Worst to First: Ranking the DC Superhero TV Shows
We’re one week away from the release of Justice League. As a fan of DC Comics, I am approaching this movie with a mixture of curiosity and dread. Let’s face it, Justice League is probably going to be awful. Only this summer’s Wonder Woman gives us any reason to hope otherwise. But even if the movies fail us, at least we can turn to the small screen for some superhero adventures. As I brace myself for almost certain disappointment, I have ranked all of the DC superhero TV shows from Worst to First.
Before we get started, I want to review the criteria I used for inclusion. First, we are dealing with live-action only. No cartoons. Second, the show has to have been picked up to series. So no Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman. Third, this is superhero shows only. That eliminated things like Hard Target and iZombie. I also threw out supernatural shows which arguably straddled the line a bit like Constantine and Lucifer.
14. Birds of Prey
Ran from: October 9, 2002 – February 19, 2003
Channel: the WB
Heroes: Huntress, Oracle and Black Canary
Villains: Harley Quinn
Notable Guest Stars: Batman, Catwoman and the Joker are partially visible during flashbacks. Lori Loughlin appeared as the version of Black Canary familiar to fans of the comic book. Versions of Batman villains Clayface and Lady Shiva also appeared
What’s Good: Birds of Prey was one of my favorite comic books. These characters had a lot of potential and it was great to see a team of female heroes get the spotlight. Dina Meyer was perfectly cast as Barbara Gordon.
What’s Bad: The show didn’t seem to know what to do with a series set in Gotham City that wasn’t about Batman. The solution they came up with was needlessly complicated. They set Birds of Prey in a future Gotham City that has been abandoned by Batman. The Joker and Catwoman are also MIA. The latter is important because the show’s lead character, the Huntess, has been reimagined as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. This gives her Cat-like powers because in this non-canonical universe her mother had super-powers.
The changes don’t stop there. The comic books were all about the bond between Oracle and Black Canary. On the show, Black Canary has been demoted to a supporting role. She was also portrayed as a runaway teenager for some reason. Eventually, the adult Black Canary appeared as a guest star.
I don’t want to give the impression that I am objecting to Birds of Prey as a comic book purist. I am merely commenting that the show’s writers tied themselves in knots to fix a non-existent problem. The show could have easily been about the team of lead characters with Batman being referenced but rarely seen. The guy spends a lot of time in shadows, so shooting around him would have been ridiculously easy. Instead, the series was set up around the crazy concept of a future Gotham City in which Batman and Catwoman’s daughter is a super powered crime fighter.
As nutty as that premise is, you could build a decent show around it. Execution is what’s important. Unfortunately, Birds of Prey was just a run-of-the-mill action-adventure show in Batman drag.
Verdict: Cheesy and rarely in a fun way, Birds of Prey wastes terrific characters.
Posted on November 10, 2017, in Super Heroes, TV, Worst to First and tagged Adventures of Superman, Batman, gotham, shazam, smallville, supergirl, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.