From NFL quarterbacks who did their own research to former stars of the hit ABC series Lost, all your real-life heroes are failing you. Instead of going through another disappointment, latch on to a hero that will always be a beacon of good: a TV superhero! Thanks to pop culture going all in on superhero culture, there are plenty of noble men and women in leotards with their own shows. But which ones are the best?
Below is a list of some of the best superhero shows on TV right now, all available for your viewing pleasure. In the worlds of these series, the good guys do super things, there's no problem a utility belt full of gadgets can't fix, and team-ups and crossovers are practically mandatory.
Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! And if you're looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on shows you love, we have those too, as well as recommendations for Netflix (movies/shows), Amazon Prime Video (movies/shows), Hulu (movies/shows), Disney+ (movies/shows), HBO Max, Apple TV+, and Peacock.
There's a good chance that there's only one superhero on this list that you can regularly see in his tighty-whiteys, and that would be Peacemaker (John Cena), the beefy buffoon who wants peace no matter how many men, women, and children he has to kill to get it. James Gunn's spin-off of The Suicide Squad follows Peacemaker and a team of black ops as they take on the mysterious villains known as the Butterflies, but plot is secondary to the fun, hair-metal party at the heart of the comedy, which is fully exemplified in the wacko opening credits that feature a choreographed dance routine to glam rock. Cena is incredible in the show, and Gunn fully realizes his goal of making something that's shamelessly entertaining, even if it's from a lot of potty humor and excessive violence. It's a cross between Deadpool and The Boys. -Tim Surette
After years of playing narrative foil to Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Tom Hiddleston's fan-favorite god of mischief finally gets his own moment in the spotlight, and free from that pesky conscience. Like WandaVision, this one has a fun gimmick in that it's a crime thriller that follows the alternate version of Loki who stole the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, an event that basically broke reality. And, as these things go, it's now his responsibility to fix what he started. He's recruited by Owen Wilson's Mobius M. Mobius at the mysterious Time Variance Authority (TVA) to travel through history and correct the timeline he messed up. The series is the closest thing to putting an actual comic book on screen, full of madcap twists and turns, and seemingly self-contained, without having to place so much emphasis on setting up for future MCU installments. -Allison Picurro
The cool thing about WandaVision is that it has a gimmick beyond the usual superhero-ing. Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are attempting to lead an extremely normal life in a New Jersey suburb -- they're playing house, they're dressing in period clothing, and they're finding increasingly zany ways to hide their superpowers from their neighbors. The show cycles through the decades, referencing everything from The Dick Van Dyke Show to Modern Family, but as it goes along it begins to become exceedingly clear that things are not as they seem within the confines of this TV world. WandaVision gives two beloved side characters their moment in the spotlight, contains an incredible Kathryn Hahn performance, and is an essential watch for anyone keeping up with the MCU: The events of the series directly set up for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. -Allison Picurro
The CW's grown-up superhero series got off to such a solid start that it was renewed for a second season after airing just one episode. Now that's a superpower. Superman & Lois follows the titular couple as they move back to Smallville with their teenage twin boys to give their family a chance to grow closer. The ambitious, impressively cinematic show offers plenty of action and thrills, but its heart is in the Kent family's domestic life, as the Man of Steel (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) juggle their duties as working parents. It looks like they'll be putting down roots on The CW for a while. -Kelly Connolly
Stargirl, which aired its first season on both DC Universe and The CW before moving exclusively to The CW for the upcoming Season 2, follows a high schooler (Brec Bassinger) who moves to a new town and discovers she may have inherited some of the hero Starman's powers. The cast (which includes Luke Wilson, Amy Smart, and drop-ins from Joel McHale and Henry Thomas) is lively, the visuals are bright, and the series has only gotten more exciting as it's gone on. Plus, after a cameo in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, Stargirl is officially part of the Arrowverse, so you'll need to watch in order to keep up.
The Green Arrow might not have been a household name like Superman or Batman, but thanks to The CW's recent take on the character, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) managed to launch an entire DC multiverse, thank you very much. Arrow tells the story of entitled billionaire playboy Oliver Queen and his return home after spending five years on a deserted island. Though he maintains the party-boy persona by day, by night he hunts down criminals in his city armed with a bow and arrow and a whole lot of martial arts skills.
We can't mention Arrow without bringing up The Flash. Arrow's first spin-off tells Barry Allen's (Grant Gustin) origin story as Central City's speedster hero, the Flash. When a bolt of lightning strikes Barry the same night the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explodes, Barry finds himself gifted with the power of super speed, which he uses to take down criminals in his city. If you're looking for a superhero show with a lighter tone and a lovable ensemble, this is your best bet!
If you're looking for a darker take on superheroes, Amazon's The Boys, Supernatural creator Eric Kripke's adaptation of the comics of the same name, is definitely up your alley. In this world, superheroes are celebrities, and like most celebrities, their fame and connections allow them to get away with murder — sometimes literally. When his girlfriend is accidentally killed by one of these so-called "heroes," Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) launches his own mission to take them down, whatever the cost. The series can get pretty gory and graphic, but you'll find yourself laughing hysterically through all the blood and guts.
Watchmen, like The Boys, is a darker take on the genre, and actually only has one character with superpowers. The rest of the "masked adventurers" are just normal people with histories of trauma that made them want to become someone else. A sort-of sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' classic comic, this limited series is set in an alternate present where the police wear masks to hide their identities from potential attackers and detectives have full-on superhero identities, like Tulsa's Angela Abar, also known as Sister Night (Regina King). Angela uncovers a white supremacist plot in the department that goes all the way to the top. Meanwhile, she's hiding a big blue secret of her own. Damon Lindelof's limited series leaves it all on the floor, with a relentless plot and an unflinching look at race in America. It's a superhero show for the HBO set. -Liam Mathews
It's not our place to tell you that Doom Patrol is the best superhero show on TV. Just kidding, it is exactly our place. We've seen ragtag teams of superheroes before, but this group is f---ed up in so many ways, which makes them coming together to save the world all the more amazing and heartwarming. It's delightfully weird but also hysterical, and at multiple points it's extremely heartbreaking. I mean, there's a gender non-conforming street — yes, a street — with a kickass drag club that takes in lost souls, and it is magical. Also, Alan Tudyk is terrifying as Mr. Nobody, the supervillain who terrorizes the Doom Patrol throughout the first season.
If you'd like a break from campy superheroes, we suggest Jessica Jones for your next binge. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) runs a private investigative firm in New York City, and it's a job that occasionally calls for her to use her super-strength. Jessica is still recovering from her traumatic kidnapping and mind-control by villain Kilgrave (David Tennant), which makes her unstable at best. The gritty reality of this series takes the edge off some of the more fantastical elements of the show, but the real magic is in the characters. By focusing on the specific emotional arcs of each character, Jessica Jones delivers a binge watch that you'll be unable to walk away from.
If you're looking for a Superman series you haven't seen a million times before, you should definitely check out Krypton. Rather than focusing on Clark Kent and his Superman journey, Krypton winds back the clock to focus in on Superman's grandfather before the destruction of the planet Krypton. There are plenty of Easter eggs for comic book fans to find, and by delving into the class struggles and power dynamics of the planet, the series gives fans a more detailed and interesting look at Krypton than we've ever gotten before.
If you've ever found yourself watching a superhero film and thinking, "Man, the people who have to clean up this mess of a city after Thor is done with it sure have it rough," you should check out Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Set in the Marvel universe, this series follows the government agency that often teams up with the Avengers and their daily missions that don't require "the big guns." It's a wacky, heartfelt series that seems to reinvent itself every season, and it's the perfect blend of high stakes and humor.
Also set in the CW Arrowverse, Supergirl follows Kryptonian refugee Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) as she follows in the footsteps of her cousin Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and dons the red cape to save National City. This series has all the typical staples of the superhero genre — bulletproof skin, billionaire villains, secret identities, etc. — but it also hones in on quite a few social justice issues too. Supergirl makes strong statements about feminism, xenophobia, and transgender rights, to name a few.
If you'd prefer a show that is the TV equivalent of a bizarre acid trip, Legion is the one for you! Set in the X-Men universe, Legion follows a mutant named David Haller (Dan Stevens), who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child but actually just has intense psychic abilities. When he eventually falls in with a mutant crowd who want to train him to hone and control his abilities rather than stifle them, his life changes forever. The visuals of this show are bonkers in the best way, and you're in for more than one WTF twist if you watch all three seasons of this series.
Speaking of zany superheroes... Legends of Tomorrow is the binge for you if you want to leave all the serious stuff at the door and just enjoy yourself for a few hours. The series follows a time-traveling team of superheroes called the Legends, whose main mission seems to be having as much fun as possible while saving the world and the timeline. Imagine what would happen if your favorite superheroes got dropped into 17th century France one day and then battled a giant stuffed animal the next, and you've basically got Legends of Tomorrow.
Somebody saaaaaaaaaaave me... from boredom with this excellent binge! If you're looking to start a show you'll be in for the long haul, Smallville is it. At 10 seasons, it's a mountain to climb, but you'll be a changed person when you make it to the top. What starts out as a bizarre little origin story (complete with villains of the week that scream early aughts) turned into one of the best Superman series out there. Even if you had to wait 217 episodes to actually get Superman.
Looking for something a little more family friendly? We've got you covered with this animated series that somehow combines all the best campy super-teen tropes with some excellent storytelling. Teen Titans tells the story of a team of, you guessed it, teenage superheroes. A cyborg, an alien, a former sidekick, a witch, and a shapeshifter all live in a giant T-shaped building, take down bad guys, and then go out for pizza. It's truly too pure for this world.
This Netflix series follows the seven superpowered individuals who were adopted by a billionaire who raised them to save the world. As adults, they're reunited when their father dies, putting in motion a series of events that will eventually bring on the apocalypse. One of the best things about The Umbrella Academy is that it points out some super problematic superhero tropes. What would happen if an eccentric billionaire raised superpowered children in an isolated training environment and weaponized their abilities? They'd all be super f---ed up, that's what!
We'll never not be bitter about Luke Cage's cancellation, but that doesn't mean you can't binge-watch the three seasons it did get on Netflix. First introduced in Jessica Jones, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is a Harlem bartender who finds himself gifted with super strength and unbreakable skin after an experiment gone wrong. The series tackles a lot of racial politics while also breaking down and doing away with a lot of problematic black superhero tropes usually seen in this genre. With a star-studded cast and some brilliant performances, Luke Cage is the superhero series you should watch if you're looking for something with some real substance.
Harley Quinn may be animated, but it's definitely not kid-friendly, so be warned in advance. The series follows a newly single Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco), who's determined to become the new criminal queen-pin of Gotham. She's got a foul mouth and a couple of the best supervillain friends a girl could ask for, so if you loved Birds of Prey, you should definitely check this out to get another Harley fix. Superheroes are great, but supervillains can be so much juicier sometimes!
Come on, you know we had to put this throwback on here! Turn back the clock to the good old days of Lois & Clark, complete with bad visual effects, cheesy dialogue, and tons of shirt-tearing. This '90s hit is probably the most romantic take on the Superman story, but that might just be because Lois (Teri Hatcher) was literally in a love triangle with Superman (Dean Cain) and his secret identity. Plus, it's got probably the best version of Lex Luthor we've ever seen outside of Smallville.