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Comic Countdown #36: Must See Comic Book TV

Posted on September 16, 2012 AT 07:53pm

It’s that time of the week once again, with the Comic Countdown making its triumphant return! While the title of this weeks edition is a bit cheesy, the countdown sure isn’t. Well, some of it is, but that’s part of the fun! This week the Countdown will take on those beloved (and hated) television adaptations of some of the industry’s greatest comic books. To give everyone a fair chance, the countdown this week is split between animated and live-action series, with both being given a equal five choices, scattered throughout the countdown. Now, in no particular order, the choices!

#10:The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982)

With the sadly memorable ending theme, the strange “David Banner” thing, and its responsibility for launching Lou Ferrigno’s  career forever as “that one guy from The Hulk”, this television show is a classic in many ways. While not the best (or most accurate) depiction of a Marvel hero, this one always holds a special place in the hearts of comic book fans as a memorable show, if not always for the best of reasons.

#9: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)

Turtle power was never more prominent that during the run of the original animated series, as the Heroes In A Half-Shell was in full force. With the turtles facing off against their greatest rival, the Shredder and his gang of criminals, The Foot, this series inspired many kids to not only read comics, but look into different mediums for entertainment, from comics to video games to other television shows. For kids who grew up in this era, its one of the most important television shows of their lifetime.

#8: Wonder Woman (1975-1979)

Linda Carter also suffered from “one-hit wonder” syndrome as the result of playing the role of Princess Diana in the live-action Wonder Woman series. While the series didn’t get the fairest of chances with the way its plot was established, this is still a cult classic series that many fans will still cling to as one of their favorites.

#7:The Tick (1994-1997)

While the most notable person to take on the mantle of the Tick was Patrick Warburton in the live-action series, the animated series is a bit more well known, with Townsend Coleman taking on the role of the blue-suited hero. This satirical superhero show poked fun on the usual origin stories of the typical hero and this show was a hit due to its irreverent humor and slapstick silliness. This kind of take on the genre made it a major cult hit with adults and gave it a place on this list.

#6:Smallville (2001-2011)

This take on the origins and life of Clark Kent ran as a teenage-oriented series focusing on the world’s first superhero. While focusing on the young-adult culture, it also came full circle, with the series, spawned from comics, creating an original comic book series and other related merchandise. Though the show just ended, its mark on the medium of both comics and television is very apparent, developing a major following with the young adult fan base.

#5:X-Men The Animated Series (1992-1997)

This series is one of the most important animated series of the current generation of comic book fans, the animated series for the X-Men was, and continues to be a major phenomenon, with major staying power. Fans of the series continue to watch the show now and then, thinking of it fondly as a terrific show based on very unique and accessible characters. While this show had its flaws and its not the best show in comic book adaptation history, its one may fans would put at the top of their list.

#4: Batman (1966-1968)

One of the first live-action television series based off comic books, this series featured both Adam West and Burt Ward, two actors who became as well known for their portrayals of their characters as the characters did themselves. West has never really been able to escape stigma of being Batman (though, his career has been very successful because of it), Ward’s career was not quite as long-lasting, the Robin identity lasting longer than he may have liked. Either way, this series is legendary, and while a bit campy at times, the series is a wonderful homage to the character and the comic book community in general.

#3: Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)

The first series in the major DC Animated Universe, this series was well praised for being a bit more adult-oriented than most other television shows, giving it a wide range of fans for its mature writing and sophisticated animation. Having acting legend Mark Hamill as the voice of The Joker didn’t hurt either, with Hamill’s role as the iconic character being widely known as one of the best portrayals in the history of the character.

#2: The Walking Dead (2010-Present)

The only show on this list to still be running, the adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s already legendary series has established itself as one of the premiere shows on television. Action-packed, gripping, and as intense as the comic book itself, the television series works so well that it has the major potential for being a long-running smash, with plenty of source material to go off, with The Walking Dead already celebrating its 100th issue.

#1: Superfriends (1973-1986)

One of the longest-running television series in terms of an adaptation, Superfriends was based on the Justice League comic books, using villains from both the imagination of the writers and from the comic books themselves. Though it went through several incarnations over the course of its lifetime, this show remains an icon in the connection between comic books and other mediums.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the Comic Countdown every week, with more comic book topics in top-ten format.

Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for DigitalNoob.com. He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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