Long before comic book movies were considered mainstream entertainment, television was instrumental in popularizing these now-iconic characters, turning them into household names that are beloved all around the world. In particular, shows based on DC Comics characters were early favorites, and the company’s heroes have continued to dominate the small screen for decades. Let’s take a look back at some of the best DC TV series to date. For the record, we’re restricting this list to one show per character/property. So don’t expect more than one entry for either Batman or Superman, as both heroes already have their own lists.
Adventures of Superman (1952-1958)
Today’s younger Superman fans may have missed out on this black-and-white adventure series, but its impact on the Man of Steel’s popularity cannot be underestimated. Starring George Reeves as the title character, Adventures of Superman was the first of many shows to center on his crime-fighting efforts as well as his secret identity of mild-mannered Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent. By today’s standards, its production values and on-the-nose storytelling may seem dated. However, many of the character’s signature elements — including his close relationship with Lois Lane and idioms like “faster than a speeding bullet” — are featured here. Perhaps Adventures of Superman would be surpassed by richer explorations of the character’s mythology, but the show’s light, family-friendly tone helped endear an entire generation of viewers to the last son of Krypton’s pure heart and idealistic moral compass.