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From ‘Arrow’ to ‘The Punisher’: 10 Best TV Shows For the Darker Side of Superheroes

Superhero tv shows have grown increasingly popular over the last decade, and in recent years the darker side of the superhero world has helped to heighten that popularity significantly. Whether it be long-running series like Arrow or shorter ones like The Punisher consisting of only a couple of seasons, the more gritty and gory side of heroes and villains only continues to blossom.

From smash hits like Marvel’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones to DC’s Gotham, there are a variety of new and older shows available to get your gritty superhero kick. While Arrow and The Punisher may have sadly ended, tv shows such as The Boys, which has just entered its highly anticipated third season, and Peacemaker are keeping them on the path to success.

The Umbrella Academy (2019 – Present)
Time travel? Check. Superheroes? Check. Forty-three spontaneous pregnancies? Check. Based on the comic book series of the same name, the show focuses on the lives of six children born with extraordinary gifts. The Umbrella Academy became popular as soon as it aired. Still going strong, the show is about to enter its third season, which will premier on Netflix on June 22nd, 2022. While the official plot remains quite the mystery, we know it will follow along the lines of the Sparrow Academy mystery, Hotel Oblivion, and the Kugelblitz. When it rains, it pours.

Peacemaker (2022)
Eagle sidekick? Check. Dance number intros? Check. Welcome to Peacemaker. Created by James Gunn, Peacemaker follows the life of Christopher Smith (John Cena) and co after the events of 2021’s The Suicide Squad and his supposed death. After recovering from his injuries, A.R.G.U.S. recruits his help. The show received increasingly positive reviews, and it’s not hard to see why. From hilarious scenes to even more hilarious sidekicks, the first in the DCEU tv shows had fans instantly hooked. Due to its popularity, many people hoped we’d see more of the character, and fans needn’t worry as the show received the go-ahead for a second season in February 2022.

Moon Knight (2022)
Starring Oscar Isaac, Moon Knight was a new supernatural take on Marvel’s superheroes within the MCU, and it took us on a wild journey. The show followed Marc Spector and his alter personality, Steven Grant, in their struggles with dissociative identity disorder while serving the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu.

While filled with classic Marvel comedy, it didn’t hold back on the emotional scenes and struggles that Marc faced in his life. From years of abuse at the hands of his mother to the blood-splattered life of a mercenary (/mild-mannered gift shop worker), Moon Knight wasn’t lacking intensity and kept us hooked the entire way through. And with that post-credits scene leaving it wide open for future possibilities, we can’t help but hope for a season two!

Luke Cage (2016 – 2018)
Close up gunshots to the chest, heads on spikes, and multiple heavyweight beatings. And that’s just the beginning. We first met Luke (Mike Colter) in Jessica Jones season one when he and Jessica began a complicated relationship. And he went on to appear in seven episodes before continuing his story on his own show. Luke Cage is the third installment in the original Netflix Marvel shows, airing in September 2016 and taking place on the streets of Harlem, New York. An ex-cop wrongfully accused and imprisoned for murder, Carl Lucas, was subjected to an experimental procedure to give him healing abilities. However, the experiment backfired, giving him his unbreakable skin and making him bulletproof.

Jessica Jones (2015 – 2019)
Between unimaginable strength and the ability to pull off smooth superhero landings every time, it’s clear to see why Jessica Jones became such a popular show. But it’s also incredibly noir and emotional with some downright heartbreaking episodes. And the series certainly wasn’t lacking in sensitive topics throughout its three seasons, assault and rape, to name a few. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a superhero turned private investigator who came away from the superhero life after being forced to kill by Killgrave (David Tennant). Between mind control, murder, and the main character suffering from PTSD, they weren’t lacking in intense storylines. While every original Netflix Marvel series had a dark element, their second release might have some of the darkest aspects.

About Talha Khan

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