Superhero TV shows that are not Marvel or DC

Superheroes are in high demand these days, but sometimes it feels like Marvel and DC adaptations just aren’t enough. Sure, both studios are releasing new content to movies and TV at astonishing speeds, but there are only so many times we can see Batman’s parents die, right? Alternatively, you may be eagerly awaiting the next MCU movie or show, but need something to fill the void while you wait for phase four to unfold.

If you’re a superhero fan looking for fresh blood, scroll down below for some of our picks for the best super TV outside of the two big ones.

The boys


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Image via Amazon

Here’s a bit of a cheat: The boys cartoon (created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson) was originally released under a DC publishing house before moving to Dynamite Entertainment. But the only trace of the two big ones you’ll find in the Amazon Prime series is in the creepy parodies of well-known characters and superpowers. In this world, the famous super team The Seven is a corrupt and overpowered group that stands in a powerful company. Step into The Boys, a rogue group determined to bring The Seven down and reveal their true, villainous nature. The result is far more violent, vulgar and unsettling than you get out of most Marvel and DC series.

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Picture via Netflix

This unfortunately short-lived Netflix series (based on the cartoon of Charles Forsman, who also wrote The End of the F ** King World) is about a teenager named Sydney (Sophia Lillis), which begins to manifest telekinetic forces. Sydney recently lost her father due to suicide and feels excluded from her best friend and secret crush, Dina (Sofia Bryant), who are now dating a jock from their school. While Sydney struggles to keep her emotions in check, her new powers respond to her lack of control, causing increasing amounts of chaos (and bloodshed) in her life.

Upbringing of Dion


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Picture via Netflix

Upbringing of Dion first aroused interest online as a proof-of-concept short film about a black single mother who raises a super-strong son and documents his many abilities while learning to navigate them. The idea caught Netflix’s attention and expanded into a series about Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) and her newly authorized son (Ja’Siah Young) while also mourning the loss of her husband Mark (Michael B. Jordan). Mark turns out to be at the center of a mystery involving other super powerful people who are being hunted down and absorbed by a device known as “The Crooked Man”. Together with Mark’s best friend Pat (Jason Ritter), Nicole does her best to protect and prepare Dion for his unusual life.


Umbrella Academy


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Picture via Netflix

Based on the cartoon of Gerard Way, this series follows a dysfunctional family of orphans who were raised as superheroes under the supervision of their adopted father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore). After a period of alienation, the now adult siblings (played by Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castaneda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, and Justin H. Min) reunite after Hargreeves’ death and are shocked when their lost brother, Five (Aidan Gallagher), returning from traveling in time to warn them of an impending apocalypse. They must reluctantly work together again for the first time since they were children, through a series of eerie, trippy, time travel-y, super adventures to thwart the doom of the world and the eerie commission.

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Alphas


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Alphas is like a superhero procedure: Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) specializes in the study of people with superhuman abilities, which he calls “Alphas”. He leads a government-sponsored team of such superpowered humans who are tasked with investigating crimes committed by other alphas. During their investigation, they come into contact with a group called the Red Flag, a terrorist operation that seeks to protect Alpha from government repression and interference at all costs.

Heroes


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Image via NBC

At that time, Heroes was the definitive, completely original primetime superhero program on television. The drama included a large, diverse cast of characters, inextricably linked to their unusual superpowers. Geneticist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) begins a quest to track down superpowered humans and study where their abilities came from, while the mysterious serial killer Sylar (Zachary Quinto) also track them down to take their abilities for granted. Meanwhile, time traveler Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) becomes aware of an apocalyptic event from the future, and recruits Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) to help save the cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere as the invulnerable teenager Claire Bennet) so they can save the world.


Invincible


This adult animated series is based on Robert Kirkman‘s cartoon of the same name. Teenager Mark Grayson (with the right to vote by Steven Yeun) is an ordinary child, except for one thing: his father is secretly the world’s most powerful superhero. Nolan Grayson, alias Omni-Man (pronounced by JK Simmons), is an alien warrior living a double life as a travel writer on Earth. As Mark’s own superpowers begin to show, his father agrees to train him into a superhero and becomes his mentor. However, there is a conspiracy on the way that removes the heroes, The Guardians of the Globe, and can drive a permanent wedge between father and son.

Misadaptations


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Picture via channel 4

This irreverent British drama series follows five young criminals who gain superpowers after an insane storm gives them unique abilities. But the storm has also affected others, including their detective, who they end up killing in self-defense. While the gang tries to cover up their crime, they also face enemies whose powers have manifested themselves in strange and surprising ways (knit sweaters from the future, summon the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and remove the powers of others through sexual intercourse, just to name a few of the unusual abilities). The community service team becomes an unlikely found family as they fall in love, form deep bonds and protect each other from their bizarre new reality.


The Nevers


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Image via HBO

Made by Joss Whedon (who later left the show in the midst of controversy), this sci-fi series takes place in an alternate version of Victorian London, where a mysterious event that took place in 1896 created a group of superpowered people called “The Touched”. Three years later, a widow named Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) operates a sanctuary for those affected, most of whom are women. She uses her ability to look into the future (and fighting ability) to protect her kind from a hostile government and a serial killer targeting those affected.

Jupiter’s inheritance


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Jupiter’s Legacy (LR) Leslie Bibb as Grace Sampson and Josh Duhamel as Sheldon Sampson in episode 2 of Jupiter’s Legacy. Cr. Steve Wilkie / Netflix © 2021

Another one-season wonder from Netflix, based on the cartoon of the same name by Mark Millar and Frank quite. The series alternates between two timelines: in the late 1920s, Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel) gets visions of a mysterious island after his father commits suicide after the stock market crash. Nearly a century later, Sheldon is an almighty hero known as the utopian who heads the Union of Justice. As his children come of age and come to their power, Sheldon’s strict moral code (with a classic number one rule: no killing) is put to the test.


The Tick (2016)


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Image via Amazon

The fleet, based on Ben Edlunds popular superhero parody cartoon, has been adapted a few times now: first as an animated series in the 90s, then as a live-action comedy starring Patrick Warburton in 2001. In the third iteration, premiered on Amazon Prime in 2016, Arthur (Griffin Newman) is a young man obsessed with tracking down The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), a supervillain responsible for his father’s death. His traces of bread crumbs cause him to become entangled in The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz), an eccentric hero with apparent memory loss. The pair become an unlikely crime-fighting duo as Arthur inherits his own super suit that aids his investigation of The Terror.


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