There have been plenty of superhero live action shows over the years that have had an impact on viewers. Some of them are well made and well written, but there are shows with low budgets, bizarre story ideas, and writing that creates more questions than it answers.
All of these things can cause a series to become “cranky” to watch, especially over the years. After all, it’s hard for a show to age well when it cringed from the start. Of course, just because a series has obvious issues doesn’t mean there aren’t many fans who love them, with some shows becoming cult classics.
ten Automan: this series contains a superhero hologram
In automan, police officer and computer programmer Walter Nebicher develops a crime-fighting hologram, the titular Automan, which impersonates “Otto J. Mann”, a government agent. Nebicher could merge with Automan when the situation needed it, and the duo had a sidekick called Cursor, a floating polyhedron that could “pull” objects, like a car, into the physical plane.
Due to his frequent use of electricity, Automan suffered power cuts during the day, which caused him to be mostly active at night. Due to the show’s low ratings and expensive effects, the series only lasted one season, with the final episode initially not airing.
9 America’s Greatest Hero: Even the Network and Showrunners Couldn’t Agree on the Show’s Direction
In America’s Greatest Hero, the main character, Ralph, receives a powerful alien costume that transforms him into a superhero. Unfortunately, he loses his instructions almost immediately, which means he has to learn how to use his powers through trial and error.
The series has endured a variety of issues. At one point, the main character’s last name had to be changed after a failed assassination attempt on the President was carried out by an assailant with a similar last name. Behind the scenes, showrunners and the network argued over whether the show should be a light comedy or a more fantasy series. In pop culture, the series is best known for its theme song, “Believe It Or Not”.
8 Manimal: Jonathan Chase can turn into animals
Manimal revolved around Jonathan Chase, a man who has the power to become any animal he wishes to be, who most often turned out to be a hawk or a panther. Naturally, Chase uses this power to fight crime after teaming up with police officer Brooke Mackenzie.
Interestingly, the show never really explained how Chase got his powers beyond the opening credits, implying that he was from a long line of shapeshifters. The series only lasted about eight episodes and suffered low ratings, but has since been considered a cult classic.
seven Legends Of The Superheroes: It Was A Series Of Specials
legends of superheroes technically wasn’t a TV show so much as a series of specials. The first story involves the Justice League having to disable a Legion of Doom doomsday device. The second story involves the heroes being subjected to a roast by Ed McMahon.
Superman and Wonder Woman do not appear, and many characters cannot show off their powers due to budget issues. That said, Adam West, Burt Ward and Frank Gorshin reprise their roles from Batman live action series. Captain Marvel and Dr. Sivana also managed to appear despite legal issues preventing them from great friends.
Also known as The Adventures of Superboy, this series ran from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. In the series, a teenage Clark Kent attended journalism school with Lana Lang and Lex Luthor. The series was quickly revamped, with the main character redesigned, to revolve around Clark and Lana investigating the paranormal.
Despite being on a low budget, the series earned decent ratings, but was eventually canceled in part due to legal wrangling over rights. Superman franchise. Many obscure DC characters appeared in live-action for the first time on the show, like Metallo and the Yellow Peri.
5 Electra Woman & Dyna Girl: this superheroine duo came from Sid & Marty Krofft
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl came from the mind of Sid and Marty Krofft, aired as part of Krofft’s super show. They were later edited as stand-alone episodes for syndication and home releases. On the show, Lori and Judy, whose surnames were never revealed, were reporters with the ability to transform into the titular superheroes, aided by scientist Frank Heflin.
The series was known for adding “Electra” as a prefix to various things associated with the duo, their “ElectraCar”, their “ElectraBase”, and the “ElectraComs” they use to communicate with each other. The “ElectraComs” also came with a variety of “Electra” themed powers, such as the “Electra-Beam” or the “Electra-Freeze”.
4 Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters of Beverly Hills: Name is only used in the first episode
Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters of Beverly Hills was a children’s show designed to take advantage of the popularity of Power Rangers, although it is not based on any pre-existing tokusatsu series. In the series, four teenagers are empowered to become masked superheroes to battle evil aliens using celestial tattoos.
The series was known for its low budget, it was recorded on videotape instead of film. Apparently, the villains were recurring on the show in an effort to cut the costume budget. The series’ infamously long name was also rarely used in-universe. The four heroes were generally referred to as the “Galactic Sentinels”.
3 The Secrets of Isis: Filmation worked on this series, complete with PSA epilogues
In The Secrets of Isis, science teacher Andrea Thomas is able to transform into the titular superheroine with a magical amulet once belonging to Queen Hatshepsut. The series was known for its tendency to break the fourth wall, and each episode also originally ended with an epilogue where Isis addressed the audience and explained a moral lesson. These epilogues were later cut from the main reels and a few are thought to be lost.
Filmation developed the series, originally pairing it with an adaptation of Shazam. DC would later incorporate an Isis-themed character into their media, though she bears little resemblance to the character in that series.
2 Wonderbug: even a car can become a superhero
Also originally part of Krofft’s super showthis series revolved around an old battered car, nicknamed the “Schlepcar”, which could turn into the titular wonderbug with a magic horn. Reminding HerbieWonderbug was alive and able to drive himself, in addition to having superpowers like flight.
Wonderbug was discovered by three teenagers and befriended them. Together, they join forces to take on criminals and other villains. The series was also influenced by the animated television series, speed buggy.
1 She-Wolf Of London: A Werewolf Woman Fights Dark Forces, Then It Became A Comedy
At first glance, wolf of london looks more like a horror series, but after the main character Randi is transformed into a werewolf, she often comes to the attention of various supernatural threats and has to fight them. Aided by Ian, professor of mythology, Randi is often considered a prototype buffy the vampire slayer.
Originally a British-American co-production, after British backers withdrew from the series, it was revamped into a comedy series set in Los Angeles. The storylines shifted from a necromancer killing Ian and raising him as a flesh-hungry zombie in order to take over the world, to trolls plotting to get better television reception.
NEXT: 10 Superhero Shows That Are Better When You’re An Adult