Written by Shawn Bourdo
I have complimented Marvel for years over how they’ve intelligently constructed their entertainment universe. Everything was informed by the motion pictures and that flowed into the TV shows and Netflix shows and cartoons. Eventually the tables turned and their movies started to control the comic universe. It’s been a different, more disjointed road for DC. For years as I was growing up, there were more DC entertainment outside of the comics than there were Marvel. I was a fan of Batman and Wonder Woman and the Superfriends. Everything existed separately. In no world could I see Christopher Reeves’s Superman crossing over with Michael Keaton’s Batman. Despite recent moves to copy the Marvel blueprint, DC has more singular outposts to enjoy without dipping into all of the shows. Here’s a current Top Ten of my recent enjoyment of the DC Universe. Let’s get rid of any drama first – there will be no Batman vs. Superman (because it sucked) and no Suicide Squad (because I didn’t watch but reviews, folks) and no Wonder Woman (because not out yet but looks really good).
10. ARROW (CW) This show is the roller coaster of the DC TV Universe. For a period of time, it was probably my favorite show on TV. Now I’ve had to debate if I want to keep watching it or now. The recent developments have improved my interest including the budding romance with Dinah Drake who’s so much more appealing than Laurel Lance ever was. The first few seasons of this are worth watching again.
9. GOTHAM (FOX) I’ve grown to love this show more and more as each season progresses. Here’s a show that operates outside of the DC Universe in so many ways. There’s very little logic to the later continuity of the comics and movies. There’s some fun in that giving of the middle finger to what your expectations are of the Batman universe. Certainly the writers have quickly realized that this is a villain-driven show and Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, and now Joker are making Bruce and James Gordon feel like the B-Story each week.
8. WONDER WOMAN STAMPS. This anniversary of Wonder Woman has been topped off for me by being able to send out letters and bills with her likeness in the upper right-hand corner. I feel like my mail is properly protected.
7. JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION (CARTOON) While not a fan of the animation of the show, this show continues a long solid tradition of great Justice League shows on the Cartoon Network. Much like the best versions of the comic books, there’s the presence of the big characters but it’s the smaller characters that take the stage and become favorites. This version seems to be dedicated to rolling through all the possible heroes before it’s done.
6. DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW (CW) Not the best show in the DC Universe but maybe consistently the most fun. I love them the most when they are traveling through history. In the next episode, they are going to be fighting evil versions of themselves. And this is just after fighting with lasers at the Knights of the Round Table and almost ruining the crossing of the Delaware with George Washington. How much more comic book can you get? It’s very Doctor Who but that lends some more shine to it.
5. WONDER WOMAN: REBIRTH (DC COMICS) I don’t read many of the books consistently anymore. I happened to pick this up at the library and if there’s attention to quality the way there is in this book when they release the movie – we are in good hands. Pick up the Vol 1 – The Lies collection and spend a very entertaining afternoon.
4. SUPERGIRL (CW) The addition of Mon-El to the cast as her beau has been perfect. He’s cute (as is the whole cast) but he also give her a perfect foil. They are equals and opposites and that’s a great formula for a romantic comedy within a pretty solid superhero show. This is not the dark and disturbing universe of Gotham or even Arrow. This world has issues and evil aliens but in the end it’s got blue skies.
3. LEGO BATMAN (THEATERS) I like consuming my superheroes in Lego format. This movie was just what 2017 needed – fast-paced jokes with a nod to the past Batman movies and TV shows and even the Animated Series. The characters of this universe are very flexible. I love that the dark characters can equally be comfortable in such a hilarious film.
2. THE FLASH (CW) Not the lightest, not the brightest, not the most fun. But consistently the best. This show is the current blueprint for superhero shows. You tell stories that nod to the comic book material that is proven and you tell it with humor and some great villains and pretty actors. The show has lost its way a few times but it feels back on course again. The trip to Gorilla City and the return of Grodd has been a gift. People like gorillas. Trust me.
1. TEEN TITANS GO! (CARTOON) Fifteen minute episodes. Non sequiturs. Songs. It’s like a fun, crazy copy of a comic book come to life. It’s not technically like the stories told in other areas of the DC Universe but where is this sort of thing from Marvel? Take your characters and characters from a respected animated show importantly and just let them loose. It’s my favorite DC moment consistently every week.
The real #1 of course is that over 25 years later I still fire up Batman: The Animated Series. Try it.