Superheroes run the world, and I’m not just talking about titans like Marvel and DC. From The Umbrella Academy to Invincible and well beyond, here are 8 great superhero series to get into.
Superheroes run the world…or at least Hollywood. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite possibly the biggest things to happen to movies since their inception, with 23 films put out since 2008, lots more on the way, and mountains of money stored safely in the Marvel Studios vault. And that’s not to mention all the TV shows Marvel has coming to Disney+. Over at Warner Bros., DC Comics are doing pretty well themselves, with films like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Zack Snyder’s Justice League creating an increasingly solid front against the competition at Marvel.
And like Marvel, DC is going hard on TV. Soon enough we’ll have shows based on Green Lantern, Peacemaker and more, and that’s on top of already-running shows like Harley Quinn, Titans and Pennyworth. You see what I mean? Superheroes run the world.
And I haven’t even gotten into all the superhero shows that have nothing to do with Marvel or DC. Although these comics dynasties are usually the first thing people think of when they hear “comic book movie” or “superhero show,” there are lots of other contenders in the mix, and some of them give the old guard a run for their money. If you, like me, love superhero stuff but don’t want to just patronize Marvel and DC, here are some great options to explore, in no particular order:
The Umbrella Academy — Netflix
Let’s start with one that’s made quite a few waves in the last few years: The Umbrella Academy. This Netflix adaptation of the comic by Gerard Way (who also started the band My Chemical Romance, oddly enough) is sort of like a profane Fantastic Four. It’s about seven super-powered siblings who grew up under the dysfunctional gaze of their demanding adopted father Reginald Hargreeves, who trained them to be a superhero team. The main story picks up with the siblings as adults, all of them nursing childhood psychic wounds that never quite healed.
That makes the series sound dour, and there is a melancholic strain running through it, but mostly what you remember is how unabashedly wacky the whole thing is, full of talking butler monkeys, time-traveling assassins played by Mary J. Blige and a trip back in time to try and stop the Kennedy assassination. Breakout character Number 5 is a middle-aged man trapped in a tweenager’s body, so he’s got the grumpiest of the group despite looking the youngest. Klaus is a pansexual layabout constantly arguing with his dead brother Ben.
And it just goes on like that. The show is constantly throwing some new twist, new characters, new sights, new sounds at you. It’s funny, touching, action-packed and the second season is better than the first. Now bring on the third!