Superhero TV Show Power Rankings

TV is currently inundated with superhero shows and I watched them all. Okay, not all, but most. Even I have to draw the line somewhere. Still, with nearly ten superhero shows airing over the last year, there were a lot of superheroics around. So now that all of the seasons have reached their conclusions, I am going to rate them.

Agent Carter – While it has many of the problems of Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter is pretty damn enjoyable. That is partly due to the period setting and partly due to tone. Setting it in the Post-WWII era makes it different from just about everything else on TV. Plus, it keeps a fairly upbeat tone, something I am very much in favor of. I am certainly going to miss this show. This time, Agent Carter goes to Hollywood and gets entangled with some mysterious science stuff. If I am being honest, I missed a few episodes in the middle of this season, but I loved almost every second of it I watched. A

Jessica Jones – The second Netflix effort from Marvel was even better than the first. I do have some complaints with Jessica Jones, especially with the second half of the season, but for the most part it was a great first season. Jessica is an almost broken person to start, and the show gets to the heart of her problems, as well as her strengths. It also had a pretty great villain and a great performance by David Tennant. I would argue that this would have been a stronger 10 episode season than a 13 episode one, but it is still mostly good. It is hard to get around some of the shocking twists existing just to be shocking twists, but it never dips below a certain level of quality. A-

Arrow – An improvement over S3, but this show still has plenty of problems. This season went a little too big and got messy. I really liked Darhk as a villain, but the parts of the season that haven’t already faded in my memory only stuck because they were annoying. The flashbacks were inconsequential and a lot of stories seemed to go in circles. They killed off Black Canary, but that was a character the show never really knew what to do with; she had been all over the map over the course of the show. There are some interesting developments at the end that season that could set up some good stuff next season, but I think I’ll wait and watch it on Netflix, other than the obligatory crossover episodes. C-

Daredevil – The first season of this Netflix Original was excellent, but it seems like they took some pointers from Arrow for the second one. The high production values are still there, but as the season went on nearly everything else fell apart. It starts off good, with some fine episodes about the Punisher and seeds what could have been a really good season. Then Elektra shows up and things start to go to crap. As the show gets further and further in the ninja war and the Black Sky bullshit, the worse it got. I don’t know how, but they managed to make ninja fights straight up boring. Even the good episodes bring in their fair share of stupidity, like the episode with The Punisher in prison. It is largely an excellent episode, but there is still the prison fight that seemed intent to use the show’s entire fake blood supply. The show doubled down on my problems with the first season, mistaking blood and darkness for maturity. I don’t know how eager I am for a third go round. C-

The Flash – This season did not match the incredible first season, but it was still highly entertaining. All of DC’s shows need to work on their central plots and that was very true of this season of the Flash. Outside of a couple of episodes and some neat reveals, Zoom didn’t work. It also hurt to lose the rogues after the first half of the season. Another episode with Captain Cold or Trickster would have really helped down the stretch. The ending was kind of stupid, first in a good way and then at the very end in a very off putting way. With luck Season 3 will recapture the magic of the first season and bring back a little light after what became a pretty dark second season. B

Legends of Tomorrow – I think I’ve been saying this a lot, but this was a messy season. The central conflict between Vandal Savage and Hawkman/Hawkgirl was dull. And stupid. Really, after the opening few episodes, every time Savage showed up the show was a mess. Still, there is a lot to like here. About 2/3 of the cast is really good and hopefully with the block hole that was Hawkgirl gone, the show can improve. When the show clicks it is so good, but this didn’t click often enough. Still, as a humongous JSA fan I am definitely in for next season. Hopefully they have something to replace Captain Cold. C+

Supergirl – It was uneven and a little too goofy at times, but Supergirl was maybe my favorite show this season. The plotting was weak, especially at the end of the season, but the show never lost its positive outlook. It also has the absolute best episode of the year with its Flash crossover. Still, the show is a little scattered and it kept letting its plots loose immediately instead of giving them time to develop. I hope they calm it down some in season 2. The show has good characters and a good look, it just needs slightly better scripts. Still, there is a lot more good than bad here, and I can’t wait to see more of this show. B+

Agents of SHIELD & Gotham – I didn’t watch either of these shows. My interest in SHIELD is measured in negative amounts. I’m sure it is a perfectly fine show despite the fact that doesn’t connect to the Marvel movies in any meaningful way. I tuned out in the first season and haven’t looked back. Bringing in the Inhumans is not going spark my interest. Gotham also lost me in its first season, seeming to be a grittiest take on Smallville possible. If they had some consistent, logical character growth I might have stuck around, but this show exists to tease Batman villains and be comically dark. It is terrible.

Season MVPs: Captain Cold and Supergirl – Every second Wentworth Miller is on screen as Captain Cold is an absolute delight. For long stretches of Legends, he and Caity Lotz were the only reasons worth watching. His delivery of every line is amazing. Plus, he had maybe the most satisfying character arc of anyone on any of these shows this year. He journey from cynical villain to self-sacrificing hero was fun to watch and big reason that Legends ended up being worth watching. Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl was just as good, in a better show. For all of Supergirl’s, the show, faults there is never a disappointing moment with Benoist. I am so glad the show will continue, hopefully for a half dozen more seasons.

It is a little too early to have a strong read on what new stuff is coming next year, other than Powerless on NBC and Luke Cage on Netflix, but I can say which of these shows I will be watching.

  • Agent Carter – Unfortunately cancelled, so no, I will not be watching this next year
  • Agents of SHIELD – Still no.
  • Jessica Jones – When this show comes back (likely in early 2017) I will be right there to binge watch it.
  • Arrow – Other than the crossovers, I think I am out on Arrow. That could change, and might just need a bigger role for Mr. Terrific, but I think I’ve seen enough Arrow.
  • Daredevil – If and when this gets a third season, I will probably watch it. But I am not really looking forward to the prospect.
  • The Flash – Yes, I will. Season 2 was a minor disappointment, but it still provided plenty of what I want to see.
  • Gotham – God no. I’ve really grown to hate this show.
  • Legends of Tomorrow – Yes, if only because I am one of the world’s biggest JSA fans. Some tinkering over the summer could fix a lot of this show’s problems.
  • Supergirl – As long as Melissa Benoist is playing Supergirl, I’ll be watching the show. So yes, I am back for this one.