7 Must-See TV Shows Based on Marvel and DC Heroes

There’s little doubt that we’ve reached peak superhero television, thanks to a handful of comic book shows scattered across virtually every major network. From ABC to The CW, it’s immediately obvious that Hollywood has successfully figured out how to translate the genre over to TV. What’s most exciting though is the variety of ways we’ve seen this executed. The CW opts for the more fantastical elements of comics for The Flash and Arrow, ABC ties its shows in heavily to their cinematic universe, and together it makes for an ideal yin and yang approach between Marvel and DC.

This week kicks off one of the busiest weeks of the winter for TV premieres as networks begin to come off of hiatus. More specifically, superhero shows will be dominating the airwaves. It’s a solid mix of new programming, returning shows, and midseason premieres, combining to form a lineup that has something for every comic book fan. Here’s what to look out for as the week goes on:

1. Supergirl, 8 p.m. Monday, CBS

Supergirl debuted its midseason premiere last week, but we’d be remiss in not including it nonetheless. Things are beginning to ramp up on CBS’s first foray into the world of superheroes. The show has finally found its feet, and is improving with every episode. On the strength of its lead actor Melissa Benoist, Supergirl is establishing its own niche in a crowded field of capes, making it that much more appropriate to have it kick off our busy week.

2. Marvel’s Captain America: 75 Heroic Years, 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC

Chris Evans in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

Source: Marvel Studios

Next up on the docket, ABC is running an hour-long tribute to the 75-history of Captain America. Cap first appeared in 1941 as quasi-propaganda for World War II, something we see utilized heavily in the first Marvel movie for the character in 2011. Over three-quarters of a century though, we’ve seen Captain America evolve into something far greater, something we’ll see explored in the 75 Heroic Years special. This of course leads directly into our first premiere of the week…

3. Agent Carter, 9 p.m. Tuesday, ABC

Of all the flashy comic book shows from the last year, Agent Carter largely managed to fly under the radar. Despite this, it was easily a runaway hit, while holding the distinct honor of being the first series in the modern superhero era to feature a female lead. Hayley Atwell stars as the titular Peggy Carter, battling through a web of intrigue with her enemies, and against the overt sexism of post-WWII America inside her own profession. Season 2 takes Carter from New York to Los Angeles, beginning with a two-hour premiere right after ABC’s Captain America special.

4. The Flash, Tuesday 8 p.m., The CW

Tuesday’s shaping up to be the busiest night of the week for your viewing schedule, topped off by the midseason premiere of The Flash. This one features our first extended look at Earth-2, as Barry Allen and Team Flash venture into an alternate reality to track down Zoom. The few teasers we’ve seen give us our first look at Killer Frost as well as the return of the Reverse Flash. In short, it’ll be all the full-force multiverse hijinks we hoped for back when Earth-2 was first introduced.

5. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Their Time is Now / Dawn of the Justice League, 9 p.m. Tuesday, The CW

Not to be outdone by its Marvel counterparts on ABC, DC is going all-in this week, evidenced by its one-hour special directly following The Flash. The first half will cover the origins of the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow heroes, featuring interviews with the cast and creators, and leading directly into the real treat of the night: a brand new Suicide Squad trailer. Additionally, we’ll get some details on Batman v Superman and the upcoming Justice League team-up the DC film universe is currently building toward.

6. Arrow, 8 p.m. Wednesday, The CW

Arrow‘s has had its fair share of speed-bumps this season, accentuated by the decidedly more exciting second season of The Flash. That being said, there’s no denying its place in the pantheon of comic book television. A scattered and predictable early half of Arrow‘s fourth season will hopefully lead into some much-needed answers for fans, teased at by our bow-and-arrow-toting hero’s promise to return to his decidedly more ruthless Season 1 methods of villain-fighting.

7. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, 8 p.m. Thursday, The CW

For the better part of both their current seasons, Arrow and The Flash have been building toward The CW’s next big project: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The premise alone qualifies as bold, even for the comic book TV genre, as a team of B-list DC heroes travel through time to stop an immortal villain from destroying humanity as we know it. The success of Legends will be a good barometer for the future of The CW’s superhero universe, and soon, we’ll know exactly how long its comic book dominance will last.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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