They say that television is called a ‘medium’, because it’s neither rare nor well-done, but it is a business of cycles.  Every few years, certain genres and stories recur, among those the superhero story.  After Batman in ’66, the likes of Mr. Terrific and Captain Nice arrived, while the end of the 70s brought another bumper crop, featuring Spider-Man, The Hulk, Wonder Woman and lesser lights such as Automan.  2014 is another big year for fans of the super-dupers, with Green Arrow already in play, The Flash and Constantine on their way, and hopefully another batch of low-rent knockoffs like Street Hawk and The Greatest American Hero ready in the wings.  It’s a great time to be a fan of superheroes, which brings us to our more powerful than a locomotive query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced “hay-nee”, but only after a certain tragic March day in ’81) probably shouldn’t allow ‘Smallville’, as it wasn’t about the hero, but the hero’s journey, but figures that Spoilerites are generally a younger population, asking: What’s the best small-screen superhero series of them all?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Doctor Dinosaur
    June 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm — Reply

    Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

    When can I expect my prize?

  2. June 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm — Reply

    I still saying Smallville. :-p UNLESS you buy into the argument that an alien Timelord who saves the day/world/galaxy/space-time continuum is a superhero…

  3. Starks Scraps
    June 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm — Reply

    Are we talking live action here because if we talk animated than Batman takes it. The animated Series is a perfect example of what that character is and the Brave and the Bold is a perfect example of what that character was. I love smallville but I feel that it consistently loses its way in order to milk another year out of a tired franchise. I think that goes the same for Buffy althought the comics have done a lot to clean that character up. In all honesty though, the only small screen hero offering that’s really excited me in a long time (since the Family Channel started airing Batman ’66 reruns when I was but a wee scrap) was season one of Heroes. The first season was so good that you overlooked the plot holes (at least until the trainwreck of a second season started) and just went along for the ride.

  4. rob
    June 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm — Reply

    Can I cheat and count the whole DCAU as one series because, damn that’s some good television right there.
    For live action I’d have to give it to Smallville, dispite it’s flaws it is probably the most attempt to reproduce a the comicbook experience on the small screen.

  5. June 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm — Reply

    Live Action: Can I say Super Sentai as a whole rather than choosing one series of the franchise individually? If not, I’ll go with Gokaiger.

    Animated: Batman Beyond (although I’ll mirror rob’s sentiment above that the DCAU as a whole is simply awesome).

  6. Kirby
    June 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm — Reply

    Animated: Justice League Unlimited for a straight-up superhero story. Venture Bros. for a more subversive superhero story.

    Live Action: Power Rangers Time Force, is a great example of a superhero story. Dark in some places, goofy in others, with just enough of a right blend of the two to keep it from being Turbo.

    • June 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm — Reply

      I truly wish the current PR could have the quality of writing they had on Time Force and eventually some of the Disney era series.

      • Kirby
        June 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm — Reply

        I’ve only seen one episode since it got back on Nickeldeon and wasn’t terribly impressed. And by that I mean even by Power Rangers standards.

        • June 19, 2014 at 7:23 am — Reply

          The seasons since the return to Saban control have been overwhelmingly dumbed down, aimed at young audiences and hitting them with hammers of plot and crowbars of moral. Still, there’s some decent moments to be had, once you get past the dumb jokes and the fact that the current Red Ranger has the acting range of an Easter Island statue, without the charisma…

          • June 20, 2014 at 7:24 pm — Reply

            This is why I’m so disappointed. Even the cheesiest episodes of MMPR looks well-written compared to the recent seasons. If I didn’t have such a massive crush on the current pink ranger (dear gods is she adorable) I’d probably have stopped watching by episode 2 of Megaforce. I skipped most of Samurai anyway, other than to see Bulk and Skull’s reunion in the finale and how they would handle the female Red Ranger (which I’m at least glad they kept, though I hate how they handled it).

  7. Gehrigan
    June 19, 2014 at 3:38 am — Reply

    It is hard to choose between Hercules the Legendary Journeys or Xena – Warrior Princess. Hercules was first but Xena was so gosh darned enjoyable [Joxar]

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