As kids, we were drawn to a lot of things on television. Sometimes it was the cool powers of superheroes in bright costumes, sometimes it was the fun world that we saw, and other times it was the charm of certain characters. We were kids! We developed tiny crushes on anyone that was even remotely lovely in some way. We developed so many that you’ve more than likely forgotten about a few, especially since not all of those television heroes made it to bigger and better things, but we’ll get into that.
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If you’re feeling rather nostalgic and you want to see where those beautiful childhood crushes from awesome superhero shows are and what they look like now, read on. We’ll delve into those shows that these celebrities starred in, as well as the roles they played. We’ll also be taking a look at how they and their careers have fared since those shows ended. It won’t all be pretty but that’s what makes things interesting. So read on if you want to see how your favorite childhood crushes have been doing in the last couple of decades.
15. JESSICA ALBA – DARK ANGEL
Her role in James Cameron’s Dark Angel was the role that allowed Jessica Alba to rise to fame. We all fell in love with her as Max Guevara, the bike messenger who could break her opponents with her bare hands. She could be sweet, she could be deadly and that’s why she won us over.
Since the series ended in 2002, Alba has been in several major films such as the 2005 films, Sin City (directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez) and Fantastic Four (directed by Tim Story), the latter’s 2007 sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer and more recently, Mechanic: Resurrection (directed by Dennis Gansel). She has also been consistently named in several top 100 hottest celebrity lists so she certainly hasn’t lost it. What makes her even more awesome is the fact that she consistently encourages people to look beneath all that superficial stuff and she sticks to her principles, making her a great role model.
14. JENSEN ACKLES – DARK ANGEL
You may remember that in season two of Dark Angel, a character by the name of Alec was introduced. Alec (and his twin, Ben) was played by Jensen Ackles, though that wasn’t where Ackles found fame. Though you might have already loved him in James Cameron’s series, Ackles became a larger star after the show ended and he received the role of Dean Winchester in 2005 for the long running series, Supernatural. He’s only gotten funnier and buffer.
Ackles has seen huge success with Supernatural, which will soon see its 13th season, but that’s not all he’s been up to. He appeared in Smallville, voiced Jason Todd in the animated film, Batman: Under the Red Hood (directed by Brandon Vietti) and has even directed a a few episodes of Supernatural. It makes his role in Dark Angel seem pretty small in comparison, which speaks a lot to how far he’s come.
13. KAREN CLICHE – MUTANT X
Created by Avi Arad, Mutant X was pretty much supposed to be X-Men without all the X-Men. One of the original team members of this group of heroic mutants was Lexa (played by Karen Cliche). She was a mutant that could control light, and was able to fire photon blasts or turn herself and others invisible for a short period of time. She was gorgeous and a character with enough flaws to be endearing.
Since the show was cancelled in 2004, Karen Cliche has made appearances here and there. She appeared as Shelby in Saw IV (directed by Kevin Greutert) and has had minor roles in several TV shows and TV films. Time has been kind to her and Cliche still retains a lot of the charm she had back when we first saw her as a mutant.
12. TOM WELLING – SMALLVILLE
Among the most successful superhero television shows prior to CW’s small collection was Smallville, which ran from 2001 to 2011 and starred Tom Welling as a young Clark Kent. Welling has all the chiselled features of a Superman, which is one of the reasons he won hearts over everywhere. For many of us, he was Superman, more so than the Clark Kents we have since seen in the films that followed.
That’s not all he’s been in, though. He’s starred in a few films, such as the 2003 comedy, Cheaper by the Dozen (directed by Shawn Levy) and appeared in a couple of other TV shows. However, his return to television recently came in the third season of the graphic novel-based series, Lucifer in which he’s currently playing the role of the stern Lieutenant, Marcus Pierce.
11. DINA MEYER – BIRDS OF PREY
Though it only ran for 13 episodes, Birds of Prey was something special for its time. It was based on the DC comic series and featured the three main members of the team: Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle, played by the gorgeous Dina Meyer. In the series, Meyer portrayed Barbara Gordon as intelligent, brave and compassionate, just like her comic book counterpart.
Since the series ended, Meyer has appeared in several horror films, such as the Saw film series as Detective Allison Kerry and the horror-comedy, Piranha 3D (directed by Alexandre Aja). She has also appeared in single episodes of several TV shows such as Castle, The Mentalist and CSI. You can probably see that, even after all this time, she hasn’t lost her looks or her talent. It’s enough to make us feel like kids again.
10. RACHEL SKARSTEN – BIRDS OF PREY
One of the main stars in Birds of Prey was Dinah Lance, played by Rachel Skarsten. Though her character was a bit rough around the edges, she won our hearts over with her awesome metahuman powers, her passion for crimefighting and her eagerness to prove herself to the team.
After the show was cancelled in 2003, Skarsten went on to appear in several small films and guest star in several television shows, including the historical drama, Reign, which aired on CW from 2013 to 2017. She’s clearly grown a lot since 2003 in regards to acting talent, and while it has been over a decade, she is no less gorgeous. Just take a look at her as Elizabeth I and try to tell us that you wouldn’t start crushing hard on her if you were a kid, or as an adult.
9. SHAWN ASHMORE – ANIMORPHS
Based on the book series, Animorphs ran from 1998 to 1999 and revolved around a group of teenagers who encounter an alien and are offered the ability to turn into different animals. They find themselves embroiled in a battle to save Earth from the invading Yeerks. The story is told mainly from the perspective of Jake, played by Shawn Ashmore.
Not long after the show ended, Ashmore appeared in several small TV roles until 2000, when he was cast as Bobby Drake in X-Men (directed by Bryan Singer). It’s a role that has lasted him four films and a video game voice acting role. Outside of those films, he’s done pretty well for himself, appearing in several minor films such as Disney Channel’s Cadet Kelly (directed by Larry Shaw). He’s definitely grown a lot from the boy we saw, in recent pictures he’s even been sporting a pretty decent beard! My, how they grow…
8. DEAN CAIN – LOIS & CLARK
Some time before Smallville, the only Superman some of us knew outside of the films was Dean Cain, who played Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The series’ focus was on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane, as opposed to the action in fighting superpowered bad guys. The series lasted from 1993 to 1997 with 87 episodes. With that thematic focus, it was difficult not to develop some kind of crush on the superhero, who was both sensitive and god-like in strength and power.
So what has Dean Cain been up to since his days as the man of steel? Recently he showed up as Jeremiah Danvers in Supergirl, a series which has featured multiple cast members as callbacks to earlier shows. Judging from those appearances as well as his more recent roles in small direct-to-video films, he definitely hasn’t lost that charm that won us over so long ago.
7. TERI HATCHER – LOIS & CLARK
When talking about childhood crushes, how could we not mention Teri Hatcher as Lois in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman? Hatcher portrayed Lois as the endearing, bold reporter from the Daily Planet that we all know and love from the comics. It’s no wonder that she (along with Dean Cain) received so much praise for her performance.
Unlike most TV stars from the ’90s and ’00s, Teri Hatcher has remained prominent. Aside from now being a columnist for Glamour Magazine, she’s best known now for her starring roles in such shows as Desperate Housewives and as a Bond girl for her role in Tomorrow Never Dies (directed by Roger Spottiswoode). Even after all this time, she’s still got that quirky charm she brought to Lois Lane and that powerful feminine confidence she brought to her appearances as Rhea in Supergirl.
6. LUCY LAWLESS – XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
First appearing as a minor character in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena (played by Lucy Lawless) was given her own spin-off show in which she fights the likes of Ares and other mythical figures in her quest for redemption and glory. With her battle-hardened personality, her skill in battle and of course that unforgettably awesome battle cry, it’s no wonder some people developed crushes on the warrior princess.
We haven’t seen much of Lawless since her days as Xena, though she has made sporadic appearances in several films such as Bedtime Stories (directed by Adam Shankman) and television shows such as Parks and Recreation and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She even made news in 2013 when she, alongside other Greenpeace activists, attempted to prevent an oil drilling ship from sailing to the arctic. She doesn’t just look as fierce as Xena after all these years, she acts like it too.
5. RENEE O’CONNOR – XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
We can’t forget Xena’s trusted friend and battle companion, Gabrielle (played by Renee O’Connor). Those who have analyzed the relationship between the two have suggested that they were more than just friends, and why not? Gabrielle is every bit as admirable as Xena. Over the course of the series, she went from simple farm girl to formidable warrior.
Renee O’Connor has appeared in a number of small films such as Alien Apocalypse (directed by Josh Becker) and Beyond the Farthest Star (directed by Andrew Librizzi). She is set to appear in yet another small film, Watch the Sky (directed by Alexander Murillo) in 2017. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like she’ll be appearing in anything major on film or on television anytime soon. She has definitely changed a lot since her days as the young Gabrielle, only getting more gorgeous with age.
4. DAVID BOREANAZ – ANGEL
A spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel focused on the vampire (played by David Boreanaz) whose human soul had been returned to him via a curse. The tragic vampire character always wins hearts and as children, how were we to resist such charisma and tragic beauty in a character? The show lasted five seasons and Boreanaz won Best TV Actor three times for his role as Angel.
After Angel ended in 2004, Boreanaz quickly found a new lasting role in Bones as Seeley Booth, the FBI agent with who doesn’t seem to get science stuff. It was a great show and we got to see Boreanaz change from the actor we grew up watching. The show recently ended in 2017 and we cannot wait to see what else Boreanaz gets up to in the future.
3. ALYSON HANNIGAN – BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Willow was the sweetest member of Buffy’s little Scooby Gang. As the series went on, however, we saw her transform into someone completely different: an all-powerful, incredibly intelligent force to be reckoned with. Even as that dark vampire or the empowered villain we saw toward the end of the series, we were compelled to adore Alyson Hannigan’s portrayal of the character.
Hannigan moved on to bigger and better things after Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2003. We’ve seen her throughout the American Pie series, as well as the highly successful How I Met Your Mother, in which she plays Lily Aldrin. It’s clear that she hasn’t lost any of the adorable charm she brought to Willow way back when. It’s completely understandable if she’s still your celebrity crush.
2. VICTOR WEBSTER -MUTANT X
One of the more prominent mutants in Mutant X was Brennan, who had the power to blast bolts of electricity from his hands, the strength of which were so powerful that he could use it to effectively fly. Brennan was a confident guy, charmingly played by Victor Webster.
Webster has appeared in a lot of different TV shows, mostly in single-episode appearances. You might have seen him in episodes of Bones, Castle or as the star of the direct-to-video films, The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (directed by Roel Reine) and its sequel, Quest for Power (directed by Mike Elliot). By the looks of him, he hasn’t lost his good looks. In fact, over the years, as you can probably see for yourself, he’s only gotten more rugged.
1. BROOKE NEVIN – ANIMORPHS
Nicknamed “Xena, Warrior Princess” by her friends, Rachel (played by Brooke Nevin) in Animorphs was the most violent and aggressive of the bunch. She was Jake’s cousin and the member that developed the most as a character, owing to the war-like situation they’d been caught in. Somehow though, her violent streak was charming and as kids, we couldn’t help but love seeing her in the show.
After the show ended, Nevin starred in several short films and had a few roles here and there in several television shows, most notably in the comedy series, Call Me Fitz, in which she played Sonja Lester, a role for which she was nominated for several awards. You can see that she’s definitely come a long way from being that young girl. She’s a talented young woman now and we hope to see her in larger roles.
Which television superhero did you have a crush on as a kid? Let us know in the comments!
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