Modern television program often has a bad rap. In an instant-gratification era, it can easily feel as though intelligent, thought-provoking shows have been pushed aside to make way for silly, frivolous programming. And while it’s not fair to say that all shows on TV are boring and vapid, at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, they simply don’t make them like they used to. Whatever happened to the punchy, witty superhero serials that used to air during television primetime? If you’re like us and you’re desperately missing the brilliant writing that used to be found on the TV way back when, then why don’t you join us as we mourn together the loss of these four superhero shows that were unfairly, prematurely canceled?
Very few people made it through the 90s without developing a massive crush on Jessica Alba. Not only is she an absolutely smoldering brunette, but she also was a seriously epic superheroine that headlined James Cameron’s Dark Angel. This cyberpunk show followed along as the title character, a genetically enhanced soldier who tried to hold down some semblance of normalcy as she roamed a dystopian Seattle in search of her displaced siblings. How cool of a plot is that? Yeah. Apparently, Fox – the channel upon which it aired – decided to take this brilliant show and dump it on Friday nights, effectively sentencing it to a slow fizzle before it was eventually given the axe.
We can’t talk about iconic superhero shows without discussing the original protagonist, Batman. The dark knight took to the air back in the 1960s, and Adam West quickly settled into the role with ease. With Robin by his side, he vanquished foes like the Penguin and the Joker. Despite the unrivaled popularity of this show, though, ABC concluded that it wasn’t generating the ratings they wanted. Despite being a cult classic, and still having an extremely loyal following nearly six whole decades later, the plug was pulled on Batman after just three seasons.
Birds of Prey
We promise we’re not obsessed with Batman, but we can’t pay tribute to classic superhero shoes without giving a nod to Birds of Prey. This show pitched a surprisingly subversive idea: what if something happened to Gotham City’s hero and someone else had to step into his knee-high leather boots in his place? That’s exactly what his daughter, The Huntress, decided to do. Alongside Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, The Oracle, this duo tackled the villains of Gotham City together. While the show had so much potential, The WB didn’t hold the same affection toward it. After just a scant thirteen episodes, the show was told to take a hike and the birds of prey had to take flight.
What if some things in the world were so bad, not even the greatest of the great superheroes could handle it? That’s exactly what Constantine posited: this show revolves around the eponymous title character, a man who faced eerie supernatural baddies that were too much for other superheroes. Despite having an extremely loyal fan base, Constantine couldn’t conjure up the ratings that NBC demanded and they nixed it after only one season. To add insult to injury, Constantine wound up being relegated to the rare guest appearance on Arrow, teasing its fans and leaving them wanting more of their beloved character.
C’mon TV producers, what gives?
If we had to take a look at the scattered remains of all of our favorite television shows, we’d all have to agree that many of them really didn’t get a fair chance to prove themselves. Sure, some of them were pretty cheesy (we’re looking at you, Batman!) but honestly? The campiness was part of the appeal of them! We turn to our shows to escape from reality and be entertained, not to get a factual play-by-play of the DC-verse. While there have been attempts to revive some of these shows, all sincere efforts have unequivocally failed and the ship has since sailed on by for all of them. However, the good news is that we can still find snippets of them online, and you know what? We’ll always have those warm and fond memories of them. That said, if any of the major television execs wanted to bring them back, we certainly wouldn’t tell them no!