After a one season hiatus following the ending of Smallville in 2011, DC Comics has exploded on to TV screens in recent years. Arrow debuted in 2012, which has helped lead to a string of hits on the small screen. Currently, there are 9 DC Comics TV shows on air, with several more in development.
A total of 21 live-action DC Comics TV shows have aired, beginning with the Adventures of Superman in 1952. Today, there are 9 DC TV series on the air. Another 3 series have been order to pilot, and 9 more have been reported to be in some form of early development.
Current DC Comics TV Shows
- The Flash
- DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Following the success of Smallville, Arrow is the “modern” show that started the superhero TV boom. The show is now entering Season 5 and is the anchor of of the DC CW Universe. The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow have both spun-off of this series, with many characters first appearing in Arrow.
Arrow follows Oliver Queen / Green Arrow as The show tells two stories at once – the present day as well as short flashbacks to his time on the island. By day, he is a billionaire playboy, but at night he is a vigilante who works to clean up Star City. He is helped by teammates like John Diggle and Felicity Smoak.
Stephen Amell has also appeared as Green Arrow on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
The Flash (2014-
The Flash is the first show to spin-off of Arrow and is one of the best received DC TV shows ever. It follows the story of forensic scientist Barry Allen, who is struck by lightning and develops superhuman speed. He works with friends like Cisco Ramon, Joe West, and Caitlin Snow to solve his mother’s murder and help keep Starling City safe.
The Flash also airs on The CW and is entering Season 3. Grant Gustin has also appeared as The Flash in Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.
Everyone thinks they know the origin of Bruce Wayne, but there are actually many gaps in the story. Gotham attempts to fill those gaps. In many ways, Gotham is to Batman what Smallville was to Superman. It fills in the years between the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne and the debut of Batman.
While Bruce Wayne and his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth play a main role, they are not the stars of the series. The main role is Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, the future Police Commissioner of Gotham. The show focuses on Bruce Wayne’s progression towards Batman and Gotham City villain’s descension to evil.
The show airs on Fox and has been renewed for Season 3.
Although many people don’t know it’s background, iZombie is a DC/Vertigo comic book that was created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred in 2010. It was developed for television by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright. The show airs on the CW and has been renewed for Season 3.
Although many character names and personalities are changed, the series does follow the general concept of the comic book. The main character of the series is Olivia “Liv” Moore, a coroner’s assistant who happens to be a zombie. She develops the personality and memories of whoever’s brains she eats and uses this to solve crimes.
Supergirl has all the awesome powers of her cousin, Superman. The series follows Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers. Kara was sent to Earth at the same time as her cousin in order to protect him. However, her spaceship got knocked off course. By the time she arrived, Superman was already an adult hero. Supergirl works with James “don’t call me Jimmy” Olsen, Winn Schott, and her adopted sister Alex to help stop “extranormal” threats.
After airing on CBS in it’s first season, the series was renewed for Season 2 on The CW. The Flash has already crossed-over with Supergirl and more crossovers are coming now that it is on The CW.
DC’s Legends of Tomorow (2016-
Legends of Tomorrow spun-off of Arrow and The Flash and is filled with DC Comics heroes and villains who first appeared on those shows. This is DC TV’s first real team-up show and has a roster that includes Brandon Routh as The Atom and Caity Lotz as White Canary.
The first season of the show involves Rip Hunter assembling to travel through time and take down a tyrant who has plans to take over the world. Legends of Tomorrow airs on The CW and is entering Season 2.
What would the Devil do if he got bored and decide to live in Los Angeles? That is the question that Lucifer attempts to answer. The series follows Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar and Lauren German as Chloe Decker in something of a buddy-cop procedural. Lucifer airs on Fox and is entering Season 2.
Preacher is based off the DC/Vertigo comic book series that was created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. The series follows Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, a preacher who has been given unique abilities. The show combines elements of several genres, such as dark comedy and supernatural themes.
Preacher was adapted for television by Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, and Sam Catlin. It airs on AMC and has been renewed for Season 2.
Powerless is a comedy series that is set in the DC Comics universe. The show is an office comedy that focuses on the employees of an insurance company, who are less than impressed with superheroes. The series will air on NBC in early 2017 as a midseason replacement.
In Development – Pilot Ordered
- Scalped – A Vertigo comic created by Jason Aaron, Scalped is a crime drama set on a Native American Indian Reservation. A pilot order was give by WGN in March of 2016, accoriding to Deadline. The series is being developed by Doug Jung.
- Krypton – Krypton tells the story of Superman’s doomed birth planet. The series will follow Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather, long before baby Kal-El is ever born. The series is being developed by David S. Goyer and Damian Kindler. Accoding to Variety, a pilot order was given by SyFy in May of 2016.
- Black Lightning – This series will follow Jefferson Pierce, his family, and his alter-ego Black Lightning. The show is being developed by Greg Berlanti and Salim and Mara Brock Akil. Fox order a pilot for the prospective series in September of 2016, according to Variety.
In Development – Pilot Not Yet Ordered
- Amped / Jacked
- DC’s Hero Project
- Static Shock
- Y: The Last Man
Former DC Comics TV Shows
- Adventures of Superman (1952-1958)
- Batman (1966-1968)
- Shazam! (1974-1976)
- Wonder Woman (1975-1979)
- Superboy (1988-1992)
- Swamp Thing: The Series (1990-1993)
- The Flash (1990-1991)
- Human Target (1992)
- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997)
- Smallville (2001-2011)
- Birds of Prey (2002-2003)
- Human Target (2010-2011)
- Constantine (2014-2015)
Produced Pilots – Not ordered to series
- The Adventures of Superpup (1958)
- The Adventures of Superboy (1961)
- Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince (1967)
- Batgirl (1968)
- Wonder Woman (1974)
- Human Target (1990)
- Justice League of America (1997)
- Global Frequency (2005)
- Aquaman / Mercy Reef (2006)
- Wonder Woman (2011)