Since 2001, we have been graced with amazing superhero shows such as Smallville, Birds of Prey, Human Target, Arrow, Constantine, Gotham, The Flash, iZombie, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Lucifer.
With all these great shows, we have to ask, why are they popular? What brings them to life and allows us to enjoy them?
Some may say that it's because CGI has become cheaper and we can use it more often in TV, but the writing style is truly where it's at. Smallville showed us that superheroes can be properly portrayed with the right actor and the proper writing. A good example of this would be Gotham, where there are powers, but portrayed in a more realistic tone than, say, The Flash or Supergirl.
While I can agree that CGI has heavily impacted the writers ability to be creative, without them, CGI could be improperly used. Ultimately, this would result in a bad show all together.
Moving forward, we have had these shows to enjoy over the last 15 years.
As superhero shows have evolved, so have the viewers. While to some, out-of-this-world superpowers are not appealing, the gritty appeal of a dying city may be enough to bring the viewers around.
Superheroes are successful in mainstream media because they push the boundaries of our thinking. They force us to ask realistic questions that could be solved in today's day and age. Can we make better weaponry to defend ourselves? Is the threat really our fellow human beings or the unknown space above? What new technologies could come from these shows?