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Fandom Friday: The 5 worst superheroes on TV

Whether you like it or not, we’re living in the Age of the Superhero. It all started with the first Iron Man flick in 2008. Hollywood discovered a vast wealth of story material in the realm of comic-book superheroes. Pair up superhero lore with smart scripts, the right casting, and inventive CGI, and you’ve pretty much built your studio its own money machine. A pining for escapism in a rapidly deteriorating world and humanity’s general appreciation for the good vs. evil trope has ensured that the Age of the Superhero won’t be over anytime soon.

That success has trickled down into television. CGI technology and a willingness to take portraying costumed heroes seriously has enabled previously low-profile characters like The Flash and Green Arrow to take center stage in the watchers’ imaginations.

However, putting superheroes on TV is not exactly new. Our tights-wearing saviors have graced the small screen quite a few times in the past. Unfortunately, this was not always handled as successfully as it has been recently. The following are five television superhero series that had you rooting for the bad guy.

WW Cathy Lee Crosby

1) Wonder Woman (1974)

A 1970s stalwart, Cathy Lee Crosby portrayed Amazonian princess Diana in an early-’70s TV movie that was supposed to have been the pilot for a series. You can actually watch some of it on YouTube, if the paint you were watching has finally dried. The show is somewhat faithful to WW’s general backstory: She’s still from a fabled island of tough gals, and Steve Trevor is still in the mix as her love interest. However, the costume is a little wonky. They eschew the tiara, corset, and star-spangled swimsuit bottom for something that looks like what the U.S. team could have worn to the opening ceremonies of the 1968 Winter Olympics. Crosby gives it her all, but it’s all a bit … boring. Plus, the main villain was named Abner. No. Luckily, Lynda Carter came along.

Heroes cast

2) Heroes (2006)

Before you tear my head off, give me a second. The first season of Heroes, as I’m sure we can all agree, was pretty damn good. Season 1 functioned as the origin story of a bunch of disparate superpowered types, and it worked. We even got a great villain (Zachary Quinto’s Sylar), and the season 1 finale’s ending battle gave us the superpowered showdown for which we had all been jonesing.

The following seasons? Good night, nurse. There was very little actual heroism, way too many characters running around, and insipid (yes, even for a superhero story) plotlines. Heroes had a solid foundation, but the building itself was made of Popsicle sticks. Didn’t it end with a circus or some nonsense? It ended up not being a very good portrayal of superheroes. By the way, Heroes is coming back for another go-around as a miniseries. Yay?

Birds of Prey Huntress

3) Birds of Prey (2002)

Their heart was in the right place. In the D.C. Comics universe, the Birds are a small group of female supes led by the wheelchair-bound techspert Oracle (Dina Meyer). Oracle was Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl who was been crippled after being shot by the Joker. Black Canary (Rachel Skarsten) and the Huntress (Ashley Scott) were her soldier minions in fighting evil. Sounds okay, so far; all three of those butt-kicking ladies were present. But then things went off the boil. Black Canary was suddenly a timid psychic teen. The Huntress looked nothing like the comic version and had cat abilities. Is that really Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend as Harley Quinn? Oh dear.

Spidey Nicholas Hammond

4) The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)

You could chalk up Spidey’s first appearance on TV (barring short sketches on The Electric Company) being tranquilizing due to the complete absence of any special effects and miscasting. Remember when Spider-Man went to Hong Kong? Yeah, he did. You would think Spider-Man traveling to Hong King to fight bad guys would be visually arresting and action-packed. Nope. It was A LOT of our hero climbing walls really slowly, and wondering what the fake-looking webs were made of that were somehow entangling villains.

Plus, there was nary any of the acrobatics for which the webslinger is known. Actor Nicholas Hammond absolutely looked the part of Peter Parker, but he was so earnest. And bland. Peter Parker is quippy and down on his luck. Sometimes being handsome can inhibit the hero.

Hulk Thor Daredevil

5) Thor and Daredevil of The Incredible Hulk TV movies (1988–1989)

The costumes alone! Prior to Marvel’s emergence as a motion-picture money farm, the company dabbled in TV. One of its more successful properties was The Incredible Hulk television series. The main reason for this success was the nuanced, sensitive portrayal by Bill Bixby of the mild-mannered geneticist who turns into a rage monster against his will. You cared about the dude, and hoped he could find a cure.

Fast-forward to the late ’80s, when Marvel was basically bankrupt and needed some cash. Hence the decision to revive the previously grounded in reality Hulk series and add more superheroes. Like I said, the original series was basically about a dude dealing with a medical condition. It went awry when the two TV movies introduced a Norse god with a magical hammer, and a blind lawyer with radar vision and ninja training. Things quickly become cheesy. You might note that those versions of Thor and Daredevil didn’t receive the TV series for which Marvel had hoped. That was for a good reason.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know YOUR picks for worst television superheroes!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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