Category Archives: TV

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 4

Welcome back to the countdown of the best portrayals of comic book villains. Ready to crack the top 10? Before we get to today’s entries, lets take a quick look at who we’ve covered so far.

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)
23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff (Blade)
22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)
21. Doctor Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)
18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)
16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)
15. Hela – Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok)
14. Captain Cold – Wentworth Miller (The Flash)
13. The Joker – Jack Nicholson (Batman)
12. Helmut Zemo – Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)
11. Magneto – Ian McKellen (X-Men)

On to today’s installment…

10. Cottonmouth – Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage)

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Oozing with charisma, and far more nuanced than the typical MCU villain, Mahershala Ali’s take on Cornell Stokes (a.k.a. Cottonmouth) was superb. While I do love Mike Colter’s take on Luke Cage, I actually found Cottonmouth to be far more interesting than the titular hero. So compelling and engaging was his character, that his death halfway through the first season, throws the entire show out of whack leading to a disappointing back half. Showing him being forced into the life of organized crime despite his wishes to avoid it, yet fully embracing it once he’s in, he did a fantastic job making Cottonmouth come across as both vicious and slightly sympathetic.

9. Bane – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises)

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I know some dislike the voice Tom Hardy chose to use for Bane, but I personally thought it gave the character a memorability and helped in making his incredible dialogue standout even more. And make no mistake, his dialogue is just that: incredible. He easily has some of the best material in the entire series. Including the “darkness” monologue, which sums up a villains backstory better in just a few sentences than some get with entire scenes dedicated to it. Being the first of three villains from The Dark Knight trilogy being in the top 10, it speaks to just how amazingly well Christopher Nolan did in creating great villains.

8. Ra’s al Ghul – Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)

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Number 2 in The Dark Knight trilogy big bads. The shock of learning that Liam Neeson’s character, originally claiming to be Henri Ducard (the man that helped train Bruce Wayne in the comics), was in fact the real Ra’s al Ghul, was a truly wonderful plot twist. While Bane may have had better dialogue, and the Joker got more focus, I really believe that there was more charisma in the interactions between Christian Bale’s Batman and Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul than any other villain in the franchise. With the connections to him in the events of The Dark Knight Rises, he in many ways was actually the primary villain of the trilogy.

7. Erik Killmonger – Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)

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Easily one of the most complex villains in a comic book property. While his actions and his ultimate goal are evil, due to the life he was forced to live due to the horrible mistakes of his father and uncle, it’s understandable why ended up with such a distorted worldview. That’s something that is rarely seen in comic book movies or television series: a full understanding of why the villain believes what he does. Typically the villain’s reasons for evil-doing and their motivations are simple, shallow, and one-dimensional. None of those could be used to describe anything about Killmonger. His death scene is one of the most truly heartbreaking moments in the MCU.

6. Negan – Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)

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Over-the-top and in love with the sound of his own voice, yet charismatic and entirely engaging, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance as Negan is a spot-on portrayal of its comic book counterpart. Even though the quality of the series as a whole has been in a bit of a downward spiral the last few seasons, it is in no way due to the show’s villain during that time. Negan has been one of the few bright spots and compelling things going on for a while. I can remember thinking that his casting seemed a bit out of left field as he hadn’t even been rumored to have been a choice, and was only cautiously optimistic about his potential…but man, was I wrong. Now, I can’t imagine anyone but him playing the part. It’s almost like he was made to play it.

Sadly, I have not been able to pump this list out as fast as I had hoped, but I’m still aiming to get it done tomorrow. Hope to see you then, when I finish off the countdown with the Top 5!

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Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 3

A recap of the list so far:

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)
23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff (Blade)
22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)
21. Doctor Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)
18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)
16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)

And now, onward and upward!

15. Hela – Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok)

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It’s a tough task trying to be a menacing villain in a comedy-heavy film like Thor: Ragnarok, but Cate Blanchett pulls it off wonderfully. Hela is powerful and incredibly deadly, while still managing to throw in a couple dabs of humor as well without making her seem like any less of a threat. It’s a testament to her ability as an actress to strike that perfect balance. My only disappointment with Hela, and it’s nothing to do with anything Cate Blanchett did, is that Hela was not used as the stand-in for Death in The Avengers: Infinity War.

14. Captain Cold – Wentworth Miller (The Flash)

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While Wentworth Miller’s take on The Flash’s nemesis, Leonard Snart, might rank at #14 on this list of best portrayals, it might be among my absolute favorites personally. As I’m not a huge fan of the character in the comics, I never expected to love it so much in a live-action setting…but man do I. Incredibly charismatic, with a line delivery that borders almost on the absurd, but regardless draws you in, Captain Cold is highlight of The Flash, and the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, as he attempts to gain some redemption for his past transgressions, but still manages to keep his twisted sense of morality.

13. The Joker – Jack Nicholson (Batman)

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The first truly homicidal psychopath Joker to grace the screen. Even though Jack Nicholson did a great job bringing the Clown Prince of Crime to life, much like Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus, I was not a fan of linking the villain to the hero in a personal fashion unnecessarily. In the comics, the Joker is not the man that murdered Batman’s parents (that distinction goes to petty criminal Joe Chill), and changing that fact served no purpose in the film other than being able to deliver the “You made me!/You made me first.” line. But even still, his actual performance hits the high notes of the zany, ultra violent insanity we’ve come to expect from the Joker.

12. Helmut Zemo – Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)

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He may not have been any sort of physical threat to Captain America, Helmut Zemo was one the most dangerous villains in the MCU. His methodical approach to exacting revenge on the Avengers for the deaths of his family in Sokovia by forcing them to turn on each other, was absolutely brilliant. I loved the subtlety in his performance. When you have a film with so many big hero personalities, trying to squeeze another big villain personality could have made the film feel over full. So choosing to tone Zemo back and have him operate mostly in the shadows was fantastically done. He’s also distinct among movie villains, in that he actually achieved his goal. While Cap and Iron Man didn’t kill each other, their bond was broken and most of the Avengers were left as fugitives. I only wish he would have donned some form of his mask from the comics at some point.

11. Magneto – Ian McKellen (X-Men)

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Magneto has long been among my favorite villains in the comics. He is the perfect example of how a person’s life experiences shape their world view, and Ian McKellen…and to a lesser extent Michael Fassbender…have done an amazing job bringing that to the big screen. McKellen’s portrayal is layered, powerful, and multi-faceted. His hatred and rage, even when more subdued and subtle, are always very tangible and delivered in a way that is believable and understable. He’s also rare in that while most villains end up dead in comic book movies, he has managed to survive through multiple films.

Come back tomorrow where we’ll crack the top 10 among the best live-action performances of comic book villains. See you then.

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 2

The countdown of the best live action portrayals of comic book villains rolls on. Just a recap of who has been covered so far.

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)

23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff (Blade)

22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)

21. Doctor Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)

Now on to the next 5:

20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

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Back-to-back Spider-Man foes. Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton managed to make a villain whose only real threat was flying really high into a truly menacing adversary to everyone’s favorite Wall Crawler. Seriously. That scene in the car when he’s taking his daughter and Peter to the dance is one of the most intense scenes in the entire MCU. He did a fantastic job of explaining his very realistic motivations to the point of you almost side with him a little, while also reinforcing the fact that he is most definitely a villain with willingness to kill anyone, including a 15 year-old kid, that interferes with his business.

19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)

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Easily the best villain in the Arrowverse so far. Deathstroke also benefited from having one of the most fleshed out backstories as well, since he was a large part of Oliver Queen’s own backstory, with it finally leading to the moment that turned Slade Wilson against him. Responsible for the removal of Oliver Queen as the CEO of Queen Industries, the murder of his mother, Moira, and leading an army into Star City, Deathstroke has by far been the most destructive foe for the Green Arrow.

18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)

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The first big bad in the cinematic side of Spider-Man is also its best. While yes, the costume left a lot to be desired, Willem Dafoe is wonderful in his portrayal of Peter Parker’s nemesis. Norman Osborn’s ego and ambition are on full display, as is the distance in the relationship with his son, Harry, due to Norman’s high, somewhat unrealistic, expectations. But what really sells Dafoe as the Green Goblin is his insanity. As a huge fan of the character in the comics, the first time I saw the scene of him talking to himself in the mirror, I literally got goosebumps. It’s that perfect.

17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)

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While the television version of the character isn’t quite as despicable as its comic counterpart, it’s still quite villainous. He may not have cut off Rick’s hand nor beaten and raped Michonne like he does in the comics, but he’s still responsible whether directly or indirectly for the deaths of Hershel, Andrea, Merle, Axel, Milton, and Martinez, as well as the sexual assault of Maggie, the beating of Glenn, and the destruction of the prison that Rick’s group had made a sanctuary. Also unlike the comic book, David Morrissey’s Governor actually got a fan-satisfying death.

16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)

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The original femme fatale of comic books played by the beautiful Julie Newmar, was sheer perfection for the campy 1960’s era Batman. She may not have been the acrobatic ass kicker we’ve come to expect from Catwoman, but her portrayal was spot-on for that time period. Conniving yet playful, dangerous yet sexy, you couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Sadly, Eartha Kitt’s attempt to replace her in the 3rd season of the series fell short.

My goal is to get the rest of the countdown knocked out this week. Watched Ant-Man and the Wasp Sunday, and want to get to the review. So, hopefully I’ll see you guys tomorrow as we drop another 5 baddies.

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 1

What good is a hero without an equally menacing and compelling villain? Sure, the hero is the focus of the story, but he/she has to have something or someone to overcome. That’s what makes the hero’s journey so interesting and entertaining. Comics have long featured the best baddies that pop culture has to offer, so why would the movies and television series that are based on them be any different? So let’s countdown the best portrayals of villains in comic book properties (note: I’m only including live action portrayals…though there are some truly fantastic villain performances in cartoons…including the greatest villain portrayal ever: Mark Hamill’s Joker).

Here…we…go…

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

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While I’m not a fan of the show as a whole, for several reasons that I won’t get into here, I very much enjoy the portrayal of a young, power-hungry Oswald Cobblepot delivered by an underrated Robin Lord Taylor. Seeing the Penguin’s rise to power was one of the things that first interested me in the show. Sadly, it was not enough to overcome my other issues with the series.

24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)

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The original Joker. His take on the character may not be the scheming, homicidal lunatic that the Joker was originally created to be, Romero’s performance was a perfect characterization of the Clown Prince of Crime’s comic counterpart of that era. Luckily the comics eventually dropped the camp and returned Batman to his darker, grittier beginnings, and in doing so saw the Joker’s portrayals change in kind.

23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff  (Blade)

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It’s sad that the movie Blade is so often forgotten when it comes to discussion of comic book films, and with it, the fantastic performance of Stephen Dorff as the vampire Deacon Frost. Frost is violent, conniving, overly ambitious, and just as dangerous to other vampires that don’t share his vision of the future as he is to the humans he views as cattle. With his dark charisma, he very much plays the foil to Wesley Snipes’ dry and stoic titular half-human/half-vamp slayer, and ends up stealing the show in the process.

22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)

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Preacher hasn’t been quite the frame-for-frame re-telling of Garth Ennis’ seminal series that I had hoped for, and the characterization has been a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to capturing the essence of the comic’s counterpart. But one of the major hits has been the portrayal of the Saint of Killers. Cold, mostly emotionless, and virtually indestructible, he is the ultimate killing machine and is played to perfection by Graham McTavish. His origin story is easily one of the best parts of Season 1.

21. Dr. Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)

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There are plenty who would probably claim I’m blasphemous for rating Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2 so low, but I’ll explain why. There wasn’t anything necessarily wrong with his performance, but I was not a fan of the decision to portray him as sympathetic and giving him a personal connection to Peter Parker…a theme that was rampant throughout the Tobey Maguire lead Spider-Man series. Literally EVERY villain was connected to him in someway. It wasn’t necessary and felt very forced. Then with the sympathy angle on top of that, it felt like a slight to the man that, until the Green Goblin murdered Gwen Stacy, could have been argued was Spider-Man’s primary antagonist.

 

That’s all for this round. I’ll try to get this pumped out quickly. With Ant-Man & the Wasp releasing this week, I want to make sure I can get around to its review before it’s been out too long.

What Does The Walking Dead Do Now?

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With the bomb that was dropped on the world of The Walking Dead in the form of the announcement of Andrew Lincoln’s departure from the series at some point next season, it is truly the end of an era for the zombie apocalypse drama. Lincoln’s portrayal of Rick Grimes has been the driving force of the show from the pilot’s opening scene until now. It’s all been about Rick, his choices, and how they effect the others in his group and those that oppose them. So what does the one-time ratings giant do now that it’s losing its star? Who can step into that lead role?

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This is actually a situation that has been building for quite some time in the comics on which the show is based. Rick’s son Carl has been just as much a focal point as his father in story arcs over the last several years. The series’ creator, Robert Kirkman, has implied on more than one occasion that Rick is going to die in the relatively near future, and that Carl will take over as the lead character. It makes perfect sense. And it would have made perfect sense for the show as well…but unfortunately, Scott Gimple idiotically (and I’d say rather shadily) fired Chandler Riggs from the show last season. Carl is already dead. So the character that is literally a product of that world, who has been raised in it, lived a good portion of it without the safety of walls, had to fight to survive, and has killed both people and walkers alike to do so, is not an option. Which is a shame as even Negan commented last season after discovering that Carl had outwitted him in the bombing of Alexandria, that Carl was “made for this shit”. And he really was.

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But I digress. I could write an entire article on how stupid the decision to kill off Carl was….but I won’t, and that’s not what this article is about. Another strong choice would have been Maggie, played exceptionally by the lovely Lauren Cohan. Sadly, she is only signed up for 6 episodes this season, and has accepted a role on a new show on ABC, meaning Season 9 will almost assuredly be her last. This is even more notable in that with Carl gone, and now Rick and Maggie following shortly behind, that three major characters that are still alive in the comic are now going to be dead on the show.

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So with Carl and Maggie sadly out of the picture, who is really a prominent enough character and actor to take over? Daryl would have been a decent choice a few seasons ago, but his character has devolved down to a shell of his former badass self, speaking mostly in grunts, living in a constant state of anger, and continually making stupid decisions that cause horrible outcomes. Maybe Carol? While I know she has a large fan following, I’m personally not one, but even looking at her objectively, I just don’t see enough in her character to be a lead. Same with Michonne and Ezekiel. Love them both, but they’re just not big enough personalities to take over that role.

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The only character I really see with that kind of personality and is played by a large enough star to build the show around is Negan. But how crazy would that be? That the man that murdered fan favorites Glenn and Abraham, scarred Dwight’s face, ordered the attack that killed most of the people from the Kingdom and Hilltop, and bombed Alexandria could take over as the lead of the series. I would think that would have to be the biggest character turn in television history. To go from the primary antagonist for 2+ seasons, and being the baddest of the big bads in the series, to the lead protagonist. But in all honesty, I don’t know how they could go with anyone but him. If nothing else, should they choose to go that route, it would certainly make seeing his progression over Season 9 particularly interesting.

25 Greatest Comic Character Portrayals (First Revision)

It’s been a couple of years since I made the first edition of this list. With the plethora of new comic films that have been released since then, several of which have introduced us to new characters or at least new takes on established ones, I figured it was time to dust off the old list and give her a revision. As before, I looked at a combination of performances that stayed true to the comic counterpart and just plain old great acting to create a compelling character. Some of them lean more towards one side of the equation, but I feel like all of them touch on at least a little of both. Some portrayals have risen in the ranks, some have fallen, and several fell off all together. Also like before, with several of these characters having been played by multiple people, I list the actor and what movie(s)/television show the portrayal is in.

Portrayals that fell off from the previous list:
Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) – Road to Perdition, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) – The Amazing Spider-Man, Marv (Mickey Rourke) – Sin City, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) – X-Men, Superman (Christopher Reeves) – Superman, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) – The Dark Knight trilogy

25. The Flash (Grant Gustin) – The Flash

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24. Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) – Black Panther

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23. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) The Walking Dead

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22. X-23 (Dafne Keen) – Logan

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21. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) – The Walking Dead

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20. Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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19. Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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18. Kilgrave (David Tennant) – Jessica Jones

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17. V (Hugo Weaving) – V for Vendetta

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16. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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15. The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) – Watchmen

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14. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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13. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) – Watchmen

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12. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) – X-Men

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11. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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10. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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9. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) – Deadpool

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8. Thanos (Josh Brolin) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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7. Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) – Daredevil (TV series)

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6. Daredevil (Charlie Cox) – Daredevil (TV series)

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5. Batman (Christian Bale) – The Dark Knight trilogy

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4. Captain America (Chris Evans) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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3. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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2. J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) – Spider-Man

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1. The Joker (Heath Ledger) – The Dark Knight

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So what do you think? Who’s too low? Who’s too high? Who got left off that shouldn’t have been? Let me know in the comments.

20 Greatest Comic Book Television Series

* = indicates an animated series

20. Spider-Man*

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Kicking things off on the list is the Spider-Man animated series from the 90’s. Did a fantastic job weaving together both classic and modern elements of the Wall Crawler and his vast array of supporting characters. Was, along with Batman: The Animated Series, largely responsible for the resurgence of comic book properties in the mainstream and the corresponding boom in merchandise.

19. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

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After the flop that was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the Man of Steel laid virtually dormant as a media property outside of comics. This is the show that really brought him back to the public eye. Dean Cain played a serviceable, if not spectacular Superman, but his chemistry between he and the beautiful Teri Hatcher was the driving force of the series.

18. Sabrina the Teenage Witch

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Fun and easily accessible. A good portion of the fanbase for this teen supernatural comedy have no idea that it was actually a modernized take on an Archie Comics series. While Melissa Joan Hart was great in the titular role, the real star of the show was the animatronic cat, Salem.

17. Batman

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Yes, it’s campy. Yes, it strips away all of the darkness and edge from the Caped Crusader. Yes, it is just downright silly at times. And yes, it is ridiculously entertaining in its own right.

16. Legends of Tomorrow

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The first of 3 of CW’s series of inter-connected DC properties known as the “Arrowverse.” A ragtag team of former villains and fallen/disgraced heroes all in search of redemption as they travel through time battling threats to humanity. Not as consistent as Arrow, but at its best, I actually think it’s better.

15. Agent Carter

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Simultaneously a spin-off of both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Captain America film franchise, Agent Carter followed the life of Cap’s old love interest Peggy Carter and her struggles to prove herself as not only a capable agent, but actually the best agent in a male-dominated world. Really bridges the gap between the MCU movies and television series.

14. Arrow

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The show that launched CW’s “Arrowverse.” Much darker in tone than the other series in the shared universe, without being too dark. While Stephen Amell looks the part of Oliver Queen pretty well, and I appreciate his commitment to the parkour and training regimen for the role, his acting always seems to fall a bit flat, especially in comparison to some of his co-stars like Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak) and David Ramsey (Spartan). Known for strangely consistently using Batman villains instead of digging deep into Green Arrow’s rogues gallery.

13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles*

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Considered by many to be the definitive take on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s iconic crime fighting reptiles. Much more lighthearted and funny, and less faithful to and focused on the samurai culture than the original comic, but responsible for creating many of the personality traits and characteristics that have become widely-accepted parts of these beloved characters, including the turtles wearing different colored masks and making April O’Neil a reporter instead of a computer programmer and lab assistant.

12. Luke Cage

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While the series’ first season feels a bit uneven, with a fantastic, engaging first half followed by a slow, sometimes to the point of boring, second half, when it’s good, it’s very good. A huge part of that imbalance comes from the lack of Cottonmouth (played brilliantly by Mahershala Ali) in the back half, and the antagonist focus shifting to the poorly developed, far less interesting, Diamondback. Here’s hoping the second season can reach a little more consistency.

11. Preacher

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Loosely based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s seminal comic series of the same name, about a Texas preacher who becomes imbued with supernatural powers on his journey to literally find God. The first season serves almost as a prequel, with small pieces of the early issues woven in. While there are several great performances on the show, the true stand out is Joseph Gilgun as the hard-drinking Irish vampire, Cassidy.

10. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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The first television entrant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Started off a bit slow, but by the end of the first season, it really found its legs, thanks in large part to direct connections to the plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Focuses on a team of specialized agents on clandestine missions for the government lead by Phil Coulson (resurrected after the events of The Avengers), and features one of the most diverse ensembles on television.

9. X-Men*

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Piggybacking off of Jim Lee’s excellent, highly successful run on the X-Men comics, the animated series was largely faithful to the source material and served as the entry point into the X-Men universe for a lot of kids in the mid- to late-90’s. And how much sadder would the Internet be without the overdubbed parody clip “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”?

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8. The Tick*

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Off-beat, quirky, and incredibly funny, The Tick may have only lasted for a mere 36 episodes, but it quickly developed a large cult following. Detailing the exploits of the extremely strong, but equally as dim-witted superhero, The Tick, the show did a tremendous job lampooning superhero archetypes and cliches.

7. Tales From the Crypt

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HBO’s horror anthology series is famous for the amazing guest starring roles it seemed to pull in every episode and the iconic pun-spewing host, the Crypt-Keeper. Borrowing several stories directly from the 1950’s EC Comics series, and paying homage to the classic horror style in the stories that weren’t, one of the best series in the genre.

6. Jessica Jones

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Heavy and gritty, the Netflix series delves deep into the scarred psyche of the super-powered titular hero (Krysten Ritter) and the effects of the PTSD she suffers after being raped and forced to kill by the mind-controlling sociopath Kilgrave (played to surprisingly icky perfection by David Tenant). Might have been even higher if not for a somewhat disappointing second season.

5. The Flash

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Proof that you don’t have to be dark to make a great comic TV show. Centered around the Barry Allen version of the Scarlet Speedster, The Flash is compelling, smart, and just downright entertaining. Grant Gustin is wonderful in the lead role and is surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, with Wentworth Miller’s take on Captain Cold being a personal favorite. The only real issue with the series has been its over-reliance on speedsters as the primary villain, finally breaking that mold in the 4th season.

4. The Punisher

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Spinning off of Daredevil, Netflix’s The Punisher is as violent and brooding as you’ll find in a comic book based TV series. Jon Bernthal finally brings us the live action version of Frank Castle we’ve been waiting for. Even as violent as it is, the mayhem and blood never seem forced or over the top, but instead feel like a necessary part of the story of brutal justice for a man who had his family taken from him.

3. Batman: The Animated Series*

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Definitely the top animated series in the world of comics, and in the discussion for best cartoons period. Darker and more well-written than the average animated fare. For many people, myself included, this is THE definitive portrayal of both Batman and the Joker, played to perfection by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, respectively. Also responsible for creating the beloved Harley Quinn and the now-canonical tragic backstory for Mr. Freeze.

2. Daredevil

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Netflix’s dark, gritty take on Marvel’s Man Without Fear, is the greatest superhero show ever produced. Compelling storytelling and some of the best fight choreography you’ll ever see are highlighted by incredible performances from Charlie Cox as the titular hero and Vincent D’Onofrio as his nemesis Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin.

1. The Walking Dead

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Easily the greatest television adaptation of a comic book, and arguably one of the greatest series in general. While the show has definitely taken a step down in quality as of late, it is still a fantastic journey into the human condition. When all of society crumbles after a zombie outbreak, you get to see who people really are. Watching the character progressions of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) are especially captivating.