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20 Greatest Ever Superhero TV Shows

Who said superheroes work better on the big screen?

It's not even up for debate at this point -- we are currently living in an era where the geek is king. Let's take the 2014-2015 television season for example. This year alone, we're being treated to more superhero and comic book shows than we know what to do with. We've got a Green Arrow adaptation, a new version of the Flash, a program about the SHIELD organization from the Marvel universe, and a gritty prequel to Batman. And there are countless more in the works, to be trotted out within the next few years. All this would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. Back in the 90s, for example, studios were unsure whether or not superhero films, typically being pretty expensive, would be able to make a return on their investment. Now they can't churn them out fast enough -- the Marvel and DC film release schedules are announced years in advance. While these types of shows have always had their own niche audiences, we've never seen so many of them in mainstream culture before, either on television or in the movie theaters. So as we experience this incredibly nerdy golden age, it would seem a bit ungrateful and churlish of us not to celebrate the shows that have paved the way for this success and cemented their place in popular culture. Without them, we surely wouldn't be here today.

20. Arrow

The Green Arrow, like many other DC superheroes, is more than a little bit campy. But in the CW adaption of the comic book figure, he takes on a much more stoic, grounded turn. This is a key example of Nolan's influence on the genre, and you can see elements of Bale's Batman in his character. To be fair, they are relatively similar in general -- a pair of billionaires who experience life changing events after the death of a parent and turn themselves into a walking weapon without actually having any superpowers. Also, there's a lot of brooding. But Arrow takes pains to make itself feel like something in the real world, albeit a particularly gritty and film noir-esque version of the real world. It focuses more on the relationships between people, and the damage that everyday people can do. For most of the first season, he's not fighting supervillains who are threatening to unleash a radioactive monster on Starling City, he's combating the corruption and apathy that plagues his hometown. Stephen Amell is surprisingly good in the lead role of Arrow, managing to bring a lot of emotion and empathy to a character that could be just another one note superhero.
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Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.