Comic Capers
Comic book superheroes in all shapes, sizes and dispositions


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The Adventures of Superman
104 episodes (1953-57) 30m


The popularity of the great-granddaddy of superhero TV saw star George Reeves typecast and unable to find work - eventually committing suicide in 1959. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen manage to run afoul of an incredible array of dull criminals. Superman heroically takes on the crooks - who seem to be able to get a hold of kryptonite whenever they need it. Some good sci-fi episodes.





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Batman
120 episodes (1966-68) 30m


All involved delighted in hamming it up in this over-the-top rendition of the Batman tale. Do-gooder millionaire Bruce Wayne gets his kicks from dressing up in tights, hanging around with similarly wardrobed boy wonder Robin, and fighting crime in Gotham City - which has far more than its fair share of surreal villains. Camp classic with occasional over-the-top sci-fi gadgetry.





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Wonder Woman
57 episodes (1974-79) 60m


The first (and best) 12 episode WW series was true to the comic books, with the hero leaving her Amazon home to help the US fight WWII. The more popular 1977-79 series brought the story into the modern day. Both versions contained some terrific sci-fi episodes, although this was tempered by a couple of just-plain-silly fantasies. Linda Carter leads the way in true Xena-style.





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The Incredible Hulk
79 episodes (1977-82) 60m


Anti-violence campaigners got this screen version toned down considerably from its comic book prototype. Bill Bixby plays the on-the-run scientist who has exposed himself to gamma radiation - turning into the Hulk (played by bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno) whenever he gets upset. A handful of episodes had solid sci-fi premises - the rest were pretty standard fare.





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The Greatest American Hero
44 episodes (1981-83) 60m


A mild-mannered spoof of comic book superhero TV. ETs choose a special-ed teacher to save the Earth. He is given a superhero suit complete with special powers, but promptly loses the instruction book. In league with FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) he stumbles around fighting evil while trying to control his vertigo. Connie Sellecca provides the eye-candy as lawyer Pam Davidson.





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The Flash
22 episodes (1990-91) 60m


Superhero who moves incredibly fast (thanks to modern special effects) zips about proving he is much more interesting than the crooks - and thatís not saying much. The last hurrah for the wave of prime time comic book superhero shows produced in the preceding decade and a half. It was also the least science fictional, although not without elements of pure sci-fi fun.





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Lois & Clark [New Superman]
88 episodes (1993-97) 60m


Soapy version of the Superman saga with the emphasis on romance rather than sci-fi. Lex Luthor provided most of the villainous evil in the first series, but more variety was required to sustain interest from there on. Definitely atypical as far as sci-fi shows go, but with Teri Hatcher providing the looks it was a real winner in terms of attracting a whole new audience to the genre.





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Smallville
216 episodes (2001-2011) 60m


A soapy version of the premise used in the original Superboy comics. Young Clark Kent shows up in the town of Smallville and is adopted by conscientious parent-types. Our hero faces some serious teenage angst while dealing with the fact he's not like the other kids. Pre-villainous Lex Luthor provides much of the magic. Proved remarkably durable while smashing some sci-fi records.


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