The TV season is nearly over and overall it was a pretty strong year of comic book TV.
The rookie shows were mostly great and the veteran shows had their moments. However, next year promises even more shows to what is an already crowded DVR. Here’s a look back on the seasons that were and recommendations on if these shows deserve to stay in your fall rotation.
Daredevil, first season, Netflix
Snapshot: In the span of 13 episodes Daredevil has established itself as the gold standard for comic book TV. It’s brooding look and brutal fight choreography fit Marvel’s man without fear to the letter. Vincent D’Onofrio could have phoned it in as Kingpin, but instead he gave a nuanced villain performance that was as a fascinating to watch as the development of the hero.
Season highlight: This:
The defense rests your honor.
Season lowlight: Burning through all 13 episodes before realizing it’s going to be a looong time before Season 2. But it does give hope for the next series in line: AKA Jessica Jones.
Keep, binge or skip: Since it’s on Netflix you don’t have to worry about saving space in the DVR, but make sure you don’t let your subscription lapse. This one is a keeper.
Agent Carter, first season, ABC
Snapshot: Peggy Carter made the long winter a little more bearable with eight episodes of retro spy fun. Hayley Atwell’s carried the show both on camera and on social media. The show was a little heavy handed at times with the misogyny, but it wasn’t anything worse than what real women of the era had to face.
Season highlight: The fight that was intercut with the Captain America radio show.
Season lowlight: The end of the season bogged down with Leviathan’s ring-twisting, hypnotizing head honcho. Dottie, graduate of the Black Widow Finishing School, was much more interesting to watch.
Keep, store or skip: For the above reasons and a few more detailed earlier, Peggy’s return can’t come soon enough. Save space for her.
Agents of SHIELD, second season, ABC
Snapshot: Gets the most improved award for the season. Granted the bar was set pretty low after 12 episodes of the first season. The show rarely let off the gas through a gaggle of new cast members, new plotlines, a shift in focus to its female cast and Skye turning into a character you like, rather than a character you’d like to see sucked out of an airlock.
Season highlight: Skye’s emergence from her Terragen crystal cocoon was breathtaking.
Season lowlight: Although it led to cooler things (including getting the Phase 2 treatment), the resolution of Coulson’s resurrection/alien drawing phase plot just went out with a whimper.
Keep, store or skip: This summer might be a perfect time for those folks who jumped ship during the dark days to catch back up. It did improve, but it’s not without its problems, either. If you’ve been watching all long do so, but at least store it and binge during a rainy afternoon in the fall.
The Flash, first season, CW
Snapshot: This one still has one more episode to go, but we get the gist. The first half of The Flash’s season was a lot of fun. Barry discovering his powers, his flirtation with Felicity from Arrow, the Team Flash dynamic taking shape was a fun watch and a nice counterbalance to the increasingly grim Arrow. Then in the second half, the show jumped in on the time travel (I know it’s a big part of the Flash mythos, but it’s difficult to do time travel well on TV) and started pushing the creepy Barry-Iris relationship thing.
Season highlight: Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold was solid all season long. Miller has embraced the villain role and just rolled with the evil genius vibe his character has produced. The Captain Cold episodes have never failed to disappoint.
Season lowlight: After teases in several episodes, The Flash finally let Gorilla Grodd loose - as a B-plot in the “Iris learns The Flash’s real identity” episode. It’s hard to believe they could screw up an episode with a hyper-intelligent mind controlling primate, boy howdy did they ever prove that idea wrong.
Keep, store or skip: It depends on your feelings about time travel. The biggest thing The Flash has going for it is that it’s the most fun show in the genre. It’s worth weekly upkeep just for that.
Arrow, third season, CW
Snapshot: There’s really no other way to slice it, but this season was a mess. The first two seasons weren’t exactly Shakespeare, but at least they were tightly plotted and the flashbacks complemented the primary plot. The more Ollie became disconnected from the rest of the world the tougher the show became to watch.
Season highlight: Boxing. Glove. Arrow.
Season lowlight: The death of Sara (and the motivation behind it) touched off the whole convoluted plan to get Ollie in a bad way with the League of Assassins and cleared the way for Lawwrel to ascend to the wig and leather outfit of Black Canary.
Keep, store or skip: I’m leaning toward making this one a skip, but the finale left the door open to a number of changes, so maybe give this one an episode or three next seasons before banishing it from your DVR.
Gotham, first season, FOX
Snapshot: Gotham City without Batman could be cool, right? Right?!? Well … not so much. While there were some individual snippets, this telling of the Batman story starts off with a Gotham City that feels too far gone already. If no one else cares about Gotham City, why should we.
Season highlight: Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin made the show worth watching. His scheming and murderous ways rarely disappointed as Taylor played it all to the hilt.
Season lowlight: Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon on the other hand was a reason to turn the channel. It was hard to connect with this Jim Gordon, even when he dumped crazy Barbara for Morena Baccarin.
Keep, binge or skip: An easy choice - Skip and don’t look back.
Craig Wack had fun recapping this shows and hopes to see you all back in the fall. Until then, please follow his Twitter.