Premiered: May 16, 1997, on HBO
Premise: The comic-book hero comes to TV in a stylish, ultraviolent animated series. Todd McFarlane's creation set sales records when it was introduced in 1992, and it soon spawned a video game and a line of toys. But the cartoonist's HBO series is not for kids. It's gory and nihilistic; its dialogue is laced with obscenities; and its sexual situations can get kinky. It begins with Spawn, a government hit man, getting killed, and then, thanks to an unwitting bargain with the Devil, returning to life.