In 2019, capes and cowls rule the box office. As we sit back and take a deep breath after Avengers: Endgame has capped off more than a decade of interconnected comic book storytelling, let’s look forward to what’s approaching on the small screen. As the third phase of the MCU winds down, comic book television is just getting started.
I’ve always been partial to superhero shows. I enjoyed Powers, the early seasons of Heroes were very good, and I even liked Alphas. After all these years, The 4400 remains my favorite in the genre. I’ve always been a particular fan of the more offbeat superhero shows. When a character has powers that behave in non-standard ways or come with caveats, it can really do a lot for the storytelling.
Umbrella Academy, Season Two (Netflix)
I only finished watching Umbrella Academy this past week, and I absolutely loved it. The powers that these characters have feel more like something out of The 4400 or Wild Cards than they feel like Marvel superhero powers. Umbrella Academy‘s first season presented a number of mysteries, many of which the show slowly unraveled. But questions remain. Personally, I’m left wondering about Reginald Hargrave’s background. Hopefully season two can continue the exposition. I’m very much looking forward to it.
The Tick, Season Two (Amazon)
Back in the nineties, I was a huge fan of The Tick on Fox Kids. I was sure to get all three seasons on VHS, and I loved it more than I can tell you. I loved Little Wooden Boy, I loved Speak, I loved Die Fledermaus. I was never as much a fan of The Evil Midnight Bomber as everyone else, but I could tell you every member of the Civic Minded Five. When they announced the live-action series starring Patrick Warburton, I was overjoyed… right up until I saw an actual episode. After that disappointment, I was lukewarm when Amazon announced that it was rebooting The Tick again. But despite the fact that Peter Serafinowicz doesn’t have Warburton’s build, he plays the role far better.
Jackie Earle Haley playing the role of the 110-year-old villain The Terror is excellent, and I’m even willing to accept Dot being retconned as a badass. As long as I get to see more of Alan Tudyk playing Dangerboat, the show’s best character. Who is a boat. Bonus: Townsend Coleman, the original voice of the tick, voice acting as a dog.
Note: After writing this article, I learned that season two of The Tick has already come out, and is presently available on Amazon Prime. I also learned that the show was cancelled, so I’m watching the final season slowly, and savoring the bittersweet streaming chocolate of justice.
The Boys (Amazon)
Amazon’s new show takes place in a gritty world where superheroes are massive celebrities, but have grown corrupt, and a group of vigilantes known as “the boys” set out to take them down. As always with new shows, there’s no way to tell whether it will be good, but I’m hopeful. The show has Karl Urban, whom I loved as Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok. His portrayal of Dr. McCoy in the new Star Trek films was also one of the few bright spots in that franchise. The Boys will also star Elisabeth Shue, and I can’t recall having seen her in anything since the Back to the Future trilogy.
The first episode will be directed by Dan Trachtenberg, whom I’ve followed since his days with The Totally Rad Show.
The Boys premieres on July 26 on Amazon Prime Video
Although I’ve never read the original comic, I loved The Watchmen. Nonetheless, I somehow find myself surprised every time I watch at how violent it is. HBO’s incarnation is going to be aiming at the same aesthetic as the original, but telling an original story in that setting. I think it has potential. The cast is mostly unknowns, but they’re casting Jeremy Irons as Ozymandias, which suggests that this series will be taking place decades after the events of the original story.
Watchmen is coming to HBO in Fall of 2019
I’m not personally a fan of DC comics, and The Flash is the only Arrowverse show I’ve followed with any regularity, but Batwoman has my attention. It’s coming before the end of this year, although CW has yet to announce a date.
Deadly Class (SyFy)
While it is based on a comic, Deadly Class sounds like it has more in common with The Kingsmen movies than it does with any superhero mythos. The story follows a homeless teen who finds himself recruited into an assassins’ school in the 1980s. The main thing that has caught my attention about this show is Benedict Wong, who I always enjoy watching.
Locke & Key (Netflix)
This much-loved comic has been in the works to come to the screen for years, and now Netflix has finally picked it up. The story follows three siblings whose father has just been murdered. The three of them move into their family’s ancestral home in Massachusetts and find that the house has magical keys which grant them powers. But they soon learn of a demon who also wants the keys.
Sign me up.
Jessica Jones, Season Three (Netflix)
To my knowledge, there’s been no announcement on a release date for the final bit of Marvel that Netflix is going to be giving us. But given that Disney Plus is coming as early as December, it has to be this year. Look for it before 2020.
Cloak & Dagger, Season Two (Freeform)
Due to my own poor access to Freeform, (I don’t have it) I was only able to watch a few episodes at a friend’s house. But I enjoyed what I saw, and I look forward to going back to the show at some point in the future. It’s a Marvel show, and so it can reference other elements of the MCU, which it does.
The Disney Plus Marvel Shows (Disney Plus)
There are a number, and although we don’t have much in the way of details, at least some of these should be available before the end of the year. WandaVision stars The Scarlet Witch and The Vision, and takes place in the 1950s. I don’t know how that’s supposed to happen, but it should be interesting. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier stars Sam Wilson as the new Captain America, along with Bucky Barnes. If the writing is good, the show should be worth watching. Hawkeye will star Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton training a young Kate Bishop to assume the Hawkeye mantle. I’d long hoped that the show would follow the story of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye comics, but comic-reading friends assure me that those comics require Clint to be an unmarried screwup, so it seems less than likely. The Loki series will follow the god of mischief after he’s escaped New York City with The Space Stone during the events of Avengers: Endgame. It seems difficult to sustain a series with Loki as a main character rather than a foil, but I’ll do my best not to dismiss the show before having seen an episode. Lastly, Marvel is planning a “What If?” show for Disney Plus, and this one could be really really good. I’m hoping for some Twilight Zone style episodes exploring if Peggy Carter had become Captain America or what would have happened if the attack on New York during The Avengers had been successful.