Superhero shows are some of the best and worst media on TV. Over the years, there have been several characters adapted to the small screen for entertainment. Comic characters have constantly had their stories brought over in the hopes of creating something fresh and new. Thanks to the rising popularity of superheroes, these types of shows have been on just about every network available. However, not all superhero shows are created equally. There are many that have problems behind the scenes or didn't get the ratings that companies wanted. Because of this, a lot of superhero shows get canceled before there's even an opportunity to properly finish their stories. This has left many productions hanging with no end and the fans are left in the dust wondering what happened. Sometimes a show can get revived due to the love and begging of the fans, but those moments are few and far between.
We've all experienced a superhero show that got canceled before it was seen the whole way through. That said, there are eight canceled superhero shows that we miss and seven others that we're glad are gone. Seems that not even Superman could save the day with these shows.
Teen Titans is the best example of a canceled superhero show that most people miss. Debuting on Cartoon Network back in the day with a style similar to anime, there was a lot to like about DC's favorite young superheroes. The show featured a lot of development for the characters, an antagonist that was genuinely worth fearing, and an overarching story that was well-adapted from the comics. Just when the show was setting up a story that involved some betrayal of one of the core characters, the show was canceled before a proper ending was given.
Making matters worse was when rumors surfaced of Cartoon Network trying to get the Teen Titans property back into the fold. The rumors turned out to be true, but excitement quickly turned into disdain when it was revealed that Teen Titans Go! was the show that would be created as a result. Instead of having anything to do with the original, the show brought back all of the voice actors just to be a parody of superhero shows with less interesting animation, comedy that almost never lands, and a ploy just to sell tons of merchandise. We want the original back and it's not happening.
After the success of The Avengers, Marvel knew that they had a popular brand on their hands. Because of this, they decided that they wouldn't stop with just live-action movies. After all, if they could have success on the big screen, why not try the same on the small screen? Because of this, they developed several TV shows that debuted on different networks. First, there was Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before they cornered Netflix with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the rest of the Defenders. Eventually, we were given a series called Inhumans that followed the happenings of Attilan as it centered around King Black Bolt.
However, Inhumans was Marvel's biggest dud to date. The show was lazy, poorly written, and had no real direction for what it wanted to do. There was potential to tell an interesting story with the characters, but everything fell flat. It didn't help that the show was shot in IMAX to give it a professional look, but it didn't look all that good. Before it could get a second season, it was canceled. While some people might say the show was underrated, we're not exactly disappointed that Inhumans won't be resurfacing anytime soon. We'll just wait for X-Men to appear in the MCU.
Bruce Wayne is the Batman and a character who will seem to always protect Gotham City. What most people forget is that Bruce is just a man and his days are numbered. That's where Batman Beyond opens. It shows an older Bruce Wayne who nearly gets killed in the field due to his old age. Because of this, he has to hang up his cape and cowl until a young boy named Terry McGinnis shows up. Discovering Wayne's secret identity, he shows interest in becoming the new Dark Knight. Considering that Gotham needs a new protector, Wayne decides to be his mentor. Thus, the new Caped Crusader takes to the streets.
Batman Beyond is an excellent continuation of Batman's legacy and a well-constructed show as well. It encapsulates the ideals that would later be set in The Dark Knight trilogy, that Batman is more than just a man --he is a symbol and an icon. Getting to watch Terry develop is a pure joy. However, the show never got a proper end. It was canceled, but it was later given an unofficial ending in Justice League Unlimited. While that episode did a good job of answering some big questions, it's not the best ending.
Take a comic book that stars the Lord of Hell himself: Lucifer and turn it into a TV show where he goes to Earth because he's bored and needs something to do with his life. That's where we pick up with the show Lucifer. The Devil decides to come to Los Angeles and have a cute little club before he gets wrapped up in a murder case. From there, the show proceeds as a cop drama that, instead, stars the devil himself to keep things a little interesting. At least, that was the intent behind the show.
With such a unique premise, it's a shame that Lucifer never fully capitalized on its ideas that it set forth from the very first episode. There isn't much else it offers as a cop show outside the standard stuff. Even as something that dealt with demons, Supernatural still had it beat. It's painfully predictable and just an okay series at best. It managed to get three seasons and gained a following before being canceled before its fourth season. There is a chance that it could return to the small screen on a new streaming service, but, either way, it's not a show that will be sorely missed.
John Constantine has always been one of the more interesting and charismatic people in the DC Universe. He is just a regular man who happens to be really good at using dark magic. Because of this, he got wrapped up in a lot of shady deals with supernatural entities on many occasions. He had to use his quick thinking, magic abilities, and charm to get out of some awful situations. As that stands, it makes sense that a show based around the character would be very interesting and feature some new twists on the typical superhero genre.
Constantine was an entertaining and mystical show that brought a lot new to the table. Not to mention that Matt Ryan's portrayal of John happens to be one of the best castings in any TV show. However, the show was canceled before it could ever get a proper ending. That said, the character has since been integrated into the Arrowverse, first having a guest appearance on Arrow before popping in Legends of Tomorrow to join their team. While we're glad that John has found his way back to the small screen, we're still bummed out that we'll never get a fitting end to his series.
Spider-Man is easily Marvel's most popular character, and it wasn't long before shows and movies started to made about the wall crawler. One of the earlier productions was The Amazing Spider-Man TV show all the way back in 1977. It featured a lot of the characters you'd expect from a Spider-Man show (strangely enough, though, it was shot in Los Angeles instead of New York). People who loved Spider-Man at the time were ecstatic to get some love in the form of a full series, regardless of how poorly made it was.
Despite how popular the character was, that wasn't enough to be able to save the show. After just 13 episodes, it was canceled and no one ever heard from it again. There was talk of a revival movie crossing over with Lou Ferrigno's Hulk, but that turned out to just be hearsay. Looking back on the series, there wasn't much to say about it. It was definitely a product of the '70s and aged poorly because of it. The character seems to work better on TV as an animated character rather than live-action. We're glad that, since then, Marvel has done a better job at adapting the character.
One of the fan favorite characters in Captain America: The First Avenger was Agent Peggy Carter. Being a high-ranking official in the military at the time that Steve Rogers enlisted, she quickly became a valuable asset to the new recruit as well as his lover near the end of the film. However, they never got to see their relationship come to fruition, as Steve gave his life at the end of the film by going down with the HYDRA plane and being frozen for decades. That said, Agent Carter was far from done with her own life, as she went on to do great things.
Agent Carter shows what Peggy did after the events of The First Avenger. It was revealed that she helped start S.H.I.E.L.D. and still interacted with Howard Stark and his Butler. Despite having a direct tie to the MCU movies, Agent Carter never felt overbearing. After all, it was exciting to see how S.H.I.E.L.D. came to be as well as how Peggy made a life for herself after the downfall of HYDRA and the supposed death of Captain America. It was canceled prematurely due to not enough viewers, but that hasn't stopped many people from begging it to come back.
Swamp Thing is one of the more interesting DC Comics characters. He is a creature made entirely out of moss and other muggy plants. However, his stories often deal with the occult and other supernatural stuff. Because of this, Swamp Thing is a canvas for a lot of unique and mysterious adventures. This led to the creation of Swamp Thing the live-action series. It spanned three seasons and fit right in on the sci-fi channel before being canceled. It had a lot of viewers and has gained a cult following since.
That said, it's a shame that the Swamp Thing TV series never capitalized on the source material. Swamp Thing was extremely campy and was more of an old TV show that an adaptation of the Swamp Thing comic books. The only reason people still go back to watch it is because of the ridiculous dialogue and sequences. Most people who watched it were extremely disappointed by how poorly the action was shot and how much of a cliche the entire show was. It didn't do anything unique, which is dreadful considering how original the comic books were. Let's hope that DC does the character more justice going forward.
Spider-Man is a well-written character -- he's not Marvel's most popular character just because of his unique costume choice. Peter Parker is a compelling character who is unlike anything that came before him. Having an extremely identifiable life and difficult choices to make, there are tons of moments that really make the character stand out. Because of this, he lends himself very well to adaptations on the big and small screen. Case in point: Spectacular Spider-Man.
When the art style was shown, there was a bit of disdain from it. It wasn't extremely detailed and looked a bit odd at times. However, it wasn't long before people completely let it slide because of how good Spectacular Spider-Man. Some would even go as far to say that it's the best adaptation of the wall crawler to date. It does take some creative liberties with the source material, but it's all to service the story as a whole. Unfortunately, Sony canceled the show before we could get any closure on it. It was replaced with Ultimate Spider-Man, which many feel is a sincere step down in quality. As it stands now, many of us would have to agree. Bring back Spectacular Spider-Man.
There are several superhero characters that come from Marvel and DC Comics. However, some show creators take inspiration from these stories to create their own original heroes. That's where the show Night Man enters the picture. The show stars Johnny Domino, a jazz musician who is struck by lightning. After he recovers from the accident, he finds that he suddenly has the power to detect crime from a far distance. He then gets a suit that helps him fight the bad guys and save the day.
The unfortunate part about Night Man as a character is that he is a weird amalgamation of other characters from more popular comic books. These ideas don't go together well. It makes sense that Barry Allen, being struck by lightning, would be given the powers of super speed. It doesn't quite make the same amount of sense for a Johnny Domino to be struck and suddenly detect criminals. Top it off with him being a jazz musician by trade, and the whole thing feels like a fan fiction. The campy and ridiculous show only lasted two seasons before being canceled. That said, not many people remember this one and for good reason too.
DC knew what they were doing when it came to a lot of their animated shows. They would introduce a new show by having character with "The Animated Series" after it. Of course, the names are a little one the nose, but they happened to be some of the best superhero cartoons ever created. Both Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series are some of the most beloved cartoons to this day. DC decided to strike gold again by creating Green Lantern: The Animated Series considering that the masses have never been properly exposed to the cosmic world of the Green Lantern.
Unfortunately for Green Lantern: The Animated Series it was released to coincide with the Green Lantern movie. Because the film was so poorly received, the show never gained the traction it deserved. It was canceled shortly after it was released, and it's a darn shame. The show was actually fantastic, but people will never know. If DC ever decided to try it again or bring it back for a revival through the "DC Universe" streaming service, we would definitely be on board for it. A Green Lantern series is a gold mine of storytelling.
There were a few shows created with original characters as a way of trying to bring some new superheroes to pop culture. This is where we begin with 2011's series, The Cape. It followed the adventures of Vincent Faraday. He was an ex-soldier and a cop who had it rough in the police force. He decided to leave as soon as he saw the police chief get murdered. However, that wasn't the only unfortunate thing that would happen to him. He would be framed for a murder and caught in the explosion of a tanker truck. Everyone in the world presumed that he was dead. In reality, he managed to live and decided to become a vigilante.
Unfortunately, The Cape sounded a lot better on paper than it was in execution. The show was just messy from start to finish. It had potential, but it never fully realized it. It was like a deck of cards where the cards were a little spread out. All it needed was someone to compress them all together, but no one ever came to do it. The show lasted ten episodes and was canceled. As you might expect, the "finale" left a lot of questions unanswered.
Marvel hasn't had the best cartoons over the years (apart from a few exceptions). However, they did have one cartoon about the Avengers that captivated audiences called Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Right off the bat, this series had one of the best theme songs for any cartoon ever made. It was also made better by how darn good the show was. It started off with supervillains breaking out from every mega prison on Earth. It resulted in the Avengers being formed with new members being added to the roster as the show went on. It paid homage to the classic comics while intertwining some more modern elements of the MCU.
Then, just as soon as it came, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes was gone. Why did it go away, you might ask? Because Marvel and Disney wanted a series that would be more similar to the MCU than the comic books. Because of this, they replaced the show with Avengers Assemble, which doesn't even come close to the series that came before it. It's downright awful and only makes us miss Earth's Mightiest Heroes more. The Marvel TV universe would've been just fine without having to reboot their best series and make it their worst.
Most of the popular superhero TV shows come from characters created by Marvel or DC Comics. Very seldom do we get shows based around characters from Image or Dark Horse Comics. That's where Witchblade enters the picture. This show spawned from a comic put together by Top Cow Productions and Image Comics. It starred a police detective who came across a strange object called the Witchblade. When bigger crime lords started entering town, she decided to use the blade to fight them. Little did she know that the blade would also corrupt her as well.
Witchblade wasn't a perfect show, but we'll be darned if it wasn't a good time. Being based on an Image Comics property, it had a much different tone to it than anything audiences had seen before. Not to mention that the concept of the Witchblade itself was unique enough to hold us over. The show did the concept justice, but it was canceled after just two seasons. Considering how exciting the plot became closer to the end, it's a shame that it never got the love it deserved. However, there has been talk of the show returning.
Before you start torching us with fire, you'll have to let us explain why we won't miss The PowerPuff Girls. This show debuted on Cartoon Network and was easily one of the best superhero shows at the time. It had such a unique premise that allowed it to really stand out on its own. Craig McCracken knew very well what he was doing with the series. Starring three little girls, the show not only had some great action, but it was also appropriate for kids by giving a bit of "slice of life" drama.
Unfortunately, The PowerPuff Girls didn't remain the best superhero show of the time. It wasn't long before the show went through seasonal rot. As the series went on, the quality of it slowly went downhill. By the time it was finally canceled, it was a far cry from what it once was. Unfortunately, when the show was revived in 2016, it channeled more of the later seasons of the original show than the early ones. Because of this, we have a hard time missing The PowerPuff Girls as it was when it was finally canceled. We just want the original back without all of the newer Cartoon Network stuff.