From Superman to Iron Man, shows and films centring around superheroes produced in recent years have captivated audiences the world over. Whether you’re a veteran fan or a newcomer to the genre, there’s bound to be a story out there that fits your tastes perfectly – whether it be a faithful adaptation of a well-loved comic or an original storyline. If you’ve got a craving for an action-packed story with heart and humour, here are 8 superhero shows streaming on Netflix now.
The Umbrella Academy
An adaptation of a comic book series written by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy is the story of a dysfunctional family of adopted superheroes, who are in the midst of grieving their recently deceased-father figure. As the siblings investigate his death, they soon find themselves racing against time to save the world from an apocalyptic event.
This series is famous for its heartfelt treatment of the troubled Hargreeve family, its exploration of grief, and impressive performances from actors like Elliot Page and Robert Sheehan. Fans of family drama and action alike wouldn’t want to miss this spectacle.
If you’re looking for something more light-hearted than the dour family drama of the Hargreeves, you could take a look at a show as fast-paced as the titular hero itself. The Flash, starring Grant Gustin, brings the iconic DC Comics speedster to life on your HP laptop screen and explores his start and subsequent life as Central City’s most notable superhero.
The series has received critical acclaim for its faithfulness to the spirit of the comic books, embracing the light-hearted tone in a way that many adaptations stray from. Both newcomers and Flash veterans will find something to like in this action-packed show.
Set in the same universe as The Flash, The Arrow precedes it by 2 years and also belongs in the same universe – known as the Arrowverse. Taking a darker tone than its swift-paced counterpart, The Arrow follows Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, as he grows into his role as the Green Arrow and defends Starling City from criminals and lowlifes.
Though critical reception for the show wasn’t as warm as The Flash in its earlier seasons, The Arrow really grew into itself as the seasons passed, with many critics noting the skill with which its writers melded television tropes and techniques with plotlines adapted from its source material.
DC’S Legends of Tomorrow
If you like the tone of Arrowverse shows but are looking for more of an ensemble piece, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow brings together iconic DC comic-book characters in a story that spans across time and space. As the characters travel through time, they navigate conflict and closeness aboard the Waverider and enter the lives of important historical figures throughout different historical eras.
Featuring a star-studded cast including the talents of Brandon Routh as the Atom and Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold, the show’s appeal lies in the chemistry between the various actors as they explore character dynamics. Later seasons embraced a more comedic tone that garnered praise from critics.
Looking for a show with a strong feminist edge? Well, look no further. Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist as the titular superheroine, cousin to the more famous Superman, as she navigates the development of her powers alongside the development of her professional career. The series features strong feminist messaging, and later goes on to tackle issues of racism and xenophobia through the metaphor of superpowered aliens under fire by humans.
The show received critical acclaim for its active avoidance of cynicism in exchange for a heartfelt touch, as well as for Benoist’s performance as the plucky, capable superheroine in both her capacity as Supergirl and as the mild-mannered CatCo employee. Further praise was given for its gentle treatment of social issues like those mentioned above.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
If DC isn’t your thing, and Marvel is more your style, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D might be the show for you. The show follows S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson as he regularly deals with threats that might otherwise threaten the peace and safety of the entire world with the help of his teammates. With a large cast of agents from all corners of the comic book world, this show is great for anyone looking to get familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The show was well-received for its writing and its focus on the regular people who inhabit the MCU rather than the superheroes we tend to see. The series also boasts a wonderful soundtrack composed by Bear McCreary, which sounds incredible, playing in the background of any event from any Bluetooth speaker.
Returning to the world of DC, Gotham is yet another ensemble piece; however, in a bit of a subversion, the series focuses instead on the city’s famous villains than the Caped Crusader himself. In fact, the series completely omits Batman’s presence, instead presenting a Gotham before there were superheroes to defend it. What results is a dark and engaging story that often dips into the whimsical and deranged as it portrays the famed rogues’ gallery in all its glory.
The series has received critical acclaim for its highly stylised portrayal of the city and its principal characters, often forgoing realism for drama. The ante only ever ups and ups across the show’s five seasons, culminating in a free-for-all that uses its roster of antagonists to the fullest. Fans who want to see an adaptation of Batman that doesn’t take itself too seriously can rely on this series to give them what they’ve been asking for.
I Am Not Okay With This
An oddball of a series, I Am Not Okay With This is unique for its original story, focusing on the developing telekinetic powers of Sydney Novak, a 17-year-old girl in a dilapidated town. Starring IT kids Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Oleff, the show’s darkly humorous tone hides a big, breaking heart, and will definitely make you laugh and cry in equal measure at the antics on your Android phone.
While only having lasted a single season, this series is a critical favourite for its intriguing tone and quality humour, with extra praise heaped on for the performance put on by Sophia Lillis. The show is a must-watch for those who enjoy coming-of-age dramas that tug on the heartstrings, as well as those who want to consume more media with quality LGBTQ representation via its main character.
The shows listed above prove that Netflix is no slouch when it comes to airing all sorts of superhero stories of all tones and genres. Whether you’re looking for something dark and unhinged like Gotham, emotional and chaotic like The Umbrella Academy, or funny and light-hearted like The Flash, there’s definitely a show out there for you – you just need to look!