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DC v Marvel: Clash of the TV superheroes

Marvel might rule the cinematic universe but, when it comes to superhero TV shows, DC is the hero in the shiny costume with the bulging biceps and Marvel is most definitely the insignificant sidekick.It is perhaps one of the great mysteries as to how Marvel gets its movies so right but its TV shows so…

Marvel might rule the cinematic universe but, when it comes to superhero TV shows, DC is the hero in the shiny costume with the bulging biceps and Marvel is most definitely the insignificant sidekick.

It is perhaps one of the great mysteries as to how Marvel gets its movies so right but its TV shows so wrong, while DC’s television shows are brilliant and its movies are all-too-often disappointing.

Things could change a little when Marvel releases WandaVision, Loki and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Or will they fall into their patterns of turning a 20-minute subplot in a movie into a whole series?

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Of course, almost all the Marvel TV shows have been gathered on Disney+, but the best of DC has now been gathered together on Binge’s new Destination DC.

So let’s look at some of the best superhero TV shows.

THE HEROES

DOOM PATROL

Season two of this wacky wonderland dropped on September 2. Brendan Fraser is Cliff Steele, a NASCAR racer who dies in a crash, only to wake up as Robotman, a brain inside a robot suit.

Saved by eccentric scientist The Chief (Timothy Dalton), he and other misfits Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane have to start acting like heroes when The Chief is stolen by his nemesis Mr Nobody (Alan Tudyk). Helped by Cyborg (Joivan Wade), last seen in Justice League, their adventures are mad, to say the least. Expect lashings of bad language, violence, nudity and a rollicking good time.

Watch it on Foxtel/Binge

STARGIRL

In an explosive start, the Justice Society of America are all killed by the evil Injustice Society of America — who really should have put more effort into their name.

Jump forward 10 years and Courtney (Brec Bassinger) finds she is the heir to Starman’s Cosmic Staff and is Stargirl. It would all be a bit predictable but it is elevated by the brilliant Luke Wilson (Idiocracy) as Courtney’s stepdad whose alter ego is Stripesy, the sidekick of Starman.

He now has a robot exosuit and together the two have to stop the ISA.

Watch it on Foxtel/Binge

WATCHMEN

The gold standard of superhero TV shows. The only drawback is you have to have read the brilliant graphic novel first.

Vigilantes, racist cops, conspiracies, moon bases and alien squid come thick and fast. The twists are outrageous, the effects are brilliant and the acting is even better.

No wonder it won all those Emmys.

Watch it on Foxtel/Binge

DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

It begins with Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) assembling a crew of heroes to defeat the evil Vandal Savage.

But then it just gets crazier and crazier. Hunter and Savage are long gone and the team has changed but is still jumping back and forth through history, trying to save the world and usually succeeding.

It’s utterly bonkers but loads of fun.

Watch it on Foxtel/Binge

BLACK LIGHTNING

Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) has hung up his cape and now works as a school principal. But looming evil in his town forces him to become Black Lightning again.

Meanwhile, his daughters discover they also have powers and the family must keep this a secret while somehow also stopping the supervillain who killed Jefferson’s father. It succeeds on every level.

Watch it on Netflix

LEGION

This is easily the best Marvel TV show so far. David Haller (Dan Stevens) thinks he is crazy but it turns out he’s just super-powerful, being the son of Professor Xavier from X-Men.

He’s now at the centre of a battle between good and evil — and he’s never really sure what is a dream and what is reality. It’s trippy and entertaining.

Watch it on Foxtel/Binge

PENNYWORTH

Alfred Pennyworth is best known as Batman’s butler. But, in this show, he’s fresh out of the SAS and living in an alternate version of 1960s London.

Here the Raven Society is secretly trying to form a fascist dictatorship. A chance encounter with Thomas Wayne sees the two team up in this strange, dangerous world.

Watch it on Foxtel/Binge

GOTHAM

Another Batman origin story, this time without Batman. This shows centres on a young Jim Gordon and his battles with a whole series of villains who will also become recognisable as The Joker, Penguin and so on.

It’s dark, brooding and very good.

Watch it on Netflix

JESSICA JONES

One of the few Marvel shows that worked, perhaps because the hero (Krysten Ritter) was so damn entertaining.

After her career as a superhero was destroyed, she tries to restart life as a private investigator and uses drink to forget her PTSD. But when the villain who manipulated her comes back, she has to confront her worst fears.

Watch it on Disney+

THE FLASH

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is hit by lightning and discovers he has the power of super-speed. Now this dorky guy must become a crime fighter, with the help of some friends.

Talk of a Flash movie has been washing around for a few years now. If it comes off, they need to capture the mood of the TV series, which has plenty of humour among the action.

Watch early seasons on Stan, latest season on Foxtel/Binge

* BINGE: Streaming the world’s best shows. Two-week free trial at binge.com.au

AND THE ZEROES…

IRON FIST Whoever was responsible needs to give themselves an uppercut.

LUKE CAGE Occasionally interesting but about four episodes too long.

THE DEFENDERS Putting Jessica Jones with Iron Fist and Luke Cage just saw her brightness dragged down to boredom.

AGENTS OF SHIELD Apparently the latest seasons are great. Unfortunately, you have to sit through the incredibly dull first few to get there.

ARROW Yes, I know it’s very popular. But square-jawed all-American-ness puts me to sleep.

AGENT CARTER The brilliant Hayley Atwell is let down by a soggy script, lack of budget and lousy special effects.

THE PUNISHER A brilliant start to this series fades away into an orgy of gratuitous violence.

THE RUNAWAYS A clever premise — six teens discover their parents are supervillains and set out to stop them — is let down by cardboard characters and clumsy execution.

CLOAK AND DAGGER Again, a nice premise of two teens in a relationship discovering

their powers complement each other. But it’s all dragged out as if it’s a soapie.

DAREDEVIL A great supporting cast is let down by a rather bland hero.

Watch them on Netflix or Disney+

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