Superheroes have been a staple of television since nearly the beginning. Superman and Batman were major successes in the fifties and sixties. Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk in prime time and Shazam! and the Mighty Isis on Saturday Morning enjoyed popular series in the 1970s. And today, the series of the CW’s Arrowverse have kept heroes firmly on our screens.
But for every mainstream success story, there are some cape wearers that may have slipped past the notice of the average television viewer. Here are ten TV Superheroes you’ve probably never heard of.
10 Night Man
San Francisco based saxophonist Johnny Domino was struck by lightning tuning his brain in to the “frequency of evil” . Domino can now “hear” the thoughts of people who plan to do evil. Along with his friend, Raleigh Jordan, Domino created a bulletproof battle suit.
The suit is outfitted with an anti-gravity belt that enables him to fly, a cape that rendered him invisible through holograms and a dual functioning eyepiece over his left eye. It allowed Night Man to see clearly in the darkness and to fire a powerful laser beam. Domino used these abilities to fight crime and avenge the death of his father. Night Man is loosely based on the Malibu/Marvel Comic created by comics legend Steve Englehart.
Dr. Miles Hawkins was shot in the spine by a police sniper while trying to rescue a child during a riot. This left the African American scientist paralyzed from the waist down. Discovering a far deeper level of conspiracy against the African American community, Hawkins used the resources of his company to create a high-tech battle suit that would allow him to walk and fight corruption and crime in Port Columbia. M.A.N.T.I.S. stands for “Mechanically Augmented Neuro Transmitter Interactive System”. In addition to the M.A.N.T.I.S. armor, Hawkins also utilized a technologically advanced underwater lair called the Seapod and a flying car/submarine called the Chrysalis, becoming an aquatic hybrid of the Iron Man and Batman ideals.
8 No Ordinary Family
In a variation on the Fantastic Four theme, No Ordinary Family follows the four members of the Powell family as their plane crashes in the Amazon Rainforest. The father, James Powell Sr. was a police sketch artist and the only family member that immediately went out to fight crime with his new powers with the assistance of his friend and comic book nerd, Asst. DA George St. Cloud. Jim’s powers include super-strength, near invulnerability and the ability to leap a half a mile.
Jim’s scientist wife, Dr. Stephanie Powell gained the power of super speed and had a super-fast metabolism that allowed her to heal rapidly. Daughter Daphne gained telepathy and later, could influence others through telepathic suggestion and could erase memories. Their son, JJ, gained superintelligence, language and knowledge retention and learned skills, like advanced fighting techniques. The series was created by the creator of the entire CW/DC universe, Greg Berlanti.
7 Once a Hero
Abner Bevis, the creator of Captain Justice, is in a creative slump. He is just repeating himself and even the characters he draws in the town of Pleasantville are beginning to notice. The lack of readers is causing them to fade away as the book nears cancellation. Captain Justice, along with his pal Gumshoe, undertakes the dangerous trip across the Forbidden Zone. Both arrive in the real world as regular, non-powered people. The Captain begins to fight real criminals and his success both spurs interest in the book and sparks Abner’s desire to make more contemporary stories. It also draws the attention of a suspicious newspaper reporter and her precocious son.
6 The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
In the tradition of the Rawhide Kid and Jonah Hex, Brisco County Jr. is a Harvard educated lawyer turned bounty hunter hired by a group of wealthy industrialists to capture notorious outlaw John Bly and his gang.
Bly is desperate to get his hands on the mysterious glowing “Orb”. Brisco is aided, and often hampered, by fellow bounty hunter Lord Bowler and frustrated by the studious lawyer Socrates Poole. The series was unique in the Western genre because it mixes humor, science and steampunk elements in with its setting of the American West at turn of the century.
5 The Invisible Man (2000 TV Series)
The Invisible Man series takes a sci-fi spin on the horror classic as it follows cat burglar Darien Fawkes who trades life imprisonment for servitude with the ultra-secretive “Agency”. Fawkes is implanted with the “Quicksilver Gland” at the base of his skull. The gland coats his body and clothes in a substance that bends light and renders Fawkes completely invisible. The gland was sabotaged at its creation and Fawkes requires regular injections to keep him sane. Fawkes continually fights between fulfilling his missions for the Agency and finding ways to get his freedom back.
4 John Doe
A man wakes up, naked, with a mark on his chest and no knowledge of who he is or where he comes from. He does know every other single fact in the world. Every piece of knowledge, trivia, and history exist in his head but not his own name. The man calls himself John Doe and uses his knowledge to gain a fortune, help everyday people and then begins to aid the Seattle Police Department with crime solving. John is also being shadowed by the clandestine Phoenix Organization that is watching his every move.
The Sable series is based on the Jon Sable: Freelance comic created by prolific creator Mike Grell. The series follows the adventures of mercenary Jon Sable who is, by day, writer Nicholas Fleming. Sable is wanted for murder in Africa and is only safe in his Fleming persona. The television series is based in Chicago and places Sable in the unique roles of protector and vigilante for most of its brief episode run.
2 Witchblade: The Series
Witchblade the Series is based on the phenomenally popular Top Cow comic. The story follows New York homicide detective Sara Pezzini as she learns to deal with the mystically powerful weapon now bound to her body, The Witchblade.
In the series, the Witchblade manifests as a gauntlet with a sword extending from the palm. She is aided in her police work by her overprotective partner Det. Jake McCartey and later, Det. Danny Woo. Kenneth Irons and his right-hand henchman, Ian Nottingham provide both the source of knowledge and the source of trouble concerning the Witchblade in the series.
1 The Crow: Stairway to Heaven
Few remember this TV series which is the spiritual successor to the beloved first Crow film as it features Eric Draven, the doomed rock star turned supernatural vigilante, The Crow. In the series, Eric is charged with “putting wrong things right” before he can join his beloved Shelley, who waits for him just inside in the Land of the Dead. Neither of them are able to move on without the other. The Crow is again aided by Det. Daryl Albrecht in his quest and befriends tough kid, Sarah. One addition that wasn’t in the film but was in the James O'Barr comic is the Skull Cowboy. The darkly comic Cowboy guides poor souls in the limbo between life and death and rarely intervenes in the lives of mortals.