Have Marvel and DC overdone it with superhero shows on television? Small Screen takes a look at whether superhero fatigue is actually that bad a thing.
The Age of Superheroes is now if ever there was one. The Marvel Cinematic Universe and DCEU are flourishing on the big screen, superhero comic books are still selling well, and Marvel and DC have both also made their mark on television. It’s becoming more and more difficult to deny that superhero fatigue is real, and while such a thing is inevitable when the superhero genre is so popular right now and everybody is working on a superhero-related thing, it’s still an issue that’s worth confronting. Superhero fatigue in cinema has been debated countless times in recent years but it hasn’t been talked about so much in regards to television. Are there too many superhero shows on television right now, or is superhero fatigue a necessary evil?
Here at Small Screen, we’d argue that superhero fatigue is a necessary evil, and that there aren’t too many superhero shows on television right now. While the amount of superhero content at the moment may seem overbearing, it’s easy to forget that the reason that there is so much of it right now, is because this would never have happened 20-30 years ago. Sure you had some campy television shows, but who would ever have thought that a shared superhero universe would ever be something we’d see on TV? Heck, The Flash and Supergirl is about to have a musical crossover which is both brilliant and crazy!
Furthermore, why not celebrate choice? DC may have four superhero shows on The CW right now, but you don’t have to watch them all. The shared universe is meant to enrich the experience with crossovers, and you’re not missing out on that much if you only tune into one or two of the DC shows. The reason so many superhero shows exist right now is because there’s a market for them, so why complain that we’re getting what we want? Other genre shows like period dramas and procedural dramas exist in abundance and we don’t talk about a procedural drama fatigue, so why do we talk about superhero fatigue?
Just as Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange gave us a different kind of Marvel movie, I’m confident that a superhero show will pop up soon that innovates and refreshes the medium. The Flash gave us a more light-hearted show, Supergirl gave us a much-needed show that was led by a woman for women, and the upcoming Black Lightning will give DC its first black superhero on television. I understand why people get tired of these shows and want to see something more original and unique instead, but ultimately I think the superhero landscape on television is very exciting right now, and the rise in their popularity in recent years isn’t a bad thing. Forty years ago you were shamed in public if you were a geek, now being a geek is not only celebrated, but seen as normal. Everyone’s passionate about something, so let’s embrace this new era of superheroes and look on proudly at how far we’ve come.