And here we go again. The best characters, best scenes, it’s the annual not-quite-comprehensive ranking of Comic Book TV. A little late this year because COVID delayed everything, so a) I tried to give at least some of the network shows a chance to wrap up their seasons, and b) six months watching mostly just vintage Oscar movies and their box office counterparts meant I kind of forgot how to watch serialized TV and fell behind on some stuff. But it’s okay, we’re here now, and ready to rock!
For six years running, the top show has been a freshman series. Will the MCU proper’s official entry into television keep that going? Let’s find out!
But first, a few shows not included, other than any show not ending its season before fall (sorry, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, I stalled as long as I could, see you next year)…
- Helstrom: Come on, none of us actually cares about Helstrom, it only made it onto screens because they’d signed too many contracts for Kevin Feige to shut it down when he pulled the plug on the rest of pre-Disney+ Marvel TV. It is to Jeph Loeb-era Marvel TV what New Mutants was to the Fox X-Men franchise: an embarrassing epilogue that the new management got stuck with.
- Pennyworth: When I finally found a way to watch the second season of Young Hot Alfred and Friends, I made it ten minutes before the story of right-wing fascists the Raven Society gradually conquering England and being cheered for making the Empire great again became a bit much. Read the goddamn room, Pennyworth. Your first season was okay but I’m not dealing with right wing fascist dystopias right now, and I happily watched a show on this list about a world-ending plague, that’s how dark Sexy Alfred decided to get. Hard pass.
- Riverdale: The Riverdale empire seems to have collapsed, with both Sabrina and Katy Keene over, but I’m too far behind on the Last Riverdale Standing to meaningfully include it here.
- The Walking Dead: How the hell is it possible that this show is still going after 11 years and Preacher ended after four. How are there two of them. No justice in this world.
And now, here are the shows we will be ranking, with links to blogs where appropriate. Some stalwarts, some new kids, some returning favourites that missed a year for various reasons.
- Agents of SHIELD season seven
- Batwoman season two
- Black Lightning season four
- The Boys season two
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
- The Flash season seven
- Doom Patrol season two
- Jupiter’s Legacy
- Loki season one
- Lucifer season five
- Resident Alien season one
- Stargirl season one
- Superman and Lois season one
- Sweet Tooth season one
- Umbrella Academy season two
- Warrior Nun season one
I maintain my “No cartoons” rule, but I really must take a moment to endorse Invincible. It’s a good blend of laughs and gasps, funny and horrifying, but it mostly mixes the comedy and the darkness well. Mostly. It’s an excellent show with a great cast and great animation whose only flaws are a) the fact that nearly every villain is more invincible than the title character, if Invincible has super strength then maybe sometimes his opponents could at least look like they’ve been in a fight; b) it’s made us notice that bald billionaire Jeff Bezos sure likes to greenlight shows about how Superman is Bad, Actually. Kinda… kinda doing the Lex Luthor out loud these days, isn’t he…
Also MODOK’s pretty good, maybe give MODOK a watch.
(I added Best Opening Titles last year, but this year it’s nothing but title cards, save for Pennyworth, so there goes that.)