Reece explains why more superheroes can be a good thing…
We’re probably at peak superhero in our media landscape at the moment. In the world of film there is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with DC building their own. On TV, recent efforts like Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and the Marvel Netflix series’ have shown that shows that would have been laughed at less than ten years ago are now primetime ratings smashes as well as critical darlings.
Even Supergirl, a DC Comics character who has a history of tortured adaptation to the screen, is now predicted to be renewed for a new season, such is it’s immediate appeal to people who don’t fit the role of the traditional comic book reader.
Now I’ve heard many complaints about this. About oversaturation or that it’s boring for TV watchers who prefer things that aren’t superhero dramas. Both are slightly bunk arguments, given that the existence of these shows aren’t stopping great shows like True Detective, House of Cards, The Blacklist, Narcos or Breaking Bad existing. Network TV and new streaming services like Netflix or Amazon are allowing for even greater diversity in shows that aren’t genre based.
Plus, even the superhero genre itself is diversifying. For every complex, mythology heavy show like Agents of SHIELD we have crime procedurals like Gotham or Powers. Constantine or the upcoming Preacher are more horror and adult themed shows that tackle complex issues with the supernatural at their core. Agent Carter is a period spy drama. The upcoming Sex Criminals is a relationship drama. My point is, that whilst people may not want to watch weekly instalments of Supergirl there is enough out there for people to get something unique and catered to them.
There certainly can’t be more superhero shows around than CSI spinoffs at least!
There’s also one more very important reason for superhero shows to exist. They’re changing the face of TV and making it more diverse. As Techtimes points out, until Supergirl came on the air recently, TV networks were worried about creating shows that were female lead and showed women who were capable of kicking ass and being vulnerable (the industry seems to have forgotten about Buffy the Vampire Slayer -even if the creator of The Wire says it was the best show ever). The Flash and Arrow feature prominent LGBT characters and treats it as normal as it is in real life. With both of those shows being family dramas that are ratings smashes, it’s likely that networks will be willing to take more risks in this regards.
We live in the golden age of TV and it seems superheroes are an important part of that now. So instead of moaning about things and being negative, let’s be reflective. To paraphrase a character from a recent superhero show; If you perceive this new addition as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?
Image courtesy of CBS