Cress Williams) into taking up his Black Lightning identity again.
But in the subsequent weeks, younger daughter Jennifer distinguished herself as a character to watch. While headstrong, she is not necessarily bratty. And in those times when her antics are the legitimate actions of a brat, she always finds a way to square things with Jefferson, her mother Lynn (Christine Adams) or older sister Anissa (Nafessa Williams). Despite being the odd one out in the family, the bond she felt for them was strong and always workable. And that’s before the onset of her powers.
Once her abilities emerged, and her family learned about them, Jennifer became one of the most intriguing characters on the show because she did not want them. Finally revealing that she wants “a normal life,” she took a key step toward maturity and defining who she will be even as it seems she has embraced her powers.
While much of the talk about Luke Cage’s second season centered on new villain John McIver — aka Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir) — the show-stealing Mariah Dillard elevated the program in unexpected ways; for one, Bushmaster’s real conflict was with the former councilwoman and criminal mastermind. Luke (Mike Colter) just kept pushing his way into the crossfire. The character’s attempts to go legitimate underscored the legacy of her grandmother and the ugly truth about her daughter Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis), revealing the real theme of the season while also giving Mariah a layered relationship with Shades (Theo Rossi). As Bushmaster unraveled Mariah’s schemes and pushed her closer and closer to the Stokes legacy, so too did Mariah’s ability to maintain her composure and lie convincingly to those closest to her.
Add a legitimately award-worthy performance by Woodard and you get a stunningly complex look at a woman on the brink of getting everything she wanted, but failing to get it or the peace she was really looking to find. Even in her final acts, she chose to be vindictive instead of resolving her remaining grief with Luke or Tilda.
(Photo by © Warner Bros.)
Neil Blomkamp is reassembling RoboCop, Joaquin Phoenix is getting his own Joker movie, and Robin is about to lead the Titans on streaming. That’s the great thing about our favorite characters: they’re never really gone – someone new can always bring them back. But how many of these adaptations really capture what we love about our favorite characters? And which adaptations do it best?
To find out, we took a deep look at 15 characters who have had at least five different versions of them made, and which have current or upcoming adaptations on the way. For some who’ve had dozens (thanks to public domain), we stuck to the 10 most famous versions. If a role was just recast during the same series – as opposed to a wholly new take – we counted them together. For each character, we also found their highest Tomatometer-rated portrayal – the ultimate arbiter of which version is the best (and likely the ultimate argument-starter among those who disagree!).
(Photo by © Orion/courtesy Everett Collection)
Number of RoboCops: 6
All the RoboCops: Original Trilogy (Peter Weller/Robert Burke), 1988 animated series (voice of Dan Hennessey), 1994 RoboCop TV Series (Richard Eden), RoboCop: Prime Directives TV series (Page Fletcher), 2014 RoboCop (Joel Kinnaman), Neil Blomkamp RoboCop (TBD)
The Best RoboCop: RoboCop (1987) 90%
No surprise, the original 1987 RoboCop is still rated highest. But we would never bet against Neil Blomkamp giving that version a run for its money.
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite RoboCop
(Photo by ©Warner Home Video)
Number of Jokers: 17 and counting
10 Most Famous Jokers: ‘60s TV Series (Cesar Romero), 1989 Batman (Jack Nicholson), Batman: The Animated Series including Mask of the Phantasm and crossover films and series (voice of Mark Hamill), The Batman (voice of Kevin Michael Richardson), The Dark Knight (Heath Ledger), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (voice of Jeff Bennett), Suicide Squad (Jared Leto), The LEGO Batman Movie (Zach Galifianakis), Joker Origin Movie (Joaquin Phoenix), Martin Scorsese-Produced Joker Movie (Leonardo DiCaprio)
The Best Joker: Batman: The Animated Series
At 97%, Batman: The Animated Series edges out even The Dark Knight’s 94% if we judge versions purely by Tomatometer. Morgan Jeffery of Digital spy praised the show’s voice cast, saying, “On top of its beautiful visuals and vocals, Batman also boasted a tone far more adult than one might expect from a comic book cartoon.” Hamill’s Joker is so acclaimed that he continued voicing him in many animated incarnations. However, as live-action Jokers go, Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal is hard to top. Will Phoenix or DiCaprio do it?
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Joker
(Photo by © Warner Bros.)
Number of Batmans: 17 (including a radio show) and counting
10 Most Famous Batmans: ’60s Batman TV series (Adam West), The Batman/Superman Hour/Super Friends (voice of Olan Soule), Burton/Schumacher film series (Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney), Batman: The Animated Series through Justice League Unlimited (voice of Kevin Conroy), Batman Beyond (voice of Will Friedle), The Dark Knight trilogy (Christian Bale), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Diedrich Bader), Gotham (David Mazouz), DCEU (Ben Affleck), LEGO Movies (voice of Will Arnett), The Batman (TBA)
The Best Batman: Batman Beyond 100%
Batman earned his highest Tomatometer score in the futuristic Batman Beyond with 100%. EW’s Ken Tucker said, “The new, black-winged, red-blooded Batman on display Saturday mornings will have you pouring a steaming mug of coffee and shouldering aside any nearby children to catch all the fresh fun and action.” In the live-action realm, Christian Bale’s Dark Knight trilogy is the most consistently Fresh Batman series with a high of 94% for The Dark Knight.
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Batman
(Photo by © Lionsgate)
Number of Robin Hoods: Dozens
The 10 Most Famous Robin Hoods: 1922 Robin Hood (Douglas Fairbanks), The Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn), Disney’s Robin Hood (voice of Brian Bedford), Robin and Marian (Sean Connery), Time Bandits (John Cleese), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Kevin Costner), Robin Hood (Patrick Bergin), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (Cary Elwes), 2010 Robin Hood (Russell Crowe), 2018 Robin Hood (Taron Egerton)
The Best Robin Hood: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 100%
With 100%, Errol Flynn is hands-down the most acclaimed Robin Hood. Not bad considering Rotten Tomatoes didn’t exist yet in 1938! But our critics still respect the classic, with Village Voice’s Elliott Stein commenting, “Movie pageantry at its best, done in the grand manner of silent spectacles, brimming over with the sort of primitive energy that drew people to the movies in the first place.”
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Robin Hood
(Photo by ©Walt Disney Pictures)
Number of Mulans: 15
The 10 Most Famous Mulans: Hua Mulan Joins The Army (Hu Shan), Lady General Hua Mu Lan (Ivy Ling Po), The Saga of Mulan (Bai Shuxian), Disney Mulan franchise (voice of Ming-Na), The Secret of Mulan (uncredited voice), A Tough Side of a Lady (Mariane Chan), Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (Zhao Wei), Once Upon a Time (Jamie Chung), Live-Action Disney Mulan (Liu Yifei), Alex Graves-directed Mulan (TBD)
The Best Mulan: Mulan (1998) 86%
Since most of the Chinese film and television productions of the Mulan story weren’t available to international critics, the Disney Mulan currently wins on the Tomatometer by default. Film Journal International’s Wendy Weinstein wrote, “it is in the subtlety of its characters’ ‘acting’ that Mulan excels” and it does have an 86% Fresh rating. We have every hope for the upcoming live-action renditions, too.
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Mulan
(Photo by ©Walt Disney)
Number of Tinker Bells: Dozens
10 Most Famous Tinker Bells: 1924 Peter Pan (Virginia Browne Faire), Disney’s Peter Pan/Return to Neverland (Silent), 1960 Peter Pan (stage light), Hook (Julia Roberts), Peter Pan (Ludivine Sagnier), Neverland (Keira Knightley), Tinker Bell film series (voice of Mae Whitman), Peter Pan Live (CGI), Once Upon a Time (Rose McIver), Live-Action Tinker Bell (Reese Witherspoon)
The Best Tinker Bell: Tinker Bell (2008) 90%
Tinker Bell’s solo movie is even fresher than the original Disney Peter Pan, and subsequent sequels are Fresh too. The L.A. Times’ Michael Ordona wrote, “To its target audience, it will be another self-empowerment fable with loads of imagination and colorful, painterly images (and a keen marketing blast for Disney fairies).” The 1924 film is praised unanimously by a handful of critics, so it’s worth seeking out.
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Tinker Bell
(Photo by © The CW)
Number of Portrayals: 16 (including radio)
10 Most Famous Superman: Live-action serials (Kirk Alyn), Superman and the Mole Men + The Adventures of Superman (George Reeves), Superman: The Movie through Superman Returns (Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh), Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (Dean Cain), Superman: The Animated Series (voice of Tim Daly), Smallville (Tom Welling), Warner Animation Superman films (voices of Adam Baldwin, Kyle MacLachlan, Tim Daly, Mark Harmon, James Denton, Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, Matt Bomer, Sam Daly, Alan Tudyk, Jerry O’Connell, Benjamin Bratt), DCEU (Henry Cavill), Supergirl (Tyler Hoechlin), Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (voice of Nicolas Cage)
The Best Superman: Superman: The Movie (1978) 94%
You never forget your first Superman, so the franchise that began with Christopher Reeve’s 94% Fresh Superman: The Movie remains the most acclaimed. As recently as this May, The Times UK’s Ed Potton called Reeve “manlier and steelier than recent portrayals by Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill.” John J. Puccio of Movie Metroplis (appropriate name) said of Reeve “the casting department found someone with just the right charisma to pull it off.” Recently, Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal of Kal El on a few episodes of Supergirl earned new raves. Digital Spy’s Morgan Jeffery says, “Tyler Hoechlin is the best live-action Man of Steel since the sorely underrated Dean Cain hung up his tights.” TV Fanatic’s Stacy Glanzman agrees that Hoechlin “nailed it.” Give him a few more seasons and see if he can catch up to Reeve!
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Superman
Number of Different James Bonds: 006
All the James Bonds: “Casino Royale” episode of Climax (Barry Nelson), EON Film Series (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig), Casino Royale comedy (Peter Sellers, David Niven, Woody Allen), “The British Hero” episode of Omnibus (Christopher Cazenove in re-enactments), Never Say Never Again (Sean Connery), James Bond Jr. (voice of Corey Burton)
The Best Portrayal: Goldfinger (1964) 99%
It’s the long-running EON films version of the character, obviously. At its height, these films scored a 97%. Roger Ebert remarked of Goldfinger and the franchise, “it is a great entertainment, and contains all the elements of the Bond formula that would work again and again.” Now, whether you pick Daniel Craig or Sean Connery as your favorite from this version…we’ll let that debate continue among Bond fans.
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite James Bond
(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Number of Portrayals: 13 including Marvel animated guest appearances
10 Most Famous Hulks: The Marvel Super-Heroes (voice of Max Ferguson), The Incredible Hulk TV series (Lou Ferrigno), The Incredible Hulk animated series (voice of Bob Holt), The Marvel Action Hour (voice of Ron Perlman), The Incredible Hulk (voice of Neal McDonough), episodes of Iron Man: Armored Adventures (voice of Mark Gibbon), Superhero Squad Show (voice of Travis Willingham), Hulk (Eric Bana), MCU (Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo), The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes through Avengers Assemble and appearances on Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man (voice of Fred Tatasciore)
The Best Portrayal: Marvel's the Avengers (2012) 91%
With a 92%, The Avengers‘ incarnation of Hulk smashes the rest – and the MCU version as a whole, including Ed Norton and Mark Ruffolo’s tale,s has a Fresh average of 81.8% . The animated Earth’s Mightiest Heroes scores higher even than The Avengers, but with only five reviews, we’re still giving the title to the MCU’s Hulk Matt Brunson of Creative Loafing said when reviewing The Avengers, “The scene-stealer is Ruffalo, who provides Bruce Banner with a soulfulness missing in the portrayals by Bana and Norton.” Even CNN’s Tom Charity singled out the Hulk among other Avengers, saying, “Never underestimate the entertainment value of the Hulk Smash.”
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Hulk
(Photo by © Columbia)
Number of Spider-Man: 16
The 10 Most Famous Spider-Men: The Amazing Spider-Man (Nicholas Hammond), Spider-Man (voice of Christopher Daniel Barnes), Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (voice of Neil Patrick Harris), Ultimate Spider-Man and LEGO Marvel (voice of Drake Bell), Sam Raimi Trilogy (Tobey Maguire), Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 (Andrew Garfield), Turn Off The Dark (Reeve Carney and Justin Matthew Sargeant), LEGO Spider-Man (voice of Jackson Buffington), (MCU/Homecoming (Tom Holland), Into the Spider-verse (Jake Johnson and Shameik Moore)
Best Spider-Man: Spider-Man 2 (2004) 93%
With a peak at Spider-Man 2’s 93%, the Sam Raimi trilogy remains the most critically acclaimed Spider-Man films (Holland’s appearances in Captain America: Civil War and Homecoming comess close though.) AP’s Christy Lemire praised the series when reviewing the second film: “The web-slinging sequences are bigger-better-brighter-faster than the already spectacular ones in 2002’s Spider-Man, and at the same time, the film’s smaller emotional moments are denser, richer and more resonant than those in the first.”
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Spider-Man
(Photo by © The CW)
Number of Jugheads: 7
All the Jugheads: Radio show (voices of Hal Stone, Cameron Andrews and Arnold Stang), The Archie Show and spinoffs (voice of Howard Morris), The New Archies (voice of Michael Fantini), Archie’s Weird Mysteries (voice of Chris Lundquist), 1976 Archie pilot and ’78 special Archie Situation Comedy Musical Variety Show (Derrel Maury), Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (Sam Whipple), Riverdale (Cole Sprouse)
Best Jughead: Riverdale 84%
Riverdale has a series Tomatometer score of 88%, crowning Cole Sprouse as the best Jughead. It’s also the only take who’s been reviewed enough to have a Tomatometer score, but we have a feeling this CW fan favorite would likely win against his animated competition even if the data was there.
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Jughead
Number of He-Men: 5
All the He-Men: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (voice of John Erwin), Masters of the Universe (Dolph Lundgren), The New Adventures of He-Man (voice of Garry Chalke and Doug Parker), 2002 series (Cam Clarke), New Live-Action Film In Development
Best He-Man: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 100%
Boy, did all the Tomatometer critics grow up on the weekday afternoon cartoon in the ’80s, or what? Well, this one may still be up for grabs if they make a really cool live-action movie, but for now the original cartoon is the master. Nerdist’s Rosie Knight puts it in perspective saying, “Beloved for many reasons. There’s the notoriously rushed production… giving it a unique and charming look. It’s also revered for its vision of a kid friendly techno-barbarian landscape.”
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite He-Man
(Photo by © Netflix)
Number of Punishers: 6
All The Punishers: 1989 The Punisher (Dolph Lundgren), Spider-Man: The Animated Series (voice of John Beck), 2004 The Punisher (Thomas Jane), Punisher: War Zone and Super Hero Squad Show (Ray Stevenson), Netflix series (Jon Bernthal), Avengers Assemble episode “Planet Doom” (uncredited)
Best Punisher: Marvel's Daredevil: Season 2 (2016) 81%
Bernthal remains the only certified Fresh Punisher, and his stint on Daredevil season 2 bested even his own series (though Marvel’s The Punisher is still Fresh). New York Observer’s Vinnie Mancuso singles out Bernthal’s haunted portrayal, “Jon Bernthal is the perfect Punisher because there is zero fun in his performance.”In reviewing Daredevil‘s second season, Aggressive Comix’s Steph Cozza adds, “The Punisher is the true MVP here.”
Poll: Vote for Your favorite Punisher
(Photo by © Toho Films)
Number of Godzillas: 9
All the Godzillas: 31 Toho Films, Hanna-Barbera Godzilla, Godzillaland, Godzilla Island, 1998 Godzilla, Godzilla: The Series, Nike commercial with Charles Barkle, Legendary Films’ Godzilla, Netflix Godzilla
The Best Godzilla: Godzilla (1954) 93%
With a 93% for the classic Gojira and seven more Fresh movies in the franchise, nobody’s done Godzilla better than Toho. The Washington Post’s Stephen Hunter put it best in 2004 when he said, “Its images of the destruction of the cities is far more powerful than in American films, where the cities are trashed for the pure pleasure of destruction, without any real sense of human loss.”
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Godzilla
Number of Kongs: 9
All the Kongs: 1933 King Kong and Son of Kong (stop motion animation), 1966 King Kong animated series, King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes, 1976 King Kong (voice of Peter Cullen) and King Kong Lives (Peter Elliott), Kong: The Animated Series and Return to the Jungle, 2005 King Kong (Andy Serkis), Kong: King of Atlantis, Kong: King of the Apes (voice of Lee Tockar), Legendary King Kong (Toby Kebbell)
The Best Kong: King Kong (1933) 98%
Certified Fresh at 98%, the original 1933 Kong is still King (its sequel, rushed into release later in 1933, not so much). Robert Ebert explained why it still works nearly a century later, writing that “there is something ageless and primeval about King Kong that still somehow works.”
Poll: Vote for Your Favorite King Kong
There are many more characters who’ve been portrayed over and over again. Who are your favorites? Tell us in the comments.
(Photo by )
For decades, the might of various superheroes has led to good-natured discussions and drag-out fights in comic book shops and playgrounds all over the country. Often, those conversations get muddled as the strength of a character, like Batman, gets wrapped up in his martial arts prowess or other skills. True strength often gets lost in the fun of building scenarios in which Venom fights Superman.
But the notion of super-strength becomes more compelling as television can finally dramatize the ability in interesting and fairly inexpensive ways. As Luke Cage executive producer and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker told Rotten Tomatoes recently, titular star Luke Cage (Mike Colter) can easily pick up a Volkswagen. It is a point referenced throughout the show’s second season whenever anyone mentions Luke’s strength. Since the classic Volkswagen Beetle weighs roughly 1,800 lbs. – the newer models weigh in closer to 3,000 lbs. – it gives us a good measure to compare his strength to some of television other super-strength heroes.
While Luke might be the strongest man in Harlem, is he the strongest of the strong?
Thanks to the image of the Volkswagen and an early episode in the second season in which ESPN watches Luke train, we know exactly how strong he can be. Besides being told he can pick up car, viewers see him toss a 400 lbs. tractor tire as though it were a standard basketball. Heavy steel doors present him with little challenge, and he seems to take a special pleasure in ripping doors off of cars to use as an impromptu discus or shield for his non-bulletproof allies. All of which reveals a sort of strength that is impressive while still feeling relatively grounded. His comic book counterpart is said to be able to lift as much as 50,000 lbs, making the TV Luke far weaker, but definitely strong enough in the context of the show.
Also, it should be noted his strength is an upgrade from where he started in the first seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. As referenced early in the second season, he received an added boost of strength, speed and durability after Claire (Rosario Dawson) and Dr. Burstein (Michael Kostroff) used the technique which first gave him powers to revive him late in the first season.
(Photo by Universal Television/courtesy Everett Collection)
While in theory, the Incredible Hulk is capable of infinite strength, the late 1970s CBS television series could only take that strength so far. He could burst through brick walls, bend steel with his green hands and, quite infamously, throw a grizzly bear (around 600 lbs.) across a lake. He also had a habit of lifting and overturning Buick Skylarks, a popular model of cars in film and television at the time, weighing in at 3,000 lbs.
Oddly enough, that makes the Ferrigno version of the Hulk roughly as strong as Luke. Granted, demonstrations of the Hulk’s strength were limited by the show’s budget. The Hulk was also known to push farming equipment around and leap from four-story buildings. Those feats could push him into a higher tier of strength, but the tendency to get mad and throw around Skylarks keeps him in the relatively contained tier of Luke Cage.
The current Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe definitely reaches closer to the infinite potential of his comic book counterpart, talking on giant wolf Fenris and other impressive creatures in Thor: Ragnarok. But as seen in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos proved a formidable foe. Perhaps in the next Avengers film, Hulk will prove he is the strongest by far.
As the keeper of the Spirit Totem, Amaya Jiwe has access to a great variety of abilities beyond those seen on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. She can derive enhanced senses, endurance, and speed in addition to creating energy shields and projections of animals capable of interacting with the world. It would be the most powerful object in the Arrowverse if not for the fact it can only call on the spirit of one animal at a time.
With that in mind, Amaya’s tendency to call on the spirit of the gorilla seems like a good way to measure her potential strength. A gorilla can lift 10 times its body weight – around 4,000 lbs. with some estimates going as high as 4,600 lbs. Presumably, the gorilla spirit is the ideal of gorilla fitness, giving Amaya an impressive amount of power to take on the likes of Grodd. The totem bearer can also call upon the spirit of other strong animals like lions, bears, and rhinos. The latter may make Vixen an incredibly powerful hero, provided she was willing to cause that level of destruction.
Jessica Jones still appears to be stronger than Luke, even with the boost to his lifting ability. Granted, she uses that strength in purely practical ways with the big feats of strength — like moving cars out of her way — used more as jokes. Nonetheless, she has no problem throwing sedans around (3,000-4,000 lbs.).
But the key difference between them appears on leg day. It is key to Jessica’s abilities as she uses that strength to hurtle herself up buildings. That feat certainly requires a lot of power. Luke’s jumping strength, as seen in the season 2 training scene, makes him better than any living Olympic long jumper, but nowhere near what Jessica can accomplish.
The comic book Jessica – who can straight up fly – is said to have an “unrevealed” upper limit to her strength, potentially making her one of the strongest super-powered beings in the Marvel Universe. Her Marvel Cinematic Universe equivalent could be capable of such feats of strength. Provided, of course, she had the necessary motivation to, say, pick up a building.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
The 1970s Spider-Man show ran for two short seasons on CBS and did its best to recreate Peter Parker’s myriad abilities on a tight TV budget. His webbing always looked like rope and scenes of him clinging to the side of buildings always looks a little too comical for comfort. But the show was dedicated to being as faithful as it could in its first season.
And one of the key abilities of Spider-Man is his radioactive spider-inherited strength. Traditionally, he has “the proportionate strength of a spider,” which can lift anywhere from 2 to 120 times its bodyweight depending on species. For Peter, this roughly translates to 20,000 lbs., depending on the needs of the plot. Not that the show could ever dramatize this upper limit. In fact, the second season pulled back even further on his abilities in hopes of courting an older audience.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
Diana has always had the strength of the gods on her side. She could hold back the tide of war, bust through walls, bend guns, and tow vehicles with her lasso. Like the other 1970s TV shows mentioned, dramatizing her powers to their fullest was beyond the technical prowess and budgets of the day. It was also beyond the writers at times, who played employed the “as strong as the plot needs her to be” rule for her strength.
Even her comic book counterpart’s strength varies with each story, so we will assume the ’70s Wonder Woman was roughly on par with ’70s Spider-Man in terms of strength. Her current DC Extended Universe film manifestation, as played by Gal Gadot, gets far closer to the godly ideal, making her one of the mightiest superheroes around.
(Photo by Shane Harvey/Katie Yu/The CW)
As a Daxamite, Mon-El has the comparative strength of a fairly fit Kryptonian. Traditionally, the character is said to have the same strength as Superman; of course, Superman once had the ability to push planets out of their orbits, making the notion of strength a ridiculous concept.
Since the 1980s, Superman’s powers decreased considerably, leaving him strong enough to keep a space shuttle (165,000 lbs) in the air (with an assist from his flight ability), but not so strong that he can lift a mountain from its roots. Over the course of various television shows, he has proved strong enough to help a rocket complete its trajectory (as seen in the first episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman). In theory, Mon-El would be capable of this sort of strength if given the challenge. Although, this past of season of Supergirl saw him do little else but be the prince of indecision.
But as Clark (Hoechlin) admitted in the season 2 finale of Supergirl, Kara Danvers (Benoist) is the strongest of the television superheroes. To prove it, we have a moment from the season 1 finale in which she lifted the crashed space station Fort Rozz off the Earth and into a trajectory away from the solar system. It nearly killed her, but she was successful.
Now, Fort Rozz is fictional and therefore hard to quantify, but our own real-life International Space Station is said to weigh (under Earth’s gravity) 450 tons – 900,000 lbs – and it is only a fraction of the size of Fort Rozz. If Supergirl can move something in the 100s of tons, she is definitely in a class by herself; in fact, that sort of power makes some of the developments in more recent episodes quite alarming. Maybe Worldkiller Reign (Odette Annable) really had the strength to shatter the Earth all along.
Nonetheless, Supergirl stands above all other TV superheroes for sheer strength. Of course, how she applies that power makes all the difference in the world. And seeing as she tends to empathize with her opponents, it is doubtful we will see her move anything that massive any time soon.
Traditionally, comic book characters suffer from a staggering amount of missing parents. Some are shot in alleys, destroyed along with the rest of their world, or abandon their children for a long-term deep cover spy mission. But when characters like Archie Andrews, Barry Allen, and Oliver Queen made their way to television, the issue of their parents became fuel for plot lines. And with Mother’s Day upon us, we thought we would take a look at some of the best and worst TV moms to emerge out of the places where television and comics collide.
Oddly enough, the list is heavily weighted toward Riverdale — the show happens to feature the largest cast of parental figures — and, thankfully, Riverdale‘s Nathalie Boltt talked with Rotten Tomatoes recently to discuss some of the best (and worst) qualities of the Riverdale matriarchs. As she put it, the ideal mother is someone who listens, respects their children as emerging adults, supports them utterly, and does not “take their own issues out on their child.” Some of the following characters excel at those metrics while others … well, what’s the right word from someone who plots their own daughter’s destruction?
Dr. Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater) easily earns a spot on the best moms list for one of the key qualities in Boltt’s ideal parent: she listens. She listened to Alex (Chyler Leigh) when she came out. She listened when Alex also admitted to feeling unsupported at times while growing up. She is also ready to listen to Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) troubles, even if Kara is less inclined to engage with her adoptive mother.
Eliza is also brilliant — aiding Alex in finding a cure to the Medusa Virus — and perceptive. She also happens to be happy to meet boyfriends, girlfriends, alien mentors, and anyone else Kara or Alex brings into the fold.
One of Eliza best mom moments came when her daughters came home to Midvale after some tough break ups. Kara was still smarting from Mon-El’s (Chris Wood) forced departure from the planet, while Alex was facing the extremely tough end of her relationship with Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). Both were in bad way, but Eliza welcomed them home with a room that hadn’t changed in 20 years, a traditional breakfast, and the ever-so-slightest bit of advice. It managed to help both Kara and Alex move on, even if Kara had to face a seven-years-older version of Mon-El soon after.
Nonetheless, Eliza’s ability to genuinely listen to her daughters makes her one of the great comic book TV moms — that she is also a genuinely welcoming soul to everyone in the extended Danvers circle is just an added plus.
Meanwhile, Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong) will never get flowers on Mother’s Day unless Lex orders them from the penitentiary. But like Lex, Lillian is wickedly smart and just plain wicked. She shares her son’s xenophobic tendencies and his facility with power suits. But Lillian’s greatest black mark is her treatment of step-daughter Lena (Katie McGrath). Forever trying to push her toward mad science, Lillian raised her with a big heaping of cold shoulder and an obvious preference for her natural born son. Lillian is someone who definitely takes her issues out on a child.
But since Lena took over L Corp, Lillian’s idea of mothering went from callous indifference to twisted sweetness. She has kidnapped Lena on a couple of occasions, threatened her constantly and attempted to kill Morgan Edge (Adrian Pasdar) as a peace gesture – although the whole endeavor was unsuccessful as Edge lived, she was captured and Lena only further saw the perversity at work in Lillian’s mind.
Perhaps the worst part of Lillian’s attempts at parentage is the shadow she leaves over Lena. Despite earning the trust of Kara, Alex, and James (Mehcad Brooks), there is always just a little doubt that Lena will adopt Lillian’s worst qualities. That doubt runs strong in Lena, who works tireless to do good in the world. That is a parental legacy many viewers will recognize even if the specifics are tangled in supervillain antics.
Despite a zealousness that often appears irrational, Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) means well for her children. We now know her streak of overprotectiveness was born of the pain she suffered in giving up her son when she was a teenager; in fact, a lot of Alice’s crusades may stem from the ordeal.
“She was almost reborn and is still trying to make good for all of these secrets in her past,” said Boltt of the character.
But for Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Polly (Tiera Skovbye), Alice’s concern can feel quite controlling. In the first season, it even came off as unhinged at times with Alice sending Polly to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to have her twins, her displeasure with Betty dating Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and her constant outrage at the latest happenings in town.
That overzealous streak continued into the second season, particularly when Chic (Hart Denton) arrived and Alice could not stop feeding him. Also, believing him to be her son, she shot a drug deal and enlisted the help of Betty, Jughead, and F.P (Skeet Ulrich) to cover the whole thing up.
“[She] has the best intentions, but it keeps going wrong for her,” added Boltt. If that isn’t a mother’s love for a child — even though Chic was abusing it — nothing is.
“There’s a real humanness to Alice Cooper,” Boltt said.
Her past as a Southside Serpent and her crusade against them early in the second season offered her a new complexity which will continue to make her a compelling force on Riverdale. But considering her issues, one wonders if she will remain on the Best Mothers list next year.
Surprising as it may seem, Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) is only the second-worst mother in Riverdale (we’ll get to the worst in a bit). Despite a genuine concern for her daughter Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) well-being, Hermione routinely puts her second to the business interests of Lodge Industries. She forged Veronica’s signature on a contract during the earliest days of the SoDale project, encouraged her to entertain mobbed-up children like Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips) and pushed Veronica into a school election despite the increased bullying she was experiencing for simply being Hermione’s daughter.
“She’s like a gang boss,” said Boltt of the character, who presents a challenge her own character, Penelope Blossom, would rather avoid.
Then there was the recent encounter with Papa Poutine’s son Small Fries, which may have finally opened Hermione’s eyes, but her moments of clarity never last long. Her newfound strength always seems to whither.
Nonetheless, she has also taught Veronica a great deal about how women hold power in Riverdale’s concept of mafia families.
“In a funny way,” Boltt explained, “Hermione has become a role model to Veronica.”
Like Lillian Luther, it is sweet in a twisted sort of way. Luckily, Veronica senses the nuance and knows how to protect herself from Hermione’s schemes – unless, of course, the plot needs them to bond again.
Meanwhile, Boltt is convinced “Hermione’s probably going to run everything.” Believing her to be a great strategist, the actor said, “she’s gonna come to the fore, at some point, where she blows everyone’s mind — including her husband.” That drive may eventually see whatever bond remains with her daughter completely broken.
She may have initially seemed an absentee mom, but Black Lightning’s Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) quickly established how present a mom she is, despite her divorce from the series’ titular superhero; consider all of the family meals seen throughout the first season and how quickly she arrives as the house whenever there is trouble with the kids. Smart, loving, and dedicated to her daughters, Lynn brought both humor and confidence to her relationships with Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain). She also knows when they need to be reminded of reality, like her constant insistence that Jennifer find a new extracurricular activity once she quit track.
But Anissa presented a new problem for Lynn once her older daughter’s powers manifested in the middle of the season. Suddenly, she was forced to deal with two superheroes in her family and, for the first time, addressing why the powers scared her in the first place. Going back to Boltt’s ideal mother, she respected Anissa as an adult enough to truthfully answer her when she asked if Jefferson’s (Cress Williams) activities as Black Lightning were the reason they broke up. In listening to Anissa, she made a startling realization that actually healed the strained bonds in the Jefferson family — a good thing now that Jefferson, Anissa, and Jennifer all have powers. Thankfully, she is also a gifted neurologist and researcher with a key part to play in the emerging Lightning family thanks to her abilities as a doctor and a mother.
By far the worst mom in all of comic book–inspired television, Penelope Blossom (Boltt) emerges as, perhaps, the most watchable mother of them all. She treats Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) abysmally, works with Clifford’s twin brother Claudius (both Barclay Hope) to abscond with the Blossom fortune, and she is just nasty to Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace), But as Boltt told us, she does it all out of a twisted sense of love.
“She just has no idea how to show it,” she said. “And Cheryl is so desperate for her love that all she does is like, rail against it, you know?” She added that Penelope will eventually express some sort of compassion toward her daughter.
Of course, the actor told us this just before Penelope had Cheryl committed to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy’s gay conversion program. While partially motivated by how close Cheryl was getting to the truth of her plot with Claudius, Penelope’s views on Cheryl’s homosexual tendencies were outlined when she came out to Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan). It almost appears she would have been happier if Cheryl had been in love with her own brother.
“There was this kind of hinting at what the actual relationship was between Cheryl and Jason,” said Boltt of the Flowers in the Attic vibe the Blossom clan gives off. “It’s not very overt, but definitely it’s hinted at.”
Meanwhile, Boltt believes Penelope misses the power and influence she had before Clifford was revealed as Jason’s murderer last season. And though she thinks the character will “do anything to get it back,” she also appreciates the way the character has explored her own freedom in the wake of his death. But soon enough, her “desperation to be moneyed again” will lead to a place where she is willing to “undermine her dignity.” That desperation already lead to her alliance with Claudius, the abuse of Nana Rose and, it seems, a complete separation from Cheryl.
But then, as Boltt noted, the kids on Riverdale “seem to be raising each other.”
While a relative newcomer to the Comics-on-TV scene — The Gifted’s first season wrapped up in January – Caitlin Strucker (Amy Acker) is one of the most accomplished TV moms around. Accepting that her children Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) were mutants with only a moment’s hesitation, Caitlin moved into gear to help them escape Sentinel Services, the quasi-government agency tasked with investigating and detaining mutants. She also accepted very quickly that her sedate suburban life was over. Well, she accepted it with after a few fits and starts and a particularly illustrative incident at a hospital.
But really, the choice to become part of the Mutant Underground was made from the moment they walked into the group’s HQ. Caitlin almost immediately began inventorying their supplies, set up a school situation for her children and other youngsters waylaid there, and soon became a key part of the group’s hierarchy despite her non-mutant status. Her humane empathy also won over a lot of mutant mistrustful of her intentions.
And yet, she never lost sight of her children facing their own struggles with mutant powers and the harrowing truth that combined, they could be a terribly destructive force. She made several attempts to get them out of the frontlines before finally accepting they had a role to play in the trials ahead. In short, she did everything she could to protect them, but as Boltt might put it, respected them as emerging adults.
Sadly, though, she appears to have lost Andy to the reformed Hellfire Club, but her tenacity, empathy and strength may yet prove instrumental in saving her son.
This week on DVD, we’ve got the second appearance of Marvel’s intergalactic heroes and the latest seasons of several popular TV series, including The Walking Dead and Supergirl. Read on for the full list.
Melissa Benoist stars as the titular superhero in the CW’s lighthearted series, whose second season features her famous Super-cousin and includes a crossover event with The Flash, Arrow, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The season set comes with the show’s 2016 Comic-Con panel, a conversation with executive producer Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith, and a few featurettes.
Bruce Campbell stars in this Starz adaptation of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead film series, in which hero Ash faces off with an army of demons once again. The season 2 set comes with commentary tracks, a look at the visual effects, a profile of the three female characters, and several more featurettes.
Tom Ellis stars in this cheeky Fox drama as the Devil, who gets bored with life in Hell, manifests in Los Angeles, and decides to aid the LAPD in their investigations. It comes with the show’s 2016 Comic-Con panel, a look at reinventing the character, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and the gang return for the second installment of Marvel’s space adventure, which finds the Guardians struggling to keep their family united in the face of a grave galactic threat and secrets from their past. Extras include director James Gunn’s vision for the series, a four-part making-of featurette, a music video, gag reel, deleted scenes, and a commentary track with Gunn.
In the seventh season of AMC’s hit horror/survival series, Rick, Daryl, and Maggie attempt to keep their friends and loved ones safe as a diabolical new threat endangers their lives. The season 7 set comes with episode commentaries, deleted and alternate scenes, a making-of featurette, an “In Memoriam” feature, and a look at the writers and “walkers” of the show, among other things.
Also Available This Week:
It’s the first week of the month, which means Netflix and Amazon Prime have introduced another big batch of new titles to their selections. As usual, we’ve picked just the very best — the Certified Fresh choices — and while some of these have come and gone in the past, it’s always a good thing when they show up again. Read on for the full list, which includes everything from a Mel Brooks spoof to a crime drama from Brazil to a Tina Fey-scripted fan-favorite high school comedy.
Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio star in Stanley Kubrick’s Certified Fresh Vietnam War movie, which takes viewers through a grueling boot camp before dropping them directly into the field of battle.
Available now on: Netflix
Gene Wilder and Teri Garr star in Mel Brooks’ hilarious send-up of Mary Shelley’s novel, as Wilder plays the grandson of Victor Frankenstein, who has spent his life distancing himself from his grandfather until he returns to the family castle and discovers his secret notes.
Available now on: Netflix
Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. star in David Fincher’s gripping retelling of the real-life search for the notorious Zodiac serial killer who terrorized San Francisco during the 1980s.
Available now on: Netflix
Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment star in M. Night Shyamalan’s supernatural thriller about a child psychologist who attempts to help a young boy who claims to “see dead people.”
Available now on: Netflix
With breakout performances from Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lizzy Caplan, as well as a sharp script from Tina Fey, Mean Girls remains one of the definitive comedies of the 2000s.
Available now on: Netflix
This Oscar-nominated documentary takes a look at influential African-American writer James Baldwin’s life and sociopolitical legacy, focusing on an unfinished, unpublished manuscript Baldwin left behind when he died in 1987.
Available now on: Amazon Prime
Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman star in Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel about a private detective whose investigation into the kidnapping of a local girl uncovers a web of corruption.
Available now on: Amazon Prime
David Lynch’s haunting, surreal portrait of a small town with dark secrets stars Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern, and Dennis Hopper (in arguably his creepiest performance ever).
Available now on: Amazon Prime
Fernando Meirelles’ explosive coming-of-age drama set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro centers on a pair of friends who grow up together, enter the criminal world, and face the consequences of their lifestyle.
Available now on: Amazon Prime
Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, and Philip Seymour Hoffman headline an all-star cast in Paul Thomas Anderson’s multiple character study that weaves its way through a number of interconnected stories.
Available now on: Amazon Prime
Audrey Tatou and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this drama about a Nigerian immigrant and Turkish maid working in a sketchy London hotel who become mixed up in its less than legal activities.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
The David Lynch film mentioned above is also newly available on FandangoNOW.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
This is a good week to binge-watch some TV, because Netflix has added the latest seasons for a nice mix of critically acclaimed, fan-favorite series, from its own original political drama to a CW superhero show. Then we’ve also got a recent Marvel Studios hit and a few smaller films you may have missed. Read on for the full list.
Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton return for the third season of this anthology crime drama on ABC, which takes place in North Carolina and focuses on issues of sex trafficking, forced labor, and drug abuse.
Available now on: Netflix
Melissa Benoist stars as the titular superhero in the CW’s lighthearted series. Season 2 not only features the introduction of her famous Super-cousin, but also includes a crossover event with The Flash, Arrow, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Available now on: Netflix
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright star in Netflix’s original drama about a ruthless politician and his ambitious wife, who go to extreme lengths to preserve their power. Season 5 was released in its entirety today.
Available now on: Netflix
The demon-hunting Winchester brothers (played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) continue their quest to fight evil wherever they find it in this long-running CW series.
Available now on: Netflix
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this Marvel superhero film as a famous surgeon who suffers a terrible car crash and seeks healing from a mystical guru who teaches him much more than he bargained for.
Available now on: Netflix
This documentary examines the lives of juvenile offenders in the California penal system.
Available now on: Netflix
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this sports drama as Billy Hope, a boxing champ who’s blindsided by personal tragedy and loses his title and his family, but fights for redemption with the help of a committed trainer.
Available now on: Netflix
Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, and Paddy Considine star in this horror drama that explores the moral quandary posed by sentient child zombies.
Available now on: Amazon Prime
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Aksel Hennie star in this Norwegian crime thriller about a corporate recruiter who moonlights as an art thief.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
This dark comedy focuses on the surreal odyssey that unravels after a man is forced to reconnect with this childhood neighbor.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser star in Phillip Noyce’s adaptation of the Graham Greene novel about the love triangle that develops between a British journalist, a CIA operative, and a prostitute in 1950s Vietnam.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
Tony Jaa explodes onto the big screen in this martial arts winner about an orphan who sets out to recover the stolen head of his village’s sacred Buddha statue from a Bangkok drug lord.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow star in this drama about a young man who returns to live with his parents and struggles with his feelings for two very different women.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
Gareth Evans, Adam Wingard, and a number of other directors all contribute segments to this second installment of the horror anthology series.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
Chase Williamson and Paul Giamatti star in this sci-fi/fantasy/horror/comedy about a pair of college dropouts who are humanity’s only hope against an interdimensional invasion.
Available now on: FandangoNOW
Kevin Smith returned to direct this week’s Supergirl, “Distant Sun,” and you could tell thanks to the Star Wars joke and an Easter Egg for Smith’s most recent movie. It was an especially big episode for Mon-El (Chris Wood), Maggie (Floriana Lima), Rhea (Teri Hatcher), Lar Gand (Kevin Sorbo), and President Marsdin (Lynda Carter).
SPOILER WARNING: STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE
After a musical interlude with The Flash, Kara (Melissa Benoist) was back to working things out with Mon-El. When someone put a bounty on her head, Kara found herself the target of many threatening hit-aliens. One had a clever way of getting to her: by taking over Mon-El’s body and using him to fight her.
As they fought, Mon-El grabbed Kara and flew out the window. Hold up — Mon-El can fly?
— toomuch_tv_tony (@iTweetQuestion) March 28, 2017
Where is he flying her to?? #Supergirl
— Dessie ?️? (@rainbowsanvers) March 28, 2017
It should come as no surprise that Rhea ordered the hit. No one’s ever good enough for a mother’s son, are they? This set the stage for the moment fans have been waiting for: a face-off between the former Lois Lane and the reigning Supergirl, but Rhea had a secret weapon.
— DisneyCaptainSwanFan (@DisneyCSJunkie) March 28, 2017
Momma Daxomite don't play! She came prepared! #Supergirl
— Shelita (@SMTVAddict) March 28, 2017
— Swara Salih (@SwaraSalih1) March 28, 2017
Talk about a monster in law. #Supergirl
— Kayla Coupe (@KaylaCoupe) March 28, 2017
— William Morgan (@reno30) March 28, 2017
For a while it looked like Mon-El was going to step in to make all this go away. Rhea wanted him back on Daxam, so he’d go to his home planet and she would leave Kara alone. Some fans were happy to see him go.
YES TAKE HIM KEEP HIM #Supergirl
— k. (@lightsanvers) March 28, 2017
Too bad Mon-El leaving won't be permanent. #Supergirl
— Cynthia Toulouse (@Cyn16734) March 28, 2017
Please take him! #Supergirl
— Casey J Saechia (@CJSaechia) March 28, 2017
I still think the honorable thing would be for Mon-el to go rebuild Daxam without slavery. @TheCWSupergirl
— Kimberly (@AurorKimberly) March 28, 2017
All of Mon-El’s lies, omissions of truth, and flat-out disrespecting of Kara’s wishes have really split the fans on him. But not everyone has jumped off the Karamel ship yet.
— Lala (@LalaLovesTV) March 28, 2017
#Supergirl MY GOD IM GETTING TRIED OF EVERYBODY SAYING MON-EL IS BAD ISN'T IT ABOUT KARA'S HAPPINESS, NOT OURS.
— Anthony Gaona (@Weirdo130420) March 28, 2017
Rhea vs. Kara round two ensured Mon-El would stay on Earth. The climactic battle took place on Rhea’s spaceship. It was awesome, even though it was scientifically inaccurate.
— Spencer Straub (@SpencerStraub) March 28, 2017
I'm no Neil degrasse Tyson but is this how space works? #Supergirl
— elisAbeth (@PLLcoolj) March 28, 2017
In other couple news, “Sanvers” seems stronger than ever. Alex was even willing to have dinner with Maggie’s ex, Emily (Hayley Sales). When Alex met Emily privately, Emily dropped the bombshell that her relationship ended when Maggie cheated on her.
— Tabatha (@DanceUponMyToes) March 28, 2017
? Maggie cheated oh boy #Supergirl
— Lєтιcια ?❤️?? (@gordis82rosada) March 28, 2017
— Samantha Busa ⭐? (@ZumbaGal21) March 28, 2017
Alex understood Maggie’s struggle. When Maggie’s parents didn’t accept her coming out, she stopped trusting people and may have sabotaged her relationship with Emily. But Alex was here to show Maggie that she can trust people. (And thanks to their mutual yoga love, Smith paid homage to his own film Yoga Hosers in the beginning of the episode).
— Dan Howard (@rocker152010) March 28, 2017
@ThatKevinSmith catching supergirl now aftrwrk on dvr..nice yoga hosers reference thr in the beginning n somehow started a lil xtra ch.amy!
— MeagerDreamer (@kurtlives2020) March 28, 2017
— Jason Tully (@UncleJJ78) March 28, 2017
In the spaceship battle, Mon-El quoted Smith’s favorite movie, Star Wars, and made Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) proud too.
You finally saw Star Wars. Best line of the night. #Supergirl
— Candi Norman (@CLNorman) March 28, 2017
"Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" Well that was perfect. #Supergirl
— Britt Rivera (@kindamoviesnob) March 28, 2017
The twists didn’t stop until the final moments of the show. President Marsdin had been speaking with J’onn (David Harewood) via satellite, and when she signed off, she revealed her true form to the viewers.
Oh sheeeeeeeeeeeet she's a white martian! #Supergirl
— Agents of Geek Pod (@agentsofgeekpod) March 28, 2017
OMG! WONDER WOMAN IS AN ALIEN! #Supergirl
— Geek God! (@ecwdude17) March 28, 2017
Why is the president always actually an evil shapeshifter alien #supergirl
— Stormpilot trash (@WhatCassieDid) March 28, 2017
Oh I'm glad they finally went back to the president is an alien storyline #Supergirl
— Baemax ⚔ (@disbekayla) March 28, 2017
And finally, Lar Gand and Mon-El may have shared their last father/son moment. It wasn’t a great relationship, but Lar Gand ultimately stood by his son’s decision to stay on Earth. Rhea wasn’t having any of that, however.
King's going down…#Supergirl
— Kayla Coupe (@KaylaCoupe) March 28, 2017
— Agents of Geek Pod (@agentsofgeekpod) March 28, 2017
Bruh I so knew she would kill her husband #Supergirl
— s a d j o s s (@victoriantardis) March 28, 2017
SHE KILLED HIM WTF!!! He was supporting his son damn it. AND WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL APRIL 24 WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY #Supergirl
— Rebecca Luna (@lunamuse19) March 28, 2017
— If You Ever Saw Her (@Abnocta) March 28, 2017
Supergirl returns April 24 on The CW.
The Arrrowverse has a lot of musical talent. Two of their title heroes, Supergirl and The Flash, came from Glee. Many others cast members were on Broadway, and some have released albums. So when The Flash was doing a musical episode, it just had to crossover with the stars of Supergirl, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow.
At the end of Supergirl‘s episode Monday night, “Star-Crossed,” The Music Meister (guest star Darren Criss) puts Kara (Melissa Benoist) into a coma. J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood) and Mon-El (Chris Wood) take Kara over to The Flash’s Earth for help in episode “Duet.” Music Meister gets Barry (Grant Gustin), too, and the rest of the episode will play out as a musical fantasy featuring the characters from all four shows, including Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and Dr. Stein (Victor Garber).
Here’s a breakdown of the musical cred of the stars of Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, starting with Team Supergirl, with a clip highlighting each singer. (J’onn J’onzz and Mon-El have reportedly have non-singing roles in “Duets.”)
There were so many cast members in Glee, it was sometimes hard to give them all a song. Marley (Benoist) performed in a lot of group songs and shared a killer duet mashup of “Crazy/Drive Me Crazy.” She got to be Sandy in Grease until Rachel (Lea Michele) took over halfway through “You’re the One That I Want.” She even got to be Posh Spice with a zig-a-zig-ah in “Wannabe.” Her solo of “Wrecking Ball” really let Benoist belt it out and ride the ball. Hopefully, The Flash gives her a bravura solo like this one.
Smash allowed Jeremy Jordan to cross over from Broadway to television, employing his triple threat acting/singing/dancing skills. The fictional show on NBC’s Broadway drama couldn’t compete with Jordan’s real theater cred. Having appeared in the ensemble of Rock of Ages, Jordan then played the leads Bonnie and Clyde (Clyde) and Newsies (Jack Kelly, the Christian Bale role in the movie). The only downside of Supergirl is it kept Jordan from singing. Until now!
Criss was a theater kid and recording artist. With his University of Michigan friends, Criss co-founded StarKid Productions in which Criss played Harry Potter in a trilogy of musicals. On Glee, he introduced the show’s all boy a cappella group, The Warblers, which briefly recruited Kurt (Chris Colfer) in season 2. After Glee, Criss has earned raves for his title role in the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway and on tour. Hedwig had a sex change operation to escape pre-WWII Germany with a G.I., but the operation was botched leaving Hedwig feeling like neither gender, and the G.I. left. The songs encompass anger, sorrow, and bittersweet joy. If you want to see any more, you’d have to buy a ticket.
Sebastian Smythe (Gustin) popped in and out of Glee so he didn’t get to do as many songs as the regulars. Plus, he was a villain! Under Smythe’s leadership, The Warblers covered some classic Billy Joel like “Uptown Girl” and Michael Jackson from “Bad” all the way back to The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” One Jackson song gave him a one-on-one with Santana (Naya Rivera) doing “Smooth Criminal” to a cello accompaniment.
John Barrowman’s stage credits are as impressive as his run on Doctor Who and its spinoff Torchwood. Anything Goes, Phantom of the Opera, Hair, Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Godspell, Putting It Together, and many nonmusical dramas too. He’s even released albums covering classic showtunes and standards. So many to choose from, but above is the song he calls his anthem. Here’s Barrowman performing it live at the Royal Albert Hall in concert.
Jesse L. Martin was part of the original company of Rent when it conquered Broadway in the ’90s. He even reprised his role for the movie. Since Rent he’s had a long TV career with a steady gig on Law & Order. When he returned to stage, it was for Shakespeare, not musicals. So The Flash will hopefully be the first chance to hear him sing a song like “I’ll Cover You” again.
Valdes studied musical theater and performed in High School Musical, The Wedding Singer, and Jersey Boys on stage. Cavanagh was in Grease, A Chorus Line, Cabaret, and more on Broadway. Cavanagh has even appeared in some videos on Valdes’s music YouTube channel for his jazz band The Los. You can find The Los’s tracks and EP on iTunes as well as Band Camp, Spotify, and other audio services. Valdes’ goes solo in his smoldering video for “Night Off!”
Victor Garber had a long musical history before he ever appeared on camera. He was in the Canadian folk band The Sugar Shoppe and on stage in Godspell, Sweeney Todd, and Tony-nominated musical roles in Little Me and Damn Yankees. Fortunately, many of Garber’s ’90s performances are preserved on YouTube and televised awards shows. One could fall down a rabbit hole watching old Garber performances, so here’s Garber singing George Michael’s “Freedom” on the short-lived Eli Stone.
When there are four shows in the DC Arrowverse on The CW, how can you pick a favorite? Easy — make like PaleyFest and don’t choose. Instead of focusing on one of the superheroes, the week-long TV celebration invited cast members from Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow to participate in one panel alongside their producers.
Before the panel, Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Brandon Routh, and producers of all four shows on the red carpet, and they dished on the big week ahead for the Arrowverse — which includes The Flash musical crossover; Supergirl‘s impending reveal that Mon-El (Chris Wood) is the prince of Daxam; on Arrow, Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) capture by Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra); and the Legends going to war.
Below, find 11 exciting developments coming up on Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow that we learned at Paleyfest, including season finale and future season plans!
Legends of Tomorrow showrunner Phil Klemmer told Rotten Tomatoes on the red carpet that season 3 will reboot the Waverider with some new Legends, just like the team did in the beginning of season 2. Producer Marc Guggenheim revealed that one of those newbies is pre-existing, but with a catch.
“We’re drawing on an established character who is not from the comics,” Guggenheim said. “Let me be very clear: not original to the show but not from the comics and not from any of the other DC Arrowverse shows.”
Perhaps it’s time to start watching other DC-based movies and TV shows that invented original characters to narrow down who might be the new hero poised to join the team. “That’s what I would do,” Guggenheim suggested.
During the panel, producer Andrew Kreisberg said that regardless of which DC villain ends up being the big bad of The Flash season 4, it will not be another speedster. Considering the show has already seen Reverse Flash, Professor Zoom, and Savitar, that might be prudent.
“Next season we’re not going to have a speedster as the villain,” Kreisberg said on the panel.
On the red carpet, day-to-day showrunners Todd and Aaron Helbing said they also expect to back off the time travel and alternate reality concept next season. “We haven’t really talked that much about season 4 yet, but I don’t think we’re going to do as much time traveling,” Todd said.
Added Aaron, “We like playing with the timelines and the different time periods and future and past. For now, I think we’re going to focus on the present.”
The teaser to this week’s Supergirl revealed guest stars Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo hailing Mon-El as the prince of Daxam. Kara (Benoist) tells him, “This changes everything.” On the red carpet, Benoist elaborated on why Kara feels Mon-El’s title changes things.
“Well, when you find out that the person you love hasn’t been honest with you about who they really are, and when you disagree so wholeheartedly with the way they were raised and where they come from, it’s not going to bode well for them romantically,” Benoist said. “The title definitely stirs up some old feelings. Kryptonians and Daxamites do not agree. It’s a little Hatfield/McCoys, Romeo and Juliet sort of thing.”
On the panel, producers of The Flash said that the musical episode is not just a gimmick. It addresses where both Barry (Gustin) and guest star Kara are in their love lives, and Todd Helbing explained why the musical fantasy is a period piece.
“Music Meister transports whoever he whammies into a universe that they create,” he said. “Why they’re in the musical stems from something that was born out of Barry’s childhood.”
On the red carpet, Benoist and Gustin described filming the ’20s-style song-and-dance numbers.
“I had been in Thoroughly Modern Millie and we sort of sometimes did genre songs on Glee,” Benoist said. “We did ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ so sometimes we got to dress up and be in period clothes. This time, being so immersed in that world was awesome.”
Gustin’s fast feet came right back to him in real life. “I started as a tap dancer as an 8-year-old and did it until I was 17, and haven’t tapped really in 10 years,” Gustin said. “They sent me a video of all the choreography and I started to run over it at home. My feet were figuring it out before my brain was.”
Iris West (Patton) appears in the musical as a different character named Millie Floss. “I’ve got a wig situation,” Patton said on the red carpet. “She’s completely different and she’s very much a part of helping Barry and Kara remember that love is the most important thing.”
Showrunner Aaron Helbing said two of the five original songs written for the episode should be available on iTunes or the CWTV website after the episode airs.
The teaser for this week’s episode shows what happens to Oliver after Adrian Chase finally captured him: torture. Arrow showrunner Wendy Mericle told Rotten Tomatoes on the red carpet just how dark it gets.
“Oliver goes through arguably the toughest thing he’s ever been through with Adrian Chase,” Mericle said. “Stephen gives this performance that he’s more or less broken at the end of the episode.”
Barry has always loved Iris, but his proposal might’ve ruined the future they had together (since he only popped the question in an attempt to change the future and save her life). On the red carpet, though, Patton said she still has hope for the couple.
“I think for Barry and Iris there’s always a way to come back,” she said. “They are really and truly each other’s true loves. They just have to get on the same page and stick with it.”
Todd Helbing added that the musical episode gives a hint as to where Barry and Iris are heading. “You’ll see at the end of the musical where Iris and Barry are,” he said. “It sort of kickstarts the last six episodes. There’s another episode further down the line were Barry does something to get a key piece of information to help them, and that really snowballs into the last couple episodes.”
Arrow is now in its fifth season, so by now fans noticed a particular formula for each of the prior four season finales. But with Adrian Chase/Prometheus as the villain, Mericle said Arrow is changing it up.
“I’ll just say this: Star City is not in jeopardy,” she said on the red carpet. “As we’ve joked before, there’s always a terrorist attack on Star City in May. Not this time. Prometheus is a very personal villain, very psychological villain and the ending will be appropriate to that.”
Arrow also introduced Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig) this season, and her presence could complicate things for Oliver by the end of the season. Producer Marc Guggenheim said it runs in the family.
“I would say that she probably bears more of a resemblance to her father than [her sister] Nyssa does,” Guggenheim said.
With Supergirl on The CW, the network managed to stage a four-show crossover in the Fall. While the producers admit scheduling crossovers is difficult, they’ve still got more ideas. They may not have a choice, either.
On the panel, Amell shared a story of a dinner he had with CW president Mark Pedowitz. “I say, ‘Mark, we’re gonna do a crossover every year, right?’” Amell recalled. “He goes, ‘You’re f—ing right we are.’”
Kreisberg felt the “Heroes Vs. Aliens” event was not the best they could do. “We’re going to try to do a real, true four-way crossover with all four shows,” Kreisberg promised on the panel.
Teasing some of the post-musical episodes on The Flash, Kreisberg said on the panel that DC villain Abra Kadabra would play a major role in defeating Savitar.
“[Episode] 18 has Abra Kadabra, who’s also a villain from the future,” Kreisberg said. “He knows who Savitar is and it becomes a moral conundrum to Barry and the team to let Abra Kadabra go in order to get Savitar’s identity. It’s one of those great morality plays. Can you be a hero if you do one bad thing for the greater good?”
In the following episode, Barry himself goes to the future. “Nineteen is called ‘The Once And Future Flash,’” Kreisberg said. “Barry decides that the only way he can find out what he needs to know is in the future.”
The Legends of Tomorrow go back to World War I this week. On the red carpet, Routh said to expect some trench warfare. “We’re in trenches, which is pretty cool,” Routh said. “They built trenches and that was kind of fun to be in.”
Klemmer added that before the end of the season, the show plays with reality beyond time bending. “We’re going to get into some very strange, mind-bending, experimental alternate kind of reality action,” Klemmer said.
Working with an ex is complicated, as exemplified by Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) Team Arrow conundrum. But just because she’s accepted the invitation to join Helix doesn’t mean there’s no hope for her to find a way back into the light.
“She got involved with Helix and she’s now in this really dark space,” Mericle said. “We’re going to see how she comes out on the other end of that. There’s always hope on Arrow. As dark as we get, ultimately I think there’s a lot of hope on the show.”
Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 p.m.; The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.; and Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.
The proliferation of television shows based on comic books means producers must dig deeper – much deeper – than the marquee characters of major motion pictures and TV’s yesteryear. With the Justice League, the Avengers, and a good number of X-Men unavailable, a lot of these second- and third-tier characters have a new chance at popularity.
Of course, adapting some of these characters is more difficult than trying to make a man fly. Some require radical reinvention, while others just need a change of clothes. And every so often, one is so perfectly realized in the pages of their source comic that the best thing television can do is let them live in their four-color glory. Let’s take a look at a handful of some of the most successful of these recent comic books–to–TV reinventions.
One of the most recent comic book characters to enter the TV fray is not known for his amazing abilities or status as a beloved icon with T-shirt sales to prove his worth. Instead, Archie Comics’ Jughead Jones is known more for three things: a sunny disposition, his crown-like whoopee cap, and a voracious appetite. First appearing in Pep Comics #22, Juggie has been Archie’s best friend for at least three generations despite the character’s lack of interest in sports or girls (Archie’s favorite subjects). Typically, the character’s quirks are played for comedic effect, but the new CW series Riverdale shows that Jughead can have layers.
His appetite for hamburgers has been replaced with a thirst for justice as the town’s resident chronicler. A recent episode also revealed he was living in a drive-in movie theater; no doubt a source of his tendency to brood far more often than his classic comic-book interpretation. Elements of the characterization debuted in a major 2015 reboot of Archie Comics and the 2016 Jughead comic book series written by Chip Zdarsky and, later, Ryan North. But as played by Cole Sprouse, Archie’s ex-best friend is a delight to watch as he and Betty attempt to solve Jason Blossom’s murder and re-establish Riverdale High’s student newspaper.
One element that may not transfer from his new comic book status quo to screen is Jughead’s status as asexual. Sprouse has offered his support for that interpretation of the character in interviews, but it seems the producers of Riverdale may have other ideas.
And though it may seem one of the most radical departures from comics to TV, Jughead’s sense of fair play and outsider persona are well established traits in the comics, if usually presented in a happier light. If anything, the show has identified a number of dramatically provocative elements that make him an essential part of the series and a possible trendsetter with his modern take on the whoopee cap.
Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9/8C on The CW; series returns March 30
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has offered a weekly glimpse into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for nearly five years, but as its ties to the films’ universe appear to become fewer, the series has found a new niche in focusing on Marvel Comics characters that may not be strong enough to carry their own film or television series. One example is the recent storyline featuring Ghost Rider.
The character first debuted in 1972 in the form of Johnny Blaze (created by Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas, and Mike Ploog), but his television form comes from a recent Ghost Rider series by writer Felipe Smith with artist Tradd Moore.
Robbie Reyes is a hard working high school kid from the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles who happens to become possessed by the angry spirit of his Satan-worshipping dead uncle. In exchange for the powers of Ghost Rider, Robbie agrees to help Uncle Eli with his need to kill. But all Robbie really wants is to make the neighborhood safe for his developmentally challenged little brother Gabe.
On S.H.I.E.L.D., the producers went for a fairly faithful approach; right down to Robbie’s jacket, Lincoln Heights stomping ground, and boss Dodge Charger. A few alterations to his origin include receiving his powers directly from Johnny Blaze and Eli turning up alive in prison, but hellbent on learning the secrets of an ancient dark tome presumably stolen from the library at Kamar-Taj. He is also older than his comic-book counterpart.
Played by Gabriel Luna, the character gave the series some truly great episodes and one absolutely amazing sequence: the showdown between Ghost Rider and the Inhuman Hellfire in a fireworks factory.
While Ghost Rider – in any of his forms – may never be strong enough to carry a series, Luna’s Ghost Rider made for a spectacular ally (and occasional foil) for Coulson’s team simply by bringing the strongest elements of the comic book Robbie Reyes to the screen.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10/9 C on ABC; series returns April 4
Perhaps one of the most unconventional characters on the list, Patsy Walker began her Marvel Comics career in the teen romance–comedy comics published by Marvel when it was known as Timely Comics in the 1940s. Created by Otto Binder and Ruth Atkinson in the pages of Miss America Magazine #2, Patsy soon earned her own title and survived changes in comic book trends and the company’s evolving identity until 1965 when Patsy Walker was canceled. She made a cameo appearance at wedding of the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richard and Sue Storm that same year, but would not become a Marvel superhero until writer Steve Engelhart revived her in the pages of The Avengers in 1976. Adopting the name Hellcat, she eventually became a member of the Defenders. Sometime later, she died — as many Marvel heroes do — and returned from Hell with magic-based powers. In recent years, she became the best friend of She-Hulk Jennifer Walters.
In an interesting wrinkle, the Patsy Walker comics of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s became part of her backstory; the in-universe products of her estranged and manipulative mother. In the current series, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!, this aspect of her past became relevant again as Patsy’s rival from the teen comics, Hedy Wolfe, attempted to seize control of her mother’s estate to reprint and profit from the Patsy Walker series. The resulting fanfare lead to Hellcat becoming internet famous in both her personas while also opening old wounds.
On Marvel’s Netflix series Jessica Jones, Patsy’s magical powers and superhero credentials were replaced with a popular New York radio show and a very special role as best friend to Jessica (Krysten Ritter), who is endowed with superstrength and other abilities.
Interestingly, the producers of the series seized on Patsy’s relationship with her mother and the Patsy Walker comics to create an involving supporting character. In the show’s history, Trish (as she is called) starred on the television teen comedy It’s Patsy and was forced to live the life her mother created for the character.
Escaping from her mother left Trish paranoid, but also interested in learning to fight. She trains in advanced martial arts and also prods Jessica into using her powers to help people, setting off the main story of the first season. It remains to be seen if this means Trish will eventually become Hellcat in Marvel’s TV New York, but actress Rachael Taylor already admitted that the prospect would be amazing.
Trish Walker appeared in voiceover in Luke Cage and will also appear in upcoming Marvel superhero ensemble series The Defenders on Netflix alongside Jessica, Luke, Daredevil, and Iron Fist.
Jessica Jones is available to stream on Netflix
One remarkable aspect of The CW’s various series based on DC Comics is their surprising devotion to the “Detroit Era” of the Justice League of America comic book. From 1984 to 1987, Aquaman ran the League out of old Detroit factory, and it featured members like Martian Manhunter (now appearing on Supergirl), Citizen Steel (now on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), Vixen (star of the CW Seed series and a character on Legends), Gypsy (a Flash guest character), and Vibe. The latter was notable for being the first Puerto Rican superhero in the DC Universe, but his stereotypical gangland roots and penchant for breakdancing while using his sonic powers soon made him a punchline. He also died during the 1987 Legends crossover event.
This didn’t stop Flash’s eventual executive producer Andrew Kreisberg from attempting to rehabilitate the character in his own Vibe series in 2013. Teased as a member of the New 52’s Justice League, Vibe was said to be the survivor of a close encounter with an interdimensional gate known as a Boom Tube, developing sonic powers thereafter.
But the real saving throw for Vibe came when Kreisberg and producers Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim enlisted him into the ranks of Team Flash in the Flash series they were developing for The CW.
Played by Carlos Valdes, Vibe was reshaped as Cisco Ramon; an engineer of particular skill, an expert in nerdy media, and a procurer of fantastic T-shirts. With no gang affiliations or a particular need to breakdance, he was quite a departure from the Justice League Detroit character, but also a further adaption from Kreisberg’s earlier work with the character. At first Cisco exhibited no powers, but was presented as an equal amongst the S.T.A.R. Labs crew. Ready with the wry quip or pop culture reference, he quickly became one of Barry Allen’s closest friends. In the second season, his metahuman abilities began to emerge and now resemble the skill set Kreisberg gave the character in the comic book.
Unlike the previous characters on this list, Cisco required the most reconstruction as the character underneath the superpowers needed serious thought and consideration. It is interesting to note that the Flash production team had to look at him first as a character before thinking about him as a superhero – he’s only recently worn a costume. The end result is a character filled with a charm one suspects his creators always wanted him to have, but never quite accomplished.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7 C on The CW
Lar Gand of Daxam has a lush, but often rewritten history in the DC Comics Universe, making him an ideal choice for reinvention of TV.
As he first appeared in Superboy #89, he was an amnesiac explorer with nearly identical strengths as Superboy. Believing him to be another survivor of Krypton, Clark dubbed him “Mon-El” and helped him integrate into Smallville society. Eventually, they discovered — to Mon-El’s horror — that he is not Kryptonian. He is also deathly allergic to lead, and a severe reaction forces Clark to send his new friend into the Phantom Zone where he had to remain for 1,000 years to suspend the lethal effects of the poisoning. In the 2960s, the Legion of Super-Heroes finally discovered a means to stave off Mon-El’s vulnerability to lead and induct him into the team.
Beyond similar powers, Mon-El was very much a version of Superboy with a side order of wanderlust. His sense of honor and dedication to his new team led him to become a favorite character among Legion fans in the 1970s. He served two terms as the team leader and as DC Comics changed its in-universe history, he eventually became the inspiration for the Legion in a time travel story more complex than Doctor Who.
But bringing him to The CW’s Supergirl meant reinterpreting not just the character, but his homeworld. On the show, Daxam is depicted as a sister planet to Krypton; sharing the same sun and engaging in a fierce sibling rivalry. Both are completely new elements as the Daxam of DC Comics has always been a world colonized by ancient Kryptonians in another part of the universe. The society of that comic book planet is extremely xenophobic and isolationist. On Supergirl, Kara’s secondhand knowledge of Daxam led her to believe it is a world of autocratic excesses.
This would also seem to be true of Mon-El. Though he claims to be a guard to the prince of Daxam, his boorish, almost fratty tendencies – played with aplomb by Chris Wood — suggest a more affluent upbringing. (A tease for the March 20 episode seemingly gives away Mon-El’s ruse: Looks like he’s actually a prince.) It is also a wild departure from the straight-laced symbol of valor in the Legion comics of the 20th century. At the same time, the changes positioned him as a worthy romantic foil for Kara.
It could also be suggested that this Mon-El will eventually be that heroic Legionnaire of a far-away time. He just has to learn some humility (and to listen to Kara) before he adopts a blue cape and superhero identity.
Perhaps that is what makes this adaptation so successful. Despite a number of wild departures from the comics, Mon-El is on an interesting path. Though he clearly has been holding back a big secret, his time on Earth has been far more productive than a simple case of lead poisoning and a trip to the Phantom Zone.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7C on The CW
Now a beloved member of Team Arrow, Felicity Smoak began her comics career with a very different role – an opponent for Firestorm. First appearing in The Fury of Firestorm #23, writer Jerry Conway and artist Rafael Kayanan fashioned her as a supervisor at a software firm where Firestorm caused serious collateral damage to their in-development projects. She threatened to sue him and continued to appear in the series as a reminder of unintended consequences.
Ultimately, she married the father of Ronnie Raymond, one half of the team who make up Firestorm. The two eventually called a truce, but Felicity never stopped reminding Ronnie about the damage Firestorm’s powers can unleash. Unlike other characters on the list, Felicity never developed beyond those Firestorm appearances and became DC Comics trivia as Firestorm himself lost relevance.
In 2012, Felicity was re-imagined as an IT expert working at Queen Consolidated in the television series Arrow. Initially planned to be a one-off character with a deep-pull name from DC Comics lore, actress Emily Bett Rickards impressed the producers with her performance, and Felicity soon became a regular facet of Starling City.
Other than retaining the character’s computer background, Arrow had a great amount of freedom adapting the minor DC Comics character into the quippy voice of reason; bringing much needed light to the gruff-voiced duo of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and John Diggle (David Ramsey). That freedom gave rise to a character that can be believable as a goth hacktivist college kid and the CEO of Palmer Tech.
The success of Felicity’s adaptation led to the creation of a specific support class within The CW’s superhero shows. It is hard to imagine Winn on Supergirl or even Cisco without Felicity establishing the way.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8/7 C on The CW
So imagine the pitch to a network executive: “This week, the Flash fights a giant, intelligent, telepathic gorilla with mind control powers.” It sounds insane. It always has from the moment Barry Allen first fought Gorilla Grodd in the pages of 1959’s The Flash #106. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Grodd was a criminal mastermind from a society of hyper-intelligent apes who sought to become its unquestioned leader and, from there, conquer the world.
Yeah, it still sounds insane. But the producers of The Flash television series figured out a way to make it all work by parsing out Grodd’s basic premise over three years and four episodes. Introduced as one of S.T.A.R. Labs’s test animals, Grodd made his first real appearance late in the show’s debut season.
Voiced by David Sobolov, Grodd sought revenge on a U.S. Army general who tortured him during a joint S.T.A.R. Labs–Army experiment in mind control. The season 1 big bad, the Reverse-Flash, was more than happy to assist Grodd and later used him as a distraction when his civilian identity was revealed to the Flash.
In his second season appearance, he hoped to create more apes like himself. Team Flash tried their best to help him by sending him to another Earth where a society of intelligent gorillas already existed. In the most recent episodes, he became ruler of Gorilla City and returned to Earth-1 in an attempt to make it a world under Grodd.
Grodd is, perhaps, the best example of comic book character adapted to TV faithfully while also well-realized. In parceling him out in manageable segments, the show’s staff established him first as a character – even a sympathetic one – before making him a true adversary of the Flash. In doing so, they also managed to create a plausible TV reality in which a hyper-intelligent gorilla with mind control powers is not instantly the most laughable thing on television that week, but instead an anticipated and marketable event.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7 C on The CW
Is there a comic book character who you think surpasses his or her (or its) paper potential on TV? Tell us in the comments! Comments
When Mon-El (Chris Wood) met Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) adopted father Jeremiah (Dean Cain) on Supergirl episode “Homecoming,” Jeremiah told Mon-El he knew his secret. Mon-El’s secret wasn’t revealed in last night’s Supergirl episode, but in the teaser for the next episode.
Mon-El is Daxam royalty. He’s a prince!
"Mon-El – Prince of Daxam" pic.twitter.com/90dMuaY1cs
— Karamel News (@KaramelSource) March 7, 2017
All hail, the Prince of Daxam.
— Mon-El (@ABoyFromDaxam) March 7, 2017
— Twinflames of Love (@DelenaTwinfire) March 7, 2017
The scene next week has guest stars Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo having dinner with Kara and Mon-El, calling him the Prince of Daxam. Since they were introduced on their own ship as “your highnesses,” that would make them the king and queen and therefore Mon-El’s mom and dad!
— comets (@KARALOVESMONEL) March 7, 2017
— Connor Davis (Blaze) (@TheBlazeNinja) March 7, 2017
WOW, they've already exposed that Mon-El's parents are gonna arrive & that he's the prince of Daxam in the next "ep" PROMO?!?! #Supergirl
— Nefertari Burns (@Nefertari_4Ever) March 7, 2017
— Jennifer Neal (@ayeayejenga) March 7, 2017
Karamel (that’s Kara and Mon-El) shippers are excited there’s even more to their relationship.
— Maria Elizabeth (@Ellie_McCray_) March 7, 2017
PRINCE OF DAXAM
PLEASE LET THEM BE HAPPY I JUST FALL INTO THIS SHIP A WEEK AGO DON'T RUIN THEM THANK YOU
— xavier. (@kavier4ever) March 7, 2017
— SparkleMcSnowflake❄️ (@Anjaani07) March 7, 2017
Mon el is the prince of daxam and kara will be the princess of daxam hehe 🙂
— cesar karamel (@cesarval23) March 7, 2017
Some are worried though. Kara already had a hard time seeing past her Daxamite prejudices. This could be too much. But likely her comment “This changes everything” is taken way out of context in the promo. It could change everything for the better. Or she could be talking about taco day at the DEO cafeteria.
— Alexa21 (@indigo_lily09) March 7, 2017
uh oh kara is mad that she found out mon-el is a prince of daxam ?
— c (@Crystele_Kwong) March 7, 2017
Not everyone is on the Karamel ship though.
Yes kara finally finds out mon el is the prince of daxam. I really hope they end up braking up.
— Steph (@Stephanie5H) March 7, 2017
Mon-El has had many backgrounds in the comic books, including different names like Lar Gand, Halk Kar, Valor and M‘Onel. His home planet has been alternatively called Thoron. Some Supergirl fans called this a while ago.
— FILIPA (@christophrcwood) March 7, 2017
Finally, the theory has been confirmed. Mon-El is the prince of Daxam. #Supergirl
— Michael Baculinao (@unbb24) March 7, 2017
why is anyone shocked that mon el is the actual prince of daxam and not a servant? cause i called that months ago. and i do mean months ago
— mariana (@fredbvrkle) March 7, 2017
— Delena (@DelenaSkaikru) March 7, 2017
@nerdhalfway villains. lol we were right about him being the prince of daxam haha
— carlaloo (@moon_cove) March 7, 2017
we all knew he was the prince of Daxam
— trish (@trishznjh) March 7, 2017
Knew Mon-El was the prince of Daxam, guessed it right ??? #Supergirl
— Hannah (@hannahfun1) March 7, 2017
MON-EL IS THE PRINCE OF DAXAM!!
I KNEW IT!!
— Vera Marie (@VERMarie_) March 7, 2017
Not quite everyone though:
— Erin Rice (@erinrice22) March 7, 2017
@sanversnews What???' Wait???? He is the Prince of Daxam??? I did not see that coming.:p
— Germán David (@Spupydo) March 7, 2017
— AmericanGirl Updates (@AmericanGirl_Ok) March 7, 2017
Some still don’t want to believe any of it.
"Mon-El prince of Daxam"
i know it! I know that bastard is lying!
— Dee. (@greyscanary) March 7, 2017
What do you think? Did you predict Mon-el was the prince? Will this make Kara and Mon-El stronger or tear them apart? Vote in our poll and tell us in the comments.