DC Comics has been killing it in the world of television lately, releasing one hit TV series after the other. Before we have time to finish binge-watching one, the next one has already been released.
Comic book fans have always existed in mass. However, the adaptation onto our TV screens (or laptops or tablets or whatever possible surface you can use) has made the DC Extended Universe practically mainstream. How did we get to this beautiful place in time?
It all started with the first ever non-animated TV series, Adventures of Superman which lasted for six seasons (104 episodes) from 1952 to 1958. This series debuted in black and white, making Clark Kent even more relatable than his animated version.
Are you saying you don't relate to an extraterrestrial with superhuman strength and a weakness for Kryptonite? What about his ability to fly? No? Pfff, mortals.
The TV series Wonder Woman aired for a total of 3 seasons (60 episodes) from 1975 to 1979. This show paved the way for empowering female leads in television. This was a time when female feminists were finally enjoying the small perks of over a century's worth of hard work and political activism.
Unfortunately, it took quite a few decades before we were presented with another DC female lead. Better late than never? It may have taken some all too precious time, but we may just have Wonder Woman to thank.
Times have undoubtedly changed, so surely Supergirl would have come into existence at some point, but if Barry Allen travelled back in time and erased Wonder Woman's TV show, can we guarantee we'd still have Supergirl today?
Regardless of whether Supergirl would currently exist, Wonder Woman was a major influence as it was the first DC action drama that was — kind of — taken more seriously by an older audience.
Before we grew to love Grant Gustin's version of The Flash, there was the CBS original which first aired in 1990 for 22 episodes. Take a wild guess as to who played the protagonist in this series? That's right! It was none other than our precious John Wesley Shipp.
Sound familiar? You may currently know him in The CW as Henry Allen or even Jay Garrick from Earth 2. Obviously, the original TV series had an effect on the (current) fastest man alive, as was proven in the finale of Season 2 when Shipp revealed his identity.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman lasted four seasons (88 episodes) from 1993 to 1997. ABC's Lois & Clark brought DC superhero TV shows on an equal footing with other rivaling '90s series (Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and in its final season Buffy The Vampire Slayer).
Lois & Clark reached a very wide audience ranging from children to adults. Everyone was a fan of the show, enthusiastically reuniting children and their parents in front of the television screen. Adults could finally indulge in their guilty superhero pleasures without shame! (Not that there should even be any in the first place.)
Superman eventually reached a different audience: the millenials who had grown up watching Lois & Clark with their parents. Smallville lasted an entire decade from 2001 to 2011 totaling 218 episodes. Throughout this time, Tom Welling catered to teenagers and young adults who needed their standard Superman fix.
Smallville was crucial as it bridged the gap needed to satisfy our generation. Of course, people of all ages have grown to love the show, however it peaked in popularity with those who grew up in the '80s or '90s. If it weren't for Smallville, the nature of superhero TV shows could be very different today. In more ways than one, this Clark Kent paved the way for Arrow.
Arrow was a raging success from the moment it aired in 2012. The CW series has released 4 seasons, with fans impatiently awaiting the fifth. Thanks to its growing fanbase, other TV series have been able to confidently follow suit, such as Gotham in 2014, which is currently awaiting Season 3.
Arrow has also inspired the spin-off The Flash (2014), as well as other shows that partake in the Flarrowverse. These include Supergirl (2015) and Legends of Tomorrow (2016), which have both been renewed for a second season. What's the best part about all these shows emerging at once? DCEU Crossovers.