News Column

TV; TV's a super test for non-superheroes [Press of Atlantic City (NJ)]

September 15, 2013


It's not, strictly speaking, a superhero series, but "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - about a superspy agency dealing with superheroes - is, nonetheless, one of the most anticipated comic-book adaptations to hit television. Will the ABC adventure-drama, premiering Sept. 24, show the staying (super)power of other TV shows that sprang from the medium?

218 episodes: "Smallville" (The WB/CW, 2001-11)

Adhering to the mantra "no tights, no flights," the producers adapting DC Comics' Superman as Superboy-in-all-but-name (Tom Welling) found success through the hero's one weakness besides Kryptonite: teen angst.

120 Episodes: "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68)

Played with tongue-in-cheek campiness, the series starring Adam West and Burt Ward helped launch a brief vogue for sitcom superheroes ("Captain Nice," "Mr. Terrific").

104 episodes: "Adventures

of Superman" (Syndicated; produced 1951-57)

Just as he pioneered the superhero archetype in comic books, so, too, did the Man of Steel pioneer superheroes on TV. For many, George Reeves remains the epitome of "that strange visitor from another planet."

87 Episodes: "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (ABC, 1993-97)

Dean Cain's Superman/Clark Kent married Teri Hatcher's Lois Lane in season four, although he didn't make her a desperate housewife.

80 Episodes: "The Incredible Hulk" (CBS, 1978-82)

"Hulk" smashed ratings - and won guest Mariette Hartley an Emmy Award - in the popular show starring Bill Bixby as Dr. Bruce Banner and Lou Ferrigno as Marvel's not-so-jolly green giant. (Also spawned five TV movies.)

59 Episodes: "Wonder Woman" (ABC/CBS 1976-79)

As the Amazonian princess, Lynda Carter became a pinup girl for a generation of teen boys.

23 Episodes (more beginning

in October): "Arrow" (The CW, 2012- )

Based on Green Arrow, hyper-accurate archer Oliver Queen shows that Batman and Iron Man aren't the only billionaire-playboy non-superpowered superheroes.

22 Episodes: "The Flash" (CBS, 1990-91)

The single-season series featured DC Comics' super-speedster, played by John Wesley Shipp.

13 Episodes (counting

two-hour finale as two):

"The Amazing Spider-Man" (CBS 1978-79)

Nicholas Hammond - the high-school quarterback in "The Brady Bunch" episode where Marcia gets hit in the nose - starred as the Marvel Comics webslinger in a series followed by several specials.

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