As soon as comic book characters came to dominate the movies, it was only a matter of time before they spread to the small screen as well. For years now, all sorts of superhero TV shows have been released, focusing on big-name characters like Batman or Superman, or even smaller characters like Legion.
However, much like the movies, there have been plenty of comic book TV shows that aren’t centered around actual superheroes. While both superhero show and non-superhero have succeeded/failed on the small screen, there are some that deserve far more attention than they get. Looking specifically at both types of shows, here is our list of 10 underrated comic book TV series.
Though it was canceled after one season, the Constantine TV series was actually a hit with the fans. Many people consider the show’s poor air time to be the cause of its low viewership, and hence, its cancellation. Thankfully, the show’s star, Matt Ryan, would get to reprise his role within the CW’s Arrowverse, on shows like Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
Likewise, the original show was popular enough that the CW has actually begun to explore Constantine’s adventures further, thanks to an animated series from the network. While the show was far from one of the best on TV, it was still stronger than many other successful comic shows, especially for its first season.
9 Deadly Class
Rick Remender’s Deadly Class is considered by many to be one of the best Image titles currently coming out. Therefore, when it was announced that a live-action TV series was in the works, many people got excited. The show itself was actually well received, with many noting that there were appropriate liberties taken without straying too far from the source material.
Unfortunately, the popular fan response just wasn’t enough to save the series from cancellation. Like Constantine, Deadly Class ended after only one season. However, Remender himself confirmed that the series wouldn’t be moving to another network, meaning that the first season is the only thing fans will be able to enjoy.
8 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel’s spinoff TV show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an incredibly campy take on the MCU as a whole. However, despite the differences between the show and the movies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. still manages to capture all of the same appeal that makes the movies so popular.
Though it is not as connected to the rest of the MCU as the movies are, the series still offers a lot of fun storylines that also pay homage to some classic Marvel storylines and characters. It definitely isn’t the best Marvel TV series out there, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is worthy of a better reputation than it currently has.
7 The Tick
Amazon’s The Tick is a very untraditional take on the superhero genre. Working more as an action/comedy above all else, The Tick makes great use of parody while also telling a compelling, character-driven story. Alongside the humor, the series also captures a lot of innocence, making it a bit nostalgic for fans of the character or comics in general.
Likewise, with a great cast including Jackie Earl Haley, The Tick is pretty high quality for something that isn’t too serious. After getting 2 seasons on Amazon, it was revealed that the show has been canceled. Though the streaming service has had a much more successful hit on their hands with The Boys, The Tick was still a great watch and worthy of a larger audience.
Unlike other shows on this list, iZombie actually had a fairly successful run. Starting around the same time as The CW’s, The Flash, iZombie was able to amass a rather large cult following. Centered around a protagonist who solves mysteries by eating brains, iZombie definitely offered a unique premise that many horror fans could get behind.
Despite being drastically different from the source material, iZombie still succeeded on its own. After completing its 5th season, the show came to a fitting conclusion. While it is probably best that it ended when it did, iZombie is still underrated, especially in relation to other CW shows.
5 Young Justice
Young Justice has actually been revived recently, thanks to the amount of demand from fans to see the series return. However, after drastically misjudging their audience, the original series was canceled after only 2 seasons. Focusing on the younger members, or “sidekicks” of the DC universe, Young Justice served as the perfect balance between the original Teen Titans show and Justice League Unlimited.
Not only did it feature a lot of great DC characters and lore, but it also had a very compelling and well-established cast. Recently, it was announced that the series would be renewed for a fourth season, though some audiences are still unfamiliar with the greatness that is Young Justice.
Like Young Justice, Lucifer was actually canceled and saved thanks to popular demand. Originally airing on Fox, Lucifer would get a total of 3 seasons before being canceled. Thankfully, Netflix was able to pick up the show, adding 2 more seasons and concluding after the 5th.
Like with iZombie, Lucifer was very different from the comic book story. However, it managed to capture enough of an audience through its unique story to be considered a cult show. Though there are better shows out there in the world, Lucifer is still worth a watch, especially for fans of the fantasy genre.
Throughout its 10 season run, Smallville was often criticized for the approach that it took to the Superman character. Though it did make some pretty significant changes to the Man of Steel’s history as well as other DC characters, Smallville still has a certain charm about it that just simply makes it enjoyable. While there are plenty of campy moments on a show that is full of early 2000s graphics, it still hits all the marks it needs to.
Despite its inaccuracies to the comics, the show still displayed a very good understanding of the character as well as his mythos. While there certainly have been better portrayals of Superman in live-action, Smallville is easily worthy of a place in the character’s history.
2 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Riverdale has been a massive success for The CW Network. Following a darker version of the Archie Comics characters, Riverdale has proven to be one of the more popular shows that the network puts out. Thanks to the success of Riverdale, Netflix launched its own spinoff with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
While the original TV series was called Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Chilling Adventures chose to follow the Riverdale route, focusing on a significantly darker version of the character. While the comics themselves have been generally darker lately, fans of the original series weren’t all on board with the new concept. Even with the positivity towards the Netflix series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is far better than some may realize.
Though the X-Men films have generally been hit or miss, Legion has been very consistent in quality ever since it first aired. Centered around the son of Charles Xavier, Legion is an expertly crafted and wonderfully weird TV series that also happens to focus on mental issues.
Though it is not connected to the X-Men films, Legion is considered by many to be the best comic book series yet. Unfortunately, the character just doesn’t have the largest following, meaning that the show isn’t nearly as celebrated as it deserves to be.