There’s no doubt about it – we live in a golden era for superhero acceptance. We’ve had dozens of movies come out. Some better. Some worse. We’ve also had maybe a dozen TV shows based on comic books come out in the last few years.

So if you’re a fan, this is a good time to be alive!  Or at least glued to your couch.

But despite this acceptance, there really are only a handful of exceptional superhero TV shows.  Since this is the part where I list my 5 favorite comic book shows, let’s just begin:

1. Batman: The Animated Series – a classic no matter how you define that word.  It still sets the standard for the genre.

2. Teen Titans – sure the anime influence annoyed people, but I found it refreshing. The stories were both clever and fun. And the animation was just the right style for the zany action.

3. Avatar the Last Airbender – ok, this might be a bit of a stretch to include as a “superhero”. But this is a fantastic show, with sharp writing, and good action.

4. Justice League Unlimited – when this show was simply “Justice League” it was awful. When it became “unlimited” it was one of the best shows on TV.

5. Spectacular Spider-Man – admittedly the jury is still out on this one, but with one season under its belt, it has signs of great potential. Even as it stands today, it’s the first Spider-Man cartoon ever created.

Honorable Mention: Samurai Jack – if Jack were based on a comic book character he might be able to steal the #1 spot from Batman: TAS.  But he’s not.  So he doesn’t quite qualify for this list.  That said, it’s such a brilliant cartoon that it deserves to be mentioned.   

Now I know some of you are complaining that all of these cartoons are “recent.” And I admit that’s true. But I would argue that the quality of cartoons continues to improve each decade. While I really enjoyed the 90’s version of Spider-Man, it has not aged well. You can clearly see serious flaws in both the plot and the animation. And if you go further back to cartoons from the 1970’s or 1960’s, you see even larger holes in the plot or animation.

Let’s face it, sometimes the “classic” shows just aren’t as good as the new stuff.