Underrated: Comic Book Television

Heroes returned to our screens last week with Heroes Reborn, and as I sit here preparing to watch the second episode (although its technically the third because episodes one and two were shown on the same night), I got to thinking that this season has one large uphill battle to fight after the memories we have from the last season of Heroes. I then realized that there were other television shows that were either adapted from or inspired by comics that don’t always get the attention they deserve (or as in some cases here, deserved).  Whether this is because the perception is that these shows aren’t always that great, or there simply isn’t the publicity surrounding these television shows – especially within the comic book community –  I don’t know.

However you look at it, though, there are some solid comic book inspired television shows out there that comic book fans tend to either ignore, or prejudge them into cancellation. Although in some cases this is entirely understandable, there are some gems out there.

A few things before we start; firstly, these television shows aren’t going to be strictly comic book adaptations, but rather live action TV shows that I also felt were inspired by comics (animated series are an entirely different beast). Secondly, I’ve got eclectic taste so these may not be for everybody so be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Thirdly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective.

You may have seen the Keanu Reeves movie about the character, and then decided that after that you’re never going to do anything but read Hellblazer comics for you John Constantine fix. At the time, that would have been fair (the movie isn terrible, it just not a great adaptation), fair, that is, until this series came out. Matt Ryan absolutely nails Constantine’s character, and although the show wasn’t renewed for either the second season, or the second half of the first season, it was one of the best comic book television properties on the airwaves last year. Find a way to watch it.

The Cape
A short lived tale about a cop who was framed for a crime and presumed dead going on a vigilante spree to clear his name. Wearing some kind of retractable cape, along with a costume based on his son’s favourite comic book character (also the Cape) and topped off by some training from a group of circus folk, this wasn’t a bad show. It never found it’s legs, however, and was cancelled pretty early into it’s first season.

Okay, so season 3 was pretty bad. But for a time (at least a season and a half) Heroes was the best superhero adaptation on the small screen. With how the show ended, and the utter lack of surprise from formerly en rapt fans, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there was any quality there at all. And honestly? Even season four wasn’t that bad.

There we have it – a mere handful of underrated comic book adaptations. There are more television shows influenced by comics that are worth reading, so there’s a good chance there will be a second (or third) part to this list eventually.

In the mean time, Underrated will return to highlight more comic book related stuff  that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is.

Until next time!


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