Superheroes have been dominating Hollywood for the past several years. Likewise, they have also made their mark on television, with various comic-based and original stories debuting on various networks. Where a movie franchise can extend almost indefinitely like the MCU, TV shows have a bit of a different legacy. Largely continued on a basis of popularity, it can be difficult to keep a show going without the ratings to back it up. As a result, plenty of shows have been canceled without having the number of episodes the creators or wanted, or even without a proper ending.
Superhero television shows have seen a number of cancelations over the past few decades. Even Marvel Studios has had to cut some off production due to not getting the numbers they wanted. In that time, there are clearly going to be several shows that were canceled much too soon. Despite how well they were written or how many fans they had, they ended up on the cutting room floor. While there are some that we hope will one day come back, there are plenty of canceled superhero shows that need to stay off of our screens. Some were taken off the air because the shows were poorly-made, leading many to wonder why they weren't canceled even sooner. Regardless, there are easily many shows better left in the past. On that note, we're going to dive into 10 canceled superhero shows we wish would come back and 10 we that can stay gone forever.
20 COME BACK - IRON FIST
One of the more surprising cancelations came from Marvel and Netflix not that long ago. Despite crafting an impressive roster of superhero shows, Iron Fist, the newest kid on the block, was recently canceled after just its second season. While the show didn't start on the right foot as some of the other Marvel Netflix shows, there was a lot of potential for Iron Fist.
With the second season making better use of its characters, it was clear that the writers were headed in the proper direction. There were still some aspects of the character that could've been explored, and many interesting conflicts to uphold. We just hope that the series' end doesn't mean the character will never appear again.
19 STAY GONE - POWERLESS
Powerless was a show that played around with its ties to the superhero genre without ever quite fully delivering on them. The result was a show that was distant from its source material, never quite making use of the content it was allowed.
It felt like it wasn't sure what it wanted to be, as it was filled with low-rate humor and references that didn't go anywhere. Part of the reason for its problems is that its premise didn't lend itself well to a long-lasting story -- it was more of a novel idea that was never destined to go beyond its first season.
18 COME BACK - CONSTANTINE
Before Constantine made his mark on the Arrowverse, he had his own show properly titled Constantine. Starring the man of the same name, it involved his adventures where he dealt with supernatural forces that regular superheroes couldn't handle. However, a lack of ratings caused this show to be canceled and the character thrust into other shows.
The sad part is that using Constantine as a supporting character can introduce stranger concepts to the Arrowverse, but it can never fully embrace it due to the shows being focused on different issues. It's disappointing considering the teases the show had of big characters like Doctor Fate.
17 STAY GONE - BIRDS OF PREY
Birds of Prey is a relic of the past, and a show that doesn't need to be brought back. Starring the trio of Huntress, Black Canary, and Batgirl/Oracle, it was a show that wasn't able to capture an audience and thus, it never quite took off. All of the dialogue was painfully dramatic, with the costumes reflecting the below average design of the show.
There seemed to be a certain amateur vibe to the entire thing, and it didn't pay great respect to its very rich source material. Warner Bros is hard at work on bringing the Birds of Prey to the big screen, and we hope that it doesn't look to this adaptation for any inspiration.
16 COME BACK - LUKE CAGE
As if it weren't surprising enough that Marvel and Netflix canceled Iron Fist, both companies shocked more viewers with the announcement that Luke Cage was off the slate of shows as well. The sad part is that, from the very start, Luke Cage was a much better show than Iron Fist, dealing with concepts and characters that brought a lot of mature themes to viewers.
Furthermore, canceling both shows dampens the chances that we could ever see a proper adaptation of Heroes for Hire, featuring Luke Cage and Iron Fist in the spotlight. Luke Cage was a great show, and it's a shame that it's gone way too soon.
15 STAY GONE - THE CAPE
Above all things, The Cape was as generic a superhero show as they come. One of the worst parts of the show was that it was a superhero story that excluded all of the cool things that people expect superheroes to do -- it didn't have great consistency when it came to making the world believable, the main character seemed to learn how to fight too quickly, and he did an extremely poor job at keeping his secret identity under wraps.
Topping it all off is one of the worst superhero names ever created -- calling a hero "the Cape" doesn't communicate to the audience anything about him or what he did. A lot superheroes have a cape.
14 COME BACK - AGENT CARTER
After Agent Carter's involvement in Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel thought it best to give her an entire television series known as Agent Carter. Following her actions after Rogers was frozen in the battle with Red Skull, viewers got a lot of context about the beginning of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Howard Stark's involvement with it.
Carter was also properly developed as a powerful character without it ever seeming or preachy. Despite how much people enjoyed the show, it didn't get the ratings that the higher-ups wanted, so it was canceled without receiving a proper ending. We hope that it's one day brought back so it can be properly finished.
13 STAY GONE - HUMAN TARGET
Believe it or not, Human Target is based on a DC Comics property, and that said character even made it into Arrow for a few episodes. The show involved a man skilled in protecting his clients with the ability to become numerous different people and essentially take on the role of the target instead.
Unfortunately, it felt like a second-rate 24 many times, not having the concise writing or unique scenarios to keep it afloat. It was far from the worst show around, but it lacked any sort of hook to keep it from falling beneath other shows that are done better.
12 COME BACK - BLADE: THE SERIES
Blade: The Series was a television adaptation of the series of rated-R action movies that proved so popular with audiences. As expected, Blade: The Series proved to be a hit, with the character being well-suited for television. Just seeing such a serious character take on all sorts of monsters is every bit as exciting as it sounds.
The premise alone was enough to make it one of the most-viewed series for Spike TV to date. Unfortunately, it was canceled before it could see a proper end, mostly due to the network being new and the show being a bit pricey to produce. It was offered to other networks who weren't confident enough to pick it up.
11 STAY GONE - INHUMANS
Inhumans was a series that disappointed on numerous levels. Once the first trailer was released, many people started to wonder about the production value going into the show as the effects looked subpar, the acting was weak, and the environments looked bland.
Sadly, all of those predictions were spot on, making Inhumans one of the worst things to come from the MCU to date. Despite the series being shot in IMAX, the show never looked good enough to capitalize on those cameras. It felt rushed from start to finish, which led Marvel to quickly cancel it before it could go any further.
10 COME BACK - NO ORDINARY FAMILY
Imagine if The Incredibles was adapted into a television series, and it would be something similar to No Ordinary Family. While the family we follow has its fair share of problems, they were brought together when they all developed superpowers and tried to use them for the greater good.
It's an interesting premise that hasn't been properly explored on television before and with a much lighter tone and smaller-scale, intimate stories. This alone made for a charming viewing experience, unlike any other superhero show. Unfortunately, it couldn't get the ratings necessary, and it was canceled with just 20 episodes.
9 STAY GONE - BLACK SCORPION
There were days where many creators didn't have a grasp on how to make a good superhero show. Things were either too edgy or campy to be considered good. In the case of Black Scorpion, it managed to somehow reach both ends of the spectrum while never meeting in the middle to create something impressive.
It was essentially a female version of Batman who ran around and fought crime in a ridiculously impractical costume. You can imagine what to expect after that point -- the dialogue was cheesy, the action was subpar, and the acting itself could've used a lot of work.
8 COME BACK - SENSE8
Sense8 was an inventive and original superhero show that debuted on Netflix. It was simultaneously an origin story while being a mystery, putting a diverse cast of characters together to figure out why they were so connected in the first place. It had great writing and intense episodes that were more than interesting enough to keep people binging through entire seasons at a time.
Unfortunately for fans, Netflix decided to cancel the show after its second season, going as far as to leave it unresolved with a cliffhanger. An actual finale was filmed due to the outcry from fans, but there were still many stories that could've been told with the show.
7 STAY GONE - SHADOWHUNTERS
A television spin-off of the Mortal Instruments series, Shadowhunters was an attempt at trying to make the franchise more popular with casual audiences. However, the show suffered from cheesy writing, acting, and even worse special effects. It ended up not being much better than the Mortal Instruments film, which guaranteed that only diehard fans of the franchise would have any interest in continuing with it.
The show didn't take off like Freeform wanted, so it was inevitably canceled. However, they did confirm that they would give fans an actual finale rather than leave it open-ended. Either way, not many people would've been brokenhearted if this show was cut on the spot.
6 COME BACK - THE FLASH
The CW's The Flash takes a lot of its inspiration from the classic The Flash TV show, as evidenced by having John Wesley Shipp portray Barry Allen's father as well as Mark Hamill return as the Trickster. However, the older The Flash show only ran for a single season, much to the disappointment of fans.
The worst part is that it had nothing to do with the quality of the show. It had everything to do with the special effects, which made the show much too expensive, leading to its inevitable cancelation. However, if the CW wanted to try and revive a variant of the show, we would be excited to get a proper conclusion.
5 STAY GONE - THE MIDDLEMAN
The Middleman was a show that garnered a decent amount of fans back in the day, making it a cult classic of sorts. It starred a woman who was rescued by a hero known as the Middleman, whom she then agreed to assist for the remainder of the series. It had some clever moments, but it was a show that had run its course, being canceled by the network.
There wouldn't be much of a fanbase that would merit a return to the small screen. The sci-fi elements are handled better by other superhero and sci fi shows, which would leave it without a real hook to keep people invested.
4 COME BACK - BATMAN
As classic as Adam West's portrayal of Batman was, it wasn't popular enough to keep going longer than three seasons. Fully embracing the campiness of the comics, it proved successful among viewers, achieving exactly what it set out to do. Featuring memorable villains and timeless actors, Batman was a hit.
However, ABC noticed that it wasn't getting the ratings that they wanted. In a short time, they decided to cancel the series and destroy all of its sets. When it was offered to other networks, it was declined a revival after they heard what happened to the sets -- the show couldn't even find a home on a different bat channel.
3 STAY GONE - LOIS AND CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN
There are people that loved Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, but it's hard to say that it should be brought back after all these years. Despite having some charming moments, viewers were bombarded with some of the strangest moments in television (like Lex Luthor telepathically communicating with a snake).
It was a bit of a bad move that ABC canceled it on a cliffhanger after promising a proper resolution, but it is certainly a type of show that we wouldn't want to see return. Television has moved past the campy drama of the '90s (for the most part).
2 COME BACK- THE INCREDIBLE HULK
When talking about the Hulk, it's hard not to forget the portrayal of the character by Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk television show. Where CGI wasn't accessible enough to create the best digitally, the show got a massive actor and covered him in green makeup.
The show proved a hit, and was chugging along season after season. However, one of the higher-ups decided on a whim that the show had no more stories to tell and cancel it on the spot, without even telling Ferrigno directly. This Hulk series deserved a better shot, and we would be thrilled to see it return.
1 STAY GONE - HEROES REBORN
After Heroes was canceled while dropping in the ratings, writers tried again with a sequel series titled Heroes Reborn. In many ways, it was a soft reboot of the franchise, involving numerous characters who were granted with special powers while evil forces tried to stop them.
However, the show buckled under its own weight by retreading a lot of the same territory but without the same level of quality that its predecessor had. Despite wanting to continue the show for a few seasons, the producers were forced to end it after just one by order of NBC itself. Just like that, the Heroes franchise was gone, and we don't need it to come back.