Prepare Yourself, As The Golden Era of Superheroes on Television Has Arrived

By  · Published on January 20th, 2016

I agree with Birth.Movies.Death’s Siddhant Adlakha when he calls this A Grand New Era of Superheroes on Television. I’m particularly fond of this point:

“The Silver Age of comic books is coming to life on a weekly basis, and we’re lucky to witness it.

Two years ago I’d have thought all this impossible, but the concepts on these shows are evolving, as are their creators’ trust in general audiences. They’re also leading the charge when it comes to more diverse mainstream representation of race and sexuality (and, hopefully soon, gender), something their movie counterparts are yet to really do, but more than anything, these shows are exploring the unfettered potential of their printed source, and using larger-than-life concepts to tell stories grounded completely in character.”

Even though the majority of the shows I’m about to mention have existed for years, it feels like this week is a big turning point for superheroes on the small screen. It began last night with the return of Supergirl’s successful first season. And it will kick into high gear this evening when The Flash returns from break and Agent Carter begins its second season. Tomorrow night, Arrow will come back to answer a lot of the questions that we were left with when Oliver and Felicity drove into a quagmire right before the show took its midseason break. And on Thursday, the multiverse breaks wide open as The CW will debut DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, bringing numerous heroes and villains together as they battle evil through time and space.

That last one comes with today’s news that Legends of Tomorrow will also feature Jonah Hex, played by That Thing You Do and Ray Donovan star Johnathon Schaech.

As we’ve told you over and over again, it’s a great time to be a fan of superheroes on television. Before we blast off for a week of wonderful comic books come to life on the small screen, let’s take a few minutes to visit with the trailers showing what’s next for new and returning heroes.

The Flash

The CW labeled this trailer “Pretty Messed Up,” as The Flash is going full-speed into new territory in the second half of its current season. We’ve seen a little bit of Earth-2 in the first half of the season, but that appears to pale in comparison to what’s coming. Not only does the trailer tease up Killer Frost and Deathstorm, it teases meetings with Earth-2 Barry and Iris. There will be more of Dr. Wells, Jay Garrick and Wally West. It might seem as if The Flash is going to be loaded with heroes and villains, but if this show has proved anything in its season and a half run, it’s that they are more than adept in handling it when things get weird.

Arrow

“The Saga Continues” for Oliver Queen and Team Arrow. It’s more than just a battle for the soul of the city. When the fourth season of Arrow kicks off, it will have some questions to answer. What is the fate of Felicity? Is she the one in that grave? And if so, how is this not a personal vendetta for Oliver? The trailer also shows off a few favorites returning: Nyssa is back, Roy is back and Rila Fukushima is back as Katana. Arrow has been on a roll this season with wonderfully choreographed action set pieces. This trailer does nothing to suggest that such a trend won’t continue.

Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow is easily the most curious and anticipated of the bunch. It’s what happens when you take characters from Arrow and The Flash and drop in a big dash of Doctor Who. Quite literally when you consider that Rip Hunter is played by Doctor Who alum Arthur Darvill. It doesn’t end there, either. There is production design, villains and effects in this trailer that give me those Doctor Who vibes, all in a positive way. The challenge for Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and the DC Television team will be making this team of superheroes feel as authentic as Team Arrow and Team Flash. Making those dynamics work will take a lot of clever storytelling within that limited 45-minutes per week space. Their cast is strong, the action looks like a lot of fun and they have a solid track record, so there’s really no reason to worry about Legends of Tomorrow beyond the fact that it’s simply an unknown quantity.

Stay tuned all this week, as we’ll certainly have more to say about all three of these shows (and others).

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the upcoming One Perfect Shot TV show (HBO Max, 2021) and the co-host of The Storm: A LOST Rewatch podcast. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)