DC and Marvel have long been rivals. Multiple iterations of that rivalry have played out over the last several decades. Now, I don’t read comics, so I don’t have an opinion on which company is better in that area. But I have been a huge fan of the movies for the last decade or so. As a result, I have seen almost all DC and Marvel movies from that time period. (I missed Man of Steel, but I hear I’m not missing out there.) I do have an opinion there, specifically that the Marvel movies have collectively been better. This idea has only been further solidified in my mind this year. (Although, I did enjoy Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman more than most people.)
In this post, I’ll want to talk about the Marvel and DC’s TV universes.
Marvel built on their excellent movie universe by releasing the Clark Gregg-led spin-off “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in 2013. I personally feel the show is underrated. They did make a crucial error by deciding to keep the show only partially connected to the movies.
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has gone strong for 3 years (Season 4 premieres September 20th), and has offered compelling story lines that simultaneously balances character and plot development with the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve never seen Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, or any of the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy coming around to help S.H.I.E.L.D. save the world. Although, we have seen many B-list and C-list characters from the universe make an appearance. In 2015, Marvel appeared to try to bridge the gap by releasing the mini-series (and semi-spinoff) “Agent Carter” starring Hayley Atwell. It brought a very recognizable Captain America character to the small screen. The story was supposed to detail the creation of the organization S.H.I.E.L.D., but it was sadly canceled earlier this year, and we’ll never see how Peggy Carter actually starts the storied organization.
Later in 2015, Marvel was able to create a great, critically-acclaimed show in the Netflix exclusive “Daredevil” starring Charlie Cox. They continued to make the same mistake of only loosely tying into the main story of the MCU. The show had another great season in 2016 and looks to keep it up in future seasons (as well as the “Defenders” mini-series).
Marvel and Netflix continued their great partnership with the release of “Jessica Jones” in late 2015. This series also introduced the character Luke Cage, which further advanced excitement for the “Defenders” to come out. Season 2 of “Jessica Jones” starring Krysten Ritter will be released on Netflix sometime next year. While Mike Colter (Luke Cage) will grace our screens as we binge-watch the first season of “Luke Cage” starting on September 30th. We’ll also get to see Finn Jones’ “Iron Fist” as well as the “Defenders” miniseries presumably sometime next year.
In 2012, DC tapped the CW to premiere “Arrow” starring Stephen Amell. The show has run 4 seasons. The reception hasn’t always been great, with ratings up and down all over the place. As long as you enjoy the story or character, the show is entertaining, and I highly advise any “superhero” fans to watch it.
“The Flash” starring Grant Gustin premiered in 2014 after a previous crossover/backdoor pilot on Season 2 of Arrow. The shows have no connections to Batman or Superman. The Suicide Squad is featured/discussed in some episodes of both shows but is different from the group seen in the 2016 movie. The Flash has had some great moments over the last 2 seasons and has had good crossovers with Arrow in both seasons.
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”, starring secondary and tertiary characters from “The Flash and “Arrow” as they travel through time, trying to change the future. If you are a fan of either show, or any of the characters featured, season 1 is enjoyable, and season 2 looks to be even better.
This fall, “Supergirl” is moving to the CW from its previous home on CBS. The Melissa Benoist-led show focuses on the cousin of Superman as she balances her superhero life with her every-day world.
All four of these shows debut on the CW in October. “The Flash” on the 4th, “Arrow” on the 5th, “Supergirl” on the 10th, and “Legends of Tomorrow” on the 13th.
Why DC is Better:
DC and Marvel both realized, that not everything could connect perfectly. But the 2 studios handled things very differently.
It all comes down to planning the connections.
“The Flash” and “Arrow” crossover frequently, and often rely on each other, but they each acknowledge that they each have important things to do and that they can’t always drop everything and go to the other person’s aid. “Legends of Tomorrow” couldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the other shows. They aren’t connecting in any way to the movies, and have even created an explanation for this, as seen in season 2 of “The Flash”. They revealed that there is a ‘multi-verse’. (Multiple Earths exist in the same space, each very different from each other.) This also explains why the show isn’t connected to “Gotham” or the new show “Powerless”, and why the Suicide Squad and The Flash in the “Arrowverse” are different from the ones seen in the movies.
While DC might not have the best excuse for the lack of connections, it at least makes sense. In the Marvel Universe, we assume that the Avengers are only in the dark about Coulson being alive because Fury used his death to bring them together. Meanwhile, the only logical explanation for the lack of the connection between the rest of the MCU and the Netflix exclusives is that Disney needs to save the image of the movies.
Granted, it does make sense that Daredevil and Jessica Jones wouldn’t exactly fit well alongside the picture perfect Captain America. Their themes are just too dark, and Marvel doesn’t want that. They even “reformed” the playboy Iron Man, and “justified” the fugitive Ant-Man. Yes, it would be an odd connection. It doesn’t make sense, though, that all of these characters exist in the same universe, while the Hell’s Kitchen vigilantes are never even mentioned by the Avengers.
Now, most of these shows are still running, so the jury is still out on whether or not this will stand. Maybe Chris Evans will show up on this season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.LD.”, maybe Matt Murdock will find his way into the group for the mega-fight against Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War”. We’ll just have to wait and see what might happen.
In the next few weeks, we’ll see new season premieres of 5 shows, and the series premiere of 1 other. For weekly recaps on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, “Supergirl”, “The Flash”, “Arrow”, and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”, come check out Going Nerdy every week, the day after the episode airs. Also, look out for my mega-recap of season 1 of “Luke Cage” in early October.
For more information on these shows, check out one of the links below:
Which TV universe to you like more and why? Leave a comment in the area below.