Summer is officially here, which unfortunately means that all your favorite shows are now on hiatus (or are about to be). And while viewers love the explosive plots of season finales, they don’t really love waiting until the fall for new episodes. Fans of DC shows in the Arrowverse — Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and the recent addition Supergirl — are particularly desperate, as most of the series ended on superhero-sized cliffhangers.
Alas, it’s a long three to four months until the Arrowverse returns with new episodes, so to help fans pass the time, here are 15 fantasy TV shows to binge on while DC’s superhero shows are on break. Whether you binge these in one month, or let them last all summer, you won’t be disappointed.
15. The Flash
The original Flash show from the 1990s only lasted one, 22 episode season, but it’s an obvious substitute for The CW’s revamped Flash. Fans not familiar with the original will get a kick out of seeing John Wesley Shipp (who’s now known for playing Henry Allen and the real Jay Garrick in The CW’s Flash) playing Barry Allen/the Flash.
When he finished the show in 1991, Shipp swore he would never again put on the red suit. “I swore at that moment that I would never, ever get into another superhero suit ever again. Well, now 25 years older and 25 years wiser, I know never to make those kinds of statements,” Shipp recently told TV Line.
14. The Timmverse (DC Animated Universe)
If you want more DC television to bridge the cap between Arrowverse seasons, then the Timmverse (aka the DC Animated Universe) is perfect for a summer-long binge. Headed up by famed producer Bruce Timm, the various series of the eponymous nicknamed shared TV universe dominated the animated market for over a decade — between 1992 and 2006 — setting the golden standard for small screen superhero series.
These shows include the beloved Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Batman Beyond, and more. Before Arrow, the animated DC universe was pretty much the authority of DC television. And, depending on who you ask, it still is. Fans looking to be exposed to the greater DC mythology, as well as those hoping to get a sneak peek at villains or characters who could make their way onto The CW, should definitely give the Timmverse a go.
13. The 100
In a post-nuclear war world, humans have escaped to space to survive, but they are desperate to return home to Earth. And, as the life-support systems of the space station deplete, those in charge decide to send 100 teenagers and juvenile delinquents to Earth in an attempt at re-settling the planet. Once they get there, they find that the Earth wasn’t as devastated as they once thought. The teens are forced to fight “grounders,” survivors of the nuclear war, as well as other elements threatening their lives.
The show is less superhero fantasy, more science fiction dystopia, but it has a similar cast of young actors and serious life-and-death stakes. The 100 is a gritty show, especially for The CW, making it a great substitute for Arrow during the summer hiatus.
12. The Tomorrow People
This Greg Berlanti gem only lasted one season on The CW, but it was a fan favorite when it was on the air, and continues to gain new fans on Netflix.
The series, centered around young people with special abilities — telepathy, telekinesis, etc. — is sort of X-Men-esque. The young people with powers are not superheroes necessarily, but they’re humans who have evolved and developed mutant-like powers. Berlanti isn’t the only connection The Tomorrow People has to the Arrowverse: the show starred Robbie Amell — Oliver Queen/Stephen Amell’s cousin — who played Ronnie Raymond on The Flash. It’s a small Arrowverse after all!
11. Jessica Jones
Netflix’s original series Jessica Jones might be from DC’s biggest rival, but it’s quite possibly the best TV show based on a comic on the air right now. The show is Marvel’s second Netflix original, and has ties to Daredevil, though the two heroes have yet to cross paths (key word: yet).
Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a private investigator trying to forget her superpowers — she has super strength as a result of unknown experiments — while haunted by a villain from her past that can control people’s minds. Not only does the first season feature a (terrifyingly rare) strong, female superhero, it also has one of the scariest villains on the small screen in Kilgrave (David Tennant). Unfortunately, there’s only one, 13-episode season available, so it might not last all summer. Good thing Marvel’s stepped up their TV game as of late…
If you are particularly partial to Arrow, Marvel’s first Netflix series Daredevil is the one for you. It has all the main Arrow components: a broodingly stubborn superhero who’s convinced himself that he needs to work alone; a masked hero with nigh-superhuman reflexes but no real superpowers; a cute, nerdy assistant/love interest — this one’s got it all.
Like the Arrow, Daredevil always has a villain in his sights, and, when he’s not fighting crime, he’s kind of a downer, not unlike Oliver Queen. Plus, there have already been two seasons of the show (with a third hopefully on the way), which means it will at least distract you for twice as long as Jess Jones will.
Fringe is a lot like The Flash, but instead of a team of scientists and a superhero defeating evils in the world, it’s a team of scientists and an FBI agent. Fringe is about an FBI agent, Olivia Dunham, who recruits a crazy old scientist and his adult son to help her solve seemingly inexplicable crimes, most of which have something to do with fringe science.
Ever since The X-Files went off the air (but before it returned), Fringe is about as close to pure science fiction as network television gets. The show only lasted four seasons before it was cancelled, but in those four seasons, show runners managed to create a complete mythological arc, making it a great summer binge.
JJ Abrams’ Alias is perfect for Arrowverse fans craving more female characters that kick ass (and preferably don’t get put in the fridge). The series stars Jennifer Garner in her breakout role as super spy Sydney Bristow, who becomes a double agent for the CIA when she finds out she’s really working for the bad guys.
Superhero show it is not, but it’s pretty darn close. The show features plenty of exciting action, evil plots, and secret missions — concepts not at all unfamiliar to fans of the Arrowverse — and it also has a small supernatural subplot to add a bit spice. Alias lasted five full seasons, which is more than enough to keep a CW fan busy all hiatus long.
Like Fringe, iZombie is very similar to The Flash, but instead of evil metahumans, there are just evil regular people committing murders — and the occasional evil zombie. Despite being a show revolving around an undead protagonist, iZombie is a fun show that shares Flash’s upbeat tone.
The show also has a very superhero-like mythology (which makes sense, as it’s based on a graphic novel) and, because zombies have super-strength, there’s a lot of comic book-y action. The CW series has two seasons on its belt and is gearing up for a third, but it’s been on the bubble every year, so if you’re interested, now is the time to binge before season 3.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Vampires are a bit more fanciful than the baddies on Flash or Arrow, and, yes, the ‘90s special effects have not aged too well, but Buffy is probably the closest to a major female superhero TV lead we had prior to the recent superhero boom.
There’s no denying that Joss Whedon’s classic show inspired shows like Flash and Arrow, whether it be with the team dynamic, the clever, mid-battle quips, or the treatment of serious issues through ridiculously magical villains. With its seven seasons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes range from funny to terrifying, from thrilling to musical. Fans looking for a replacement summer series will never get bored.
5. Prison Break
For those of you who were only watching Legends of Tomorrow for Wentworth Miller (RIP Leonard Snart), Prison Break can help satisfy the Wentworth Miller-shaped hole in your TV schedule. In Prison Break, Miller
played plays Michael Scofield, a genius who goes to prison in order to break out his wrongly-convicted brother (Dominic Purcell, aka Mick Rory/Heat Wave).
Now, Michael Scofield is no Leonard Snart, but Prison Break has a great story and a ton of riveting action that rivals Legends of Tomorrow. The show was cancelled in 2009, but Fox is reviving the series for a special mini-series event in 2017, making Prison Break a worthy and timely a summer binge.
As The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow move past their various origin stories, fans who love watching new heroes find their footing are left in the dust — and that’s where Heroes comes in. This show might be a bit more X-Men than Flash — humans with mutant genes (read: powers) are hunted by secret government forces, as well as the occasional enhanced villain — but if you’re craving more superhero powers in your life, it’s an ideal fix.
Heroes is also a great summer binge for those of you who are sick of the same old heroes from comic books, as it features original characters with brand new powers. The original series was cancelled after four seasons, but was such a cult favorite that it was rebooted for a short mini-series event in 2015 titled Heroes Reborn (though that doesn’t come as highly recommended).
3. Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a bit old-fashioned, and certainly not as CGI-advanced as shows like The Flash, but it has a charm that cannot be denied. The reboot of Doctor Who (probably best for Arrowverse fans) has nine seasons under its belt, so there’s more than enough material to fill up a summer.
The show resembles Legends of Tomorrow, in that the good doctor (currently played by Peter Capaldi) travels through time, stopping at critical moments — past, present and future — and prevents tragedy or solves crimes, but, for all intents and purposes, the Doctor is far from a superhero. The show also features crazy villains and the over-the-top makeup fans have come to expect from superhero narratives.
In Chuck, a lanky, nerdy guy becomes a CIA agent over night after he is exposed to a secret computer file that uploads classified information into his brain. It’s kind of like The Flash, but instead of superpowers, the hero got information, and instead of scientists, two very capable spies help him out.
Fans looking for the dark tone of Arrow won’t find that in Chuck. The show might be all about spies and life and death situations, but it’s really pretty humorous and fluffy. The show lasted five seasons before being cancelled, and it’s full of comic book and geek-culture references sure to tickle more light-hearted Arrowverse fans.
Torchwood, starring John Barrowman (aka Malcolm Merlyn himself), is a spinoff of Doctor Who about the Torchwood Institute, a secret British government organization meant to fight against supernatural and alien evils.
Fans of Arrow will be shocked to see Malcolm Merlyn play the charming Captain Jack Harkness, the star Time Agent working for the Torchwood Institute. Torchwood is known for breaking down barriers with Harkness, a rare bisexual series lead, but its also known for the occasional crossover with Doctor Who. Arrowverse fans, be warned, don’t venture into Doctor Who or Torchwood if you don’t want to get sucked into another fandom.
Which series will you look to fill the summer months with? Do you agree with our entries? Let us know in the comments section.
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