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Top 10 Live-Action Superhero TV Shows

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Craig Butler. Superheroes don’t exist in real life – but that doesn’t keep them from adding some live action to your TV viewing. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 live-action superhero TV shows. For this list, we’re looking at live-action shows that feature one or more superpowered or costumed crime fighters. Now grab your cape and cowl and let’s start the countdown. Thank you to our users Watchmojyguy, sarahjessicaparkerth, enaek, CaptainSandwich, Bestintheworld182, bringbackthe90syeah, ZeRen Wong, Jean Joassaint, Peter Quill, Brandontoddcunningha, mac121mr0, BrockObama, Jsmith94243, Shawn Frary, Rstitch, Sabine Tsoodle, toadyjobo, Sadik Ahmed, WizardofSollazz, Ross Sapp, J.TOhMyGod!!!, Fionn Conroy, Daniel John, Thijmen van Hoorn, Danny Soda Beilinson for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script Written by Craig Butler.

Top 10 Live-Action Superhero TV Shows


Superheroes don’t exist in real life – but that doesn’t keep them from adding some live action to your TV viewing. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 live-action superhero TV shows.

For this list, we’re looking at live-action shows that feature one or more superpowered or costumed crime fighters. Now grab your cape and cowl and let’s start the countdown.

#10: “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1974-78)

Astronaut Steve Austin suffered a horrible accident from which there was almost no hope of recovery – almost. Using advanced bionic technology, scientists rebuilt Austin at great cost – $6 million to be exact – and his career as a superpowered government agent was set thanks to some nifty advanced super speed, strength and vision. For four years, audiences were thrilled by Austin’s slow-motion fights and cool bionic sound effects that made the series one of the most fondly remembered of the 1970s.

#9: “The Green Hornet” (1966-67)

The “Batman” craze of the 1960s spawned “Green Hornet” but “Hornet” played it straighter, with its hero going undercover to infiltrate gangs and bring them down. Van Williams as playboy media magnate Britt Reid turned vigilante crime fighter Green Hornet was quite good. Even better was Bruce Lee, the future martial arts legend, as Kato, who practically stole the show. And if the Black Beauty was not quite the Batmobile, it was still the kind of cool gimmicky car every kid dreamed about having.

#8: “Heroes” (2006-10)

What happens if one day a person wakes up and has superpowers? That was the premise behind “Heroes,” an ensemble show that followed a group of people who suddenly went from ordinary to extraordinary – and had to figure out how to deal with this sudden, tremendous change in their lives. At its best, “Heroes” was a thoughtful, insightful and exciting look into what being a superhero would really mean.

#7: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

Buffy Summers would’ve liked to have been a normal teen-age girl, but fate had other plans for her: she was a Slayer, the latest in a long line of beings tasked with ridding the world of supernatural menaces. Joined by a stellar supporting cast of characters known as the Scooby Gang, Buffy fought evil with the aid of special abilities – as well as beautifully written, darkly humorous scripts. A spin-off, “Angel,” which featured a remorseful vampire, was almost as good – but no match for Buffy herself.

#6: “Wonder Woman” (1975-79)

The Amazing Amazon burst onto TV screens in the 1970s in the perfect form of Lynda Carter, thrilling audiences with her delightful portrayal of Wonder Woman. Carter played the role with a wink, but always with respect, and her charismatic performance made every episode fun to watch. Plots veered wildly all over the place, but that was true to the comic that spawned it; and as long as Carter was having fun, so were the viewers.

#5: “The Incredible Hulk” (1978-82)

Hulk smashed his way into the world of TV in the dual form of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, and this was a duo to die for. Forced by an accident to change into a raging green monster when he gets mad, Bixby’s Dr. Banner was sympathetic, kind and good-natured; Ferrigno’s Hulk was a rampaging mass of green testosterone, uncontrolled yet childlike and vulnerable even in his anger. The action was solid, and the storylines were surprisingly thoughtful, making this a classic.

#4: “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” (1993-95)

A pop culture phenomenon in the 1990s, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was largely drawn from footage from various Japanese TV series. The premise concerned a group of teen-agers that were given the ability to morph into superheroes and use giant robots to fight invading aliens. The superheroes were color-coded – the red Ranger, the Green Ranger, and so on. Sounds simple, but that original premise evolved into several later incarnations that every child of the ‘90s remembers.

#3: “Smallville” (2001-11)

“Smallville” explored Superman’s life before he became Superman, back when he was a teen-ager dealing with typical teen issues and his blossoming powers in the eponymous Kansas farm town of Smallville. Intelligently written and beautifully acted, “Smallville” created characters that compelled viewers and surprised those who thought they knew everything there was to know about superheroes. And the manner in which it incorporated other characters from the DC Universe was a textbook lesson on how to do superhero shows right.

#2: “Arrow” (2012-)

With its dual-storyline approach, focusing both on the activities of Oliver Queen in present-day Starling City and on the five years during which he learned to become a superhero on an isolated island, “Arrow” is never short on action and intrigue. Stephen Amell carries the show on his massive shoulders, but the entire cast is top notch, and the writing is some of the finest ever to grace an action-based series.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Flash” (1990-91) “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (1993-97)
- “The Tick” (2001-02)
- “My Secret Identity” (1988-91)
- “The Adventures of Superman” (1952-58)

#1: “Batman” (1966-68)

The craze that the “Batman” series of the 1960s inspired was short-lived but it was truly massive. The series is a classic of campy pop culture, but it’s more than that: subsequent generations embrace it as well, because it has genuine charm. Alongside Burt Ward as Robin, Adam West’s straightforward yet somehow sardonic portrayal will never die – and nor will the Batusi. Despite its period trappings and tongue-in-cheek approach, “Batman” makes a genuine connection with its audience.

Do you agree with our choices? What other live action superhero TV shows should we have put on this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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