Over the last several years, the caliber of superhero shows seen on the small screen has greatly increased. And while fans wait patiently between big studio superhero movies, they can follow the exploits of some of their favorite characters over the course of several months on network television and streaming services. Netflix series like Jessica Jones have come to define the genre with its hyper, realistic action sequences and cinema-quality narrative, while shows like Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl maintain the lighter, altruistic side. As the tastes of their audiences change, the televised offerings change to accommodate them. Series like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which so often had to be tethered to the MCU’s storylines to keep viewers, is now beginning its sixth season, securing its place as a reliable favorite. Meanwhile, series like Cloak & Dagger, which aired this year, has already been greenlit for a second season in 2019 based on its popularity.
And of course, there will be a huge crop of new superhero shows to check out, including the much anticipated Doom Patrol, which is about a less than clean-cut superhero team, and The Boys, a look at what happens when superheroes get deluded by their own power and influence. Some shows will feature superhero subjects long overdo for a television series of their own, like The Watchmen and Harley Quinn! And they’ll be available on a variety of formats such as DC Universe, the latest digital streaming service for superhero content. Whatever your preference, there’s a superhero show for you coming as early as January of 2019, with a way to watch it as well! Here are 10 New Superhero Shows We Can't Wait To See (And 10 That Are Returning).
20 NEW: DEADLY CLASS
If Daredevil’s shadowy league of assassins, The Hand, ever appeared in a remake of The Breakfast Club by way of Reality Bites, you might get an idea that the Syfy Network is going with Deadly Class. It follows a homeless teen named Marcus who joins an academy of assassins in San Francisco.
Based on an action thriller comic book by Rick Remender of the same name, the students at King’s Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts train to become top assassins for the most elite crime families around the world. It will premier on the SyFy channel on January 16th, 2019.
19 RETURNING: GOTHAM (SEASON FIVE)
The popular DC television series Gotham looks to wrap up its fifth and final season in 2019. In five years, fans have followed a young (pre) Commissioner Gordon through the streets of Gotham as he goes up against the burgeoning ranks of criminals who will one day fill Batman’s Rogue Gallery. Speaking of Batman, young Bruce Wayne has grown from callow orphan to the makings of a true superhero.
It’s been an enjoyable hero’s journey during a time period that hadn’t been covered before, and now, as Batman teeters on the cusp of becoming The Caped Crusader, here’s hoping the conclusion will satisfy longtime fans of the show. It will premier early in 2019 on Fox.
18 NEW: DOOM PATROL
Fans of the misfit team of heroes got their first taste of Doom Patrol when certain members appeared in the first season of Titans. Like Marvel’s New Warriors is to the Avengers, Doom Patrol is similar to the Justice League, with members that aren’t quite so well-known, and whose powers aren’t quite so polished. It consists of Elasti-Woman, Crazy Jane, Cyborg, Robotman, Mr. Nobody, The Chief, and Negative Man.
An antithesis to clean-cut superhero teams, Doom Patrol is more like the X-Men, which includes being led by a brilliant man in a wheelchair. Doom Patrol will air as a dramatic web series on DC Universe’s streaming service.
17 RETURNING: PUNISHER (SEASON TWO)
One of the most popular superheroes to have their own television series at the moment, The Punisher first appeared in Netflix’s season two of Daredevil and instantly became a fan favorite. Following the escapades of anti-hero Frank Castle unforgivingly hunting criminals in The Punisher season one, fans have been eagerly awaiting season two, which will premier in 2019.
It’s a difficult time for celebration, because hot-on-the-heels of the season two announcement came the news that other Marvel Netflix series would be canceled (including Daredevil, The Defenders, and Iron Fist). It remains to be seen if The Punisher will be renewed after its second season.
16 NEW: SWAMP THING
Though Swamp Thing has appeared in an animated form in several series and films since his first television attempt in 1990, he’ll get his very own starring vehicle next year. DC’s streaming service is looking to beef up its roster in 2019, adding Swamp Thing to a lineup that includes several new superhero shows.
It will revolve around Alec Holland and his contact with a dangerous swamp-borne virus in Louisiana. He will work with local law enforcement to protect his local town, as well as the natural world from a variety of supernatural threats, all while keeping a firm grasp on his humanity. Swamp Thing comes out July 2019 on DC Universe.
15 RETURNING: SUPERGIRL (SEASON FOUR)
Soaring with the high numbers of the Arrowverse crossover event “Elseworlds,” Supergirl season four continues to crest into the New Year with tenacity. The series that follows Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers, as she balances life and her superhero calling reaches a plateau when she has a sudden and crippling identity crisis. Luckily, not before saving the citizens of Earth-38.
There are big questions that fans will have going into the second half of season four next year (like what happened to the foreign Supergirl clone?), and hopefully, they’ll be satisfied with the answers. Supergirl season four will air through February 2019.
14 NEW: THE BOYS
Amazon Studios has The Boys coming in 2019, a series which offers a hard-hitting look into a world where superheroes have abused their popularity, wealth, status, and influence. It focuses specifically on a group of novice superhumans that become The Seven: the seven most well-known superheroes in the world managed by the global conglomerate, Vought.
With alum from House of Cards and Supernatural, as well as big names like Karl Urban and Simon Pegg, the hour-long superhero drama is sure to turn out a subversive take on the genre amidst the slightly peppier fair for the year. It premieres exclusively on Amazon Prime.
13 RETURNING: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (SEASON SIX)
One of the longest-running Marvel series often praised for its tie-ins with the MCU and character development, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next year for its sixth season. It will continue to chronicle the agents as they team up with various superheroes to save threats on humanity, and Phil Coulson is expected to make a surprising return.
ABC renewed the series for a slightly shorter 13 episode arc that was intended for release early in 2019, but will instead release in the summer. It has also already been renewed for a seventh season ahead of the season six premier.
12 NEW: STARGIRL
With a nod to the nostalgia of 80s retro camp comes Stargirl, based on the comic book character created in 1999 by Geoff Johns, who will also write the first episode. It follows Courtney Whitmore (based on Johns’ own sister, who passed away tragically in 1996), a smart, athletic teenager who discovers that her step-father used to be a sidekick for a superhero.
With the use of the superhero’s old staff, she sets off on her own superhero journey, accompanied by a fifteen-foot-tall robot named STRIPE. It will join the lineup of Titans, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, and others for DC Universe’s digital streaming service.
11 RETURNING: JESSICA JONES (SEASON THREE)
The hard-hitting subversive superhero series Jessica Jones will return for a third season, continuing to focus on Jones’ life as a private investigator in the wake of personal tragedy. After dealing with more emotional trauma in season two surrounding her mother, season three may choose to continue to keep the stories small-scale and grounded.
Never much concerned to tie into the MCU in any major or obvious ways, Jessica Jones continues to be part superhero story, part crime procedural, with missing persons and cases only Jessica Jones can solve. It premieres on Netflix in the early half of 2019, where Krysten Ritter will make her directorial debut.
10 NEW: THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY
One of the most anticipated series to premier in 2019, The Umbrella Academy follows the lives of six very different members of an extraordinary family. Born as one of several dozen children to mothers that have never displayed signs of pregnancy since their birth in 1989, each child has unique abilities. Seven were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire industrialist, who intends for them to use their powers to help the world.
When the six remaining children learn of the passing of their adoptive father when they are in their thirties, they try to come together after a fractured adolescence in order to solve the mystery of his demise as the threat of a global apocalypse looms. It will debut on February 15th, 2019 on Netflix.
9 RETURNING: CLOAK & DAGGER (SEASON TWO)
One of the latest batches of Marvel television series, the first season of Cloak & Dagger proved a surprising hit, not just because of its association with Marvel, but due to its focus on its charming leads. With a romance specifically geared towards the superhero genre, its two leads have unique powers that seem to work much better together than apart, though their budding feelings for each other complicates it.
The series was greenlit for a second season almost halfway through the first, as ratings remained high and several other Marvel shows were getting axed. Season two premieres on Freeform in fall of 2019.
8 NEW: THE WATCHMEN
The Watchmen was a prominent graphic novel renowned for its introspection on the superhero condition that has only ever been a feature film. The film had a muddled narrative and was perhaps too ambitious with its subject matter, and the famous work by Alan Moore is now being turned into a series for HBO.
Taking place in a time period where superheroes are considered outlaws and menaces to civilized society, it will feature such high profile names as Jeremy Irons, Regina King, and Don Johnson, and have a score by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame.
7 RETURNING: YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS (SEASON THREE)
Fans of Young Justice have been patiently waiting for a third season for some time now, ever since there was news of it possibly being canceled. Originally airing on Cartoon Network, it returns on DC’s digital streaming service for a third season called Young Justice: Outsiders, which, if proven popular, has the potential to lead to a fourth and fifth season.
Amid the furor for Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders will premier just in time to fill the spot that the live action series leaves once it finishes its first season. Fans will be able to see The Flash and all their favorite young DC characters January 4th, 2019 as part of DC Universe.
6 NEW: HARLEY QUINN
The only villain in Batman’s Rogue Gallery to come from an animated series instead of his comic book, Harley Quinn made a huge impression as The Joker’s girlfriend and partner in crime in Batman: The Animated Series in the ‘90s. After the success of her live-action appearance in Suicide Squad, as well as her various appearances in animated films over the years, it was only a matter of time before she was the focus of her own show.
It will follow Harley’s adventures after she breaks up with Joker, befriends Poison Ivy, and attempts to join the Legion of Doom. It will premier on DC Universe, DC’s digital streaming service, alongside Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol.
5 RETURNING: LEGION (SEASON THREE)
Legion, the enigmatic drama that focuses on a young, possibly schizophrenic man with incredible powers is getting a third season on FX. Season two was a roller coaster ride of emotions and revelations, with explosive uses of mental powers that unveiled new truths about the mental patient that could be the son of the famous Professor Charles Xavier.
The character of David Haller/Legion, whose psionic powers in the comics allowed him to take on the personalities (and thus powers) of hundreds of superheroes, has been a hard subject to capture, but the series does it justice with its character driven narrative. Get ready for season three, airing in mid 2019.
4 NEW: DC SUPER HERO GIRLS
From producer Lauren Faust (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) comes another addition to the DC animation block on Cartoon Network: DC Super Hero Girls. Similar to her previous series, Super Best Friends Forever, it will follow Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl as they navigate high school, family, and their complicated social lives.
Similar in animation style to such popular shows as The Powerpuff Girls, the series looks to pit the teenage girls against similarly high school-aged enemies that are threatening Metropolis. The series was announced last year, but DC fans won’t be able to catch it until it premieres on Cartoon Network in the summer of 2019.
3 RETURNING: KRYPTON (SEASON TWO)
The series about the Man Of Steel’s family and homeworld, Krypton may have been off to a rocky start with its first season, but its unique subject matter, time period, and engaging aesthetic built the show a steadfast, loyal following, resulting in it being greenlit for a second season.
Taking place many years before the planet's destruction, to support prophecies about Krypton’s impending doom is deemed insanity. Therefore, it’s up to Seyg-El, Superman’s grandfather, to fight to maintain the good reputation of the House of El, even amidst the slander of its name. It will get a second season in mid-May on the SyFy channel.
2 NEW: BATWOMAN
One of the best things about the “Elseworlds” crossover event this year was the premier appearance of Batwoman. Ruby Rose will star in her own television series for the CW as Kate Kane, cousin to Bruce Wayne and fellow member of the Bat Family.
A strong proponent of social justice, as well as a highly-trained martial artist, Kate Kane will clean up the streets of Gotham with her own patented method of eliminating the criminal element now that Batman has been missing for several years. Her free-spirited nature and unorthodox methods should make for some arresting television come fall 2019.
1 RETURNING: THE TICK (SEASON TWO)
Few fans thought that anyone other than Patrick Warburton could bring The Tick to life. When it was announced that Amazon Studios would be making a new Tick series, the few that gave it a chance were pleasantly surprised. The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz) squared off against The Terror, and a second season has just been announced, putting The Blue Avenger against a new crop of villains.
The Tick season two will premier a new streamlined series of costumes, which combines elements of the original live-action series, but with notable texture changes. It comes to Amazon Video in mid-2019.