DC's One-Season Shows Ranked, According to Critics

Swamp Thing Constantine feature header

As DC Comics has enjoyed its biggest wave of live-action television adaptations in its long history, there are several series which did not come close to enjoying the longevity of their more successful counterparts like Arrow or Supergirl. Despite this, each of the short-lived series have their fair share of dedicated fans, even years after their sudden cancellations.

Now, here is a comprehensive ranking of all the single season, live-action television series adapting DC Comics Universe properties. The ranking score is done by averaging the critics scores between review aggregate sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Audience scores, where available are provided, but do not impact the average; they are provided to show how audience reception compared to that of professional critics.

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Based on the female, Gotham City-based superhero team of the same name, Birds of Prey took place in a Gotham long-abandoned by Batman after the murder of Catwoman and plunged into dark chaos. Airing on The CW precursor network The WB in the wake of Smallville's early success, the 2003 series followed the adult daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle who joined up with Oracle and Black Canary to clean up her city as Huntress.

Cancelled after 13 episodes, the series was praised for its fun premise and production values but criticized for its overly convoluted plot development and lackluster performances by several members of the series' cast. Birds of Prey has a critics score of 52% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 58. The series currently has an audience score of 47% on Rotten Tomatoes.


DC Powerless

More inspired by the DC Universe rather than directly adapting plot lines within it, NBC's Powerless featured a strong cast of well-liked performers including Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, Alan Tudyk and Ron Funches. These actors were all employees of Wayne Enterprises, who carried out their daily lives in a world filled with heroes and villains.

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Cancelled after 12 episodes, Powerless was lambasted for generally not being a particularly funny sitcom and for not taking advantage of its offbeat premise while the cast of the 2017 series were lauded for their performances. Powerless has a critics score of 61% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 57. The series currently has an audience score of 54% on Rotten Tomatoes.


matt ryan as constantine

As the Arrowverse was beginning to take shape on The CW, NBC began its own DC series with Constantine in 2014. Starring Matt Ryan as the titular occultist, the series had John travel across the United States hunting demons surfacing around the country, with his particular brand of rakish charm and supernatural derring-do.

While the series was cancelled after its 13-episode first season, critics and audiences alike lauded Ryan's star turn as the eponymous protagonist while criticizing its uneven season. Ryan would reprise the role of Constantine in the Arrowverse proper, first as a guest star on Arrow before becoming a series regular on DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Constantine has a critics score of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 53. The series currently has an audience score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.


Decades before Grant Gustin's Barry Allen raced through as the Arrowverse's Scarlet Speedster on The Flash, the high-speed superhero had a previous live-action television series in 1990 starring John Wesley Shipp as Barry. Retelling the superhero origins of the character, Barry took on colorful supervillains, including the Trickster, who was memorably portrayed by ark Hamill.

Developing a cult following for its fun, unabashedly campy approach, high production costs and low ratings resulted in CBS cancelling the series after a single season. Shipp would later appear as the Arrowverse incarnation of Barry's father decades later as well as Earth-2's Jay Garrick and reprising his role as Barry during the extra-dimensional crossover "Elseworlds." The Flash has a critics score of 69% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 67. The series currently has an audience score of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.


Executive produced by prolific horror filmmaker James Wan, Swamp Thing retells the origins of Alec Holland transforming into the monstrous superhero and defending Abby Holland from all manner of evil festering in the bayou.

The DC Universe original series was cancelled shortly after its premiere, with conflicting reports over the rationale behind its premature end. Critics praised the series' fully embracing its weird premise and shift into horror across its 10-episode run.

Swamp Thing has a critics score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 67. As the series has only recently wrapped its first and only season on DC Universe, it does not currently have an audience score posted on Rotten Tomatoes.

Swamp ThingThe Flash, Constantine and Birds of Prey are currently streaming on DC Universe.

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