Be it the limitless sequels to Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 2, The Avengers or the Superman reboot, superhero movies have seemingly become a permanent fixture on the big screen. However, while it may be cause to rejoice for many, it is maddeningly absurd that properties such as Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy will be released prior to Flash and Wonder-Woman. However, it is inevitable that such notable icons will eventually be exploited and, if Ant-Man is any indication, so will peripheral characters. However, while comic books are a gold mine for ideas, film producers should also keep in mind the realm of superhero animation. In order to prove that television shows often portray characters that are worthy of a larger screen, here are five TV characters that deserve a spot in silver screen Hollywood.
1. Batman Beyond (a.k.a. Batman of the Future)
The Dark Knight Rises marks the end of the trilogy that defined the Batman of our generation but there is still that Batman “beyond” our generation. Terry McGinnis, an ordinary teenager with a small crime record, was lead to Bruce Wayne by the desire to unravel the truth behind his father’s death. However, with the Dark Knight having abandoned the cowl, the responsibility to find the culprit and defend Gotham fell upon the teenager’s shoulders. Just as he had guided Nightwing and Robin, Bruce Wayne guides McGinnis in ultimately replacing himself. While the new Batman is not as compelling as the old one, the series comes to life with constant references to previous Batman villains and Kevin Conroy’s vocal perfection as Bruce Wayne.
2. Static Shock
A young man who lost his mother to gang violence and was mutated into an electric superhero following a chemical explosion, Virgil Hawkins uses his powers to stop a new breed of gang violence when all the city’s thugs become more and more powerful. Dealing with everything from missed homework to crime on his streets, Virgil Hawkins is proof that a completely serious story can be delivered through a superhero that has no shortage of puns and quips. Sorry, Miles Morales, T’Challa and John Stewart; Static Shock is the premier Black superhero and one of the best superheroes of all time, period.
3. The Zeta Project
With the plot revolving around a former killer robot on the run from the government, The Zeta Project was the most overtly political show of the DC Animated Universe. Starring the innocently charming Zeta and the endlessly witty Ro, the show dealt with themes far beyond anything children could understand. Freedom, will, persecution; the show was essentially a science-fiction version of the Bourne series. Also worthy of note is the fact that, unlike traditional science fiction fare such as Blade Runner, this show does not depict humanity as doomed to live in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Instead, it is a beautiful tale that attempts to answer once and for all whether humanity survives solely on logic or whether there is a deeper, more intangible basis for morality.
4. Captain Planet and the Planeteers
An educational show that actually made learning fun, Captain Planet is not the kid-friendly cartoon that many remember it to be. Think of the green-haired hero and one immediately remembers recycling instructions. However, look back and you will see everything the human world was and, in many cases, still is plagued by. Fatal diseases, corporate greed, international conflict, racial hate, overpopulation; Captain Planet deals with it all. And perhaps the best and most important thing that the show teaches us is that no superhero can save you from any of the troubles in the world; the only one who can make that change is you. As the Cap always said: the power is yours.
5. The Powerpuff Girls
Yes, they already have a theatrical release but it was little more than an extended TV-special; live-action, however, is a different story. Perhaps the best parody of the superhero genre (eat it, Kick-A**), The Powerpuff Girls is proof that shows targeted at children do not have to be boring for adults. With the simple desire to create the perfect daughter, the poor professor combined sugar, spice and everything nice. The recipe was working well until he added Chemical X, resulting in three super-powered toddlers with varying personalities and a fighting spirit unlike anyone else in preschool. With an inherently cute design and sharp writing, The Powerpuff Girls became a certified phenomenon, rivaling everything from Dexter’s Laboratory, to Spongebob Squarepants. If done correctly, this is a movie that can appeal to both youngsters and the not-so-youngsters looking to relive those glorious days of bashing Mojo Jojo.
So there you have it; the five superhero shows that deserve a movie before the cringe-inducing Ant-Man. Of course, there are dozens of other superhero television shows so which ones do you want to see? Let your voice be heard in the comments section.