It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s…superheroes!
Just walk down the toy aisle or check the local movie theater and you’ll notice the current popularity of superheroes. Though it isn’t a new fad, the steady rise of heroes on the big screen has recently spread to the small screens and is beginning to draw attention.
According to Box Office Mojo, the top two grossing movies of 2012 featured superheroes – “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” The heroes also currently hold first and third place for this year with “Iron Man 3” and “Man of Steel,” respectively.
The great success in public theatres has sparked attempts to enter the home with new superhero television shows that are grabbing attention both on the screens and in the ratings.
Marvel teamed up with ABC in late 2012 to create a television series spinoff of the successful Avenger movie. With the help of producer Joss Whedon, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was created. It follows a small team of agents dealing with cases of superhuman individuals.
The show is very popular on college campuses with TV by the Numbers reporting 47.2% of viewers being male students away from home. Even some students on the campus of John Brown University have joined the superhero craze and tune in to the spinoff each week.
“I really enjoy the show,” said sophomore Zach Koym. “It gives a good look at S.H.I.E.L.D. beyond the movie and explains some of their actions throughout the timeline.”
Anticipation for the show skyrocketed at the 2013 Comic-Con when it was revealed that the main character would be agent Phil Coulson, who seemingly died in the Avenger movie.
“Don’t get me wrong. I love Thor, but there are so many storylines and characters that the movies can’t touch but a show like S.H.I.E.L.D. can,” senior James Kennedy said. “And yeah, of course I wanted to see Coulson too.”
The show premiered on September 24, 2013, and qualified as TV’s highest rated drama debut in nearly four years. TV by the Numbers records the first episode drawing over 22.1 million live and timeshifted viewers over the course of five days.
Another hero blowing up the small screen is Oliver Queen in “Arrow.” Based on the DC Comic character Green Arrow, the show features a costumed vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow.
The series premiered in Oct. 2012 on The CW and went on to become the highest rated show on the network in the last five years. Now in its second season, Nov. 2013 television ratings from The Nielsen Company show it hitting a series high in the young men category and ranking first in its time period.
Rachel Solito, a senior at the university, watches the “Arrow” every Wednesday.
“My family and I are huge fans,” Rachel said. “We watch it every week and love the suspense.”
The superhero television takeover has begun. Just as with the movies, the rise of TV heroes has been met with great reception. But as a wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” or perhaps more appropriately, “With great ratings comes great expectations.”