Once again, while Marvel continues to dominate the box office with their interconnected films. DC Comics rages on, taking over everything else. From Video Games to Animation, DC also seems to be producing some of the most incredible Live-Action television series. However, what puts DC in the position to create such unique series comes from their diverse properties from various publications. Aside from just the core DC characters like Batman and Superman, we will also be incorporating series based on other DC Publications. Series from Vertigo and WildStorm Comics. Any TV Specials or unaired pilots will not qualify for the list, Adrianne Palicki’s Wonder Woman and Justin Hartley’s Aquaman will not be making an appearance on this list.
10. Titans (2018)
Any DC Fan can recognize the adolescent team of sidekicks, the Teen Titans. After two successful animated series Teen Titans and Young Justice, these characters had become recognizable among non-fans as well. Finally in 2018, the subscription DC Universe developed a live-action series to tell the tale of the formation of this teenaged team of heroes. When a young Rachel (Raven) seeks the help of Dick Grayson (Robin) to fend off the evil forces after her, they require a bit more help. Luckily they are met by Kory Anders (Starfire), Garfield Logan (Beast Boy) and the duo Hawk and Dove to fight against this supernatural threat. Receiving mixed reviews from the first season, the show came back for a second season with even bigger surprises. Introducing Deathstroke as the main of the antagonist of the second season and bringing in more DC Characters such as Rose Wilson (Revenger), Donna Troy (Wonder Girl), Jason Todd (Second Robin), among other heroes and villains. The show has been renewed for a third season, this time being released on HBO Max. Season three is set to introduce even more comic accurate portrayals of its characters, including Jason Todd’s transformation into the infamous Red Hood.
9. Human Target (2010)
Based on the character Christopher Chance, created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino in 1972 when he first appeared in Action Comics #419. While there was a television series developed for the character in 1992, we will be taking a look at the reimagined show in 2010. Mark Valley plays Christopher Chance, an expert killer for hire to protect specific clients. However rather than taking on their identity, he completely integrates himself into their lives to become the main target. Accompanied by his business partner Winston, hired gun Guerrero, former client Ilsa and expert thief Ames, they will work together to successfully carry out their mission of protecting clients from attacks. Running for only two seasons, the series was eventually cancelled after ratings dropped during the second season. The series has gained a following recently, especially after it debuted on the DC Universe subscription service. Nothing has been discussed about if the series will return, however due to its exciting premise and interesting character development, we would have no problems seeing these characters return for a third season or even a reboot of the Human Target. Perhaps exploring the backstory of the original Human Target, Fred Venable.
8. Gotham (2014)
Developed by Bruno Heller, famous for his work on shows such as Rome and The Mentalist. Gotham takes a different approach to the Batman mythos, by telling the stories of Jim Gordon and his time as a Lieutenant for the Gotham City Police Department. As well as a deep dive into the various Batman rouges gallery from their origins to the transformation into iconic villains of the Dark Knight. Aside from the GCPD and villains, the series also takes a deep dive into the development of Bruce Wayne as he attempts to cope with the death of his parents and path leading him to become Batman. The first episode establishes the world by once again showing the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne and the pairing of James Gordon with Harvey Bullock as partners. The first season explores Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney as she runs the underground crime of Gotham and becomes the inspiration for the Penguin. The second season sees the Order of St. Duma and the Court of Owls making their presence in Gotham. As the series continued, so did the stories of these characters. Notably Cameron Monaghan’s version of the Joker, as he goes from being a disturbed young man to the infamous criminal we recognize.
7. iZombie (2015)
Based on the Vertigo Comic, created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred in 2010. The series starred Olivia “Liv” Moore as Rose McIver, a medical examiner working for the Seattle Police Department. When Liv is turned into a zombie, her appetite for brains becomes a strength as is gives her the ability to inherit the person’s personality, skills and even memories. Her ability sends her in the direction of Police Detective Clive Babineaux, as the two of them team up to solve various crimes and murders throughout the city. iZombie came onto screens and blew everyone away with its new and inventive premise. During a time when zombies was a popular topic, the developers of the show Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright managed to bring the graphic novel to life with a fun and inventive twist. Turning the zombie cliché into something fresh and exciting for new viewers. The series only lasted five seasons before being axed in 2019 due to low ratings, however the series has gained a bit of popularity when it was posted on Netflix.
6. Doom Patrol (2019)
Created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani to be developed by Jeremy Carver. Another series developed by the DC Universe subscription service, with characters who first appeared in the series Titans. The Doom Patrol are a group of super powered beings who received their abilities from dramatic accidents. But a medical doctor known as The Chief, treats them and offers them residence in his mansion to protect them from the outside world. When The Chief is kidnapped by the villainous Mr. Nobody, this group of unpredictable characters must work together to save Chief. April Bowlby plays Rita Farr, with the ability to turn her body into a gelatinous state. Diane Guerrero plays Jane, a traumatized woman with a dissociative identity disorder. Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk play Larry Trainor, a man with another entity made of negative energy living inside of him. Brendan Fraser plays Cliff Steele, a former NASCAR driver involved in an accident that leaves him requiring a brain transplant into a robot body. Joivan Wade plays Victor “Vic” Stone, a young man with cybernetic enchantments by his father after an accident, you might also know him as Cyborg. This team of heroes must face against Alan Tudyk’s Mr. Negative, a villain with the ability to travel through dimensions and alter reality.
5. Preacher (2016)
Based on the DC Comic/Vertigo comic book of the same name created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon in 1995. Developers of the series Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have crafted a comedic supernatural drama for the AMC television network. After appearing as Howard Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter, Dominic Cooper switches over to the DC/Vertigo universe to play as Jesse Custer. A chain smoking drunk church pastor with a crisis of faith, gifted with incredible super powers. He sets out to uncover the extent of his abilities and find god, with the help of his ex-girlfriend Tulip and vampire friend Cassidy. The series lasted four seasons with the first season receiving raved reviews, but seeing a decline with each new season. Eventually the show ended on its fourth outing in 2019, but is still remembered as an exciting and accurate portrayal of the source material and its characters. Much of the praise going to Cooper’s performance as Jesse Custer.
4. Pennyworth (2019)
Another development by write Bruno Heller, based on the infamous butler to The Dark Knight. Aired on Epix, Pennyworth follows a young Alfred Pennyworth during the 1950’s and 60’s as an ex-SAS soldier as he starts his own security company in London. A conspiring group known as the Raven Society plans to overthrow the British Government, Alfred stands in the way of them achieving their goal. Now as a prime target for this society, Alfred must partner with American agents Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane to bring them down. Jack Bannon plays as Alfred, with Ben Aldridge as Thomas Wayne and Emma Paetz as Martha Kane playing as the group who would one day raise the legend known as Batman. While the character of Alfred was first created in 1943 as Alfred Beagle by Don Cameron and Bob Kane, it wasn’t until Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson changed it to Alfred Pennyworth. Originally intended to be a comedic relief for Batman and Robin, he was later changed to become a defining aspect of Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the Batman. This series chooses to follow the story of Alfred Pennyworth told in the Post-Crisis era of DC Comics. When the character was reinvented to have military skills from his young life, a better explanation to how he is able to assist Bruce so much during his crusades.
3. Lucifer (2016)
Understandably Lucifer isn’t technically an original DC character, since you know… the bible and such. But DC Comics reinvented their own version of Satan to fit in with their world of heroes and villains. This version of Lucifer was created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, first appearing in 1989’s The Sandman (vol. 2) #4. The series follows Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, a fallen angel cast out of Heaven to reside as the Lord of Hell. However after a millennia of punishing people cast into hell, he decides to defy God and make himself a new home in Los Angeles. He is then involved in a murder, where he meets Detective Chloe Decker. Interested in Decker, he decides to work alongside her as a consultant for the LAPD. Lucifer begins to become comfortable with his new situation and as he continues to assist in solving crimes, demonic threats begin to plague LA, giving him another purpose to stay among the humans. When the series was cancelled in May 2018 during its third season, a fan outrage begged studios to pick up the series and continue its run. Creators of the show purposely ended the third season on a cliffhanger to encourage fans to rally together and save the show. Luckily in June 2018, Netflix decided to pick up the show and continue its run with a fourth season and begin production of the fifth. Netflix completed the fourth season and half of the fifth has been placed on their streaming service with more episodes to come. The show has also been greenlit for a sixth season.
2. Watchmen (2019)
Considered one of HBO’s best series after hits such as Game of Thrones and Chernobyl, Watchmen came as an unexpected masterpiece. Rather than creating a remake of Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel, show creator Damon Lindelof took a different approach by creating a sequel to the graphic novel. 34 years after the events of the graphic novel, when Adrian Veidt crafted a fake attack by a giant squid-like creature. This common threat would unite the world’s nations to bring down this enemy, in the effort of creating global peace. This series picks up with Regina Hall’s Angela Abar as the costumed hero Sister Night, as she worked with the police department to fight against a white supremacist group taking on the identity of the deceased vigilante Rorschach. Keeping true to the source material from the graphic novel, new characters have been added into the series to craft a story that reflects the world we live in and ask the questions that need to be asked by our society. The series also saw incredible performances with Regina Hall in the lead role and Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt, among the rest of the cast. The show garnered eleven Primetime Emmy Awards, winning some of the major categories including Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.
1. The Boys (2019)
This top pick for our list might throw some of you off a bit, but after further digging it has been discovered that The Boys is a property of WildStorm comics, which is also an imprint of DC Comics. The comic was created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson in 2006, then adapted by Eric Kripke for Amazon Prime in 2019. Taking place in an alternate world where super powered beings are often considered superheroes, but are actually part of a greedy and corrupt cooperation known as Vought International. Vought manages to protect and fund these superheroes, marketing them for franchising purposes while covering up their illegal activity. Billy Butcher leads The Boys, a group of guys with vendettas against supers. With their hatred towards the Seven, Butcher will lead his group of misfits to bring down Vought and their super powered prizes. Considered one of the best new television shows, it might not have earned as many accolades as Watchmen. But it is still one of the most entertaining and pulse pounding show you can find on a streaming service. The show has produced two seasons already, with a third already in development. Most of the cast will be returning for the next season, with the added bonus of reuniting Eric Kripke and Jensen Ackles from their run on Supernatural. Ackles will be portraying the character Soldier Boy from the comic books.
Honorable Mentions: Smallville, The Flash, Arrow, Swamp Thing