TV Series Based on Comics—Minus the Superheroes

With Resident Alien returning to Syfy and Peacock, we look at other series based on comic books—as long as they don’t include superheroes.

There’s nothin’ wrong with comic books. But superheroes, through comic-book adaptations, have saturated our culture. If you suffer from chronic “supe” fatigue—but still appreciate seeing a comic come to life on-screen—try these supe-less shows. We’ll start with Resident Alien, which resumed its second season on Syfy and Peacock earlier this week.

A collage of posters for Resident Alien, The Boys, Preacher, Y the Last Man, and Stumptown.

But I love superheroes!

In that case, check out Disney+, home of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and HBO Max™, where you can stream superhero movies and shows from the DC Universe.

Resident Alien | Peacock

In Resident Alien (based on Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s comics), Alan Tudyk is “Harry,” an alien sent to explode humanity. Except Harry falls in love with the humans he meets in a tiny Colorado town—and now he’s all conflicted and stuff. It’s not a strikingly original premise, but the execution slaps.

Stream Resident Alien free on Peacock.

Pro tip: To watch Resident Alien live, you’ll need to subscribe to a cable, satellite, or live TV streaming service that carries the Syfy network. We think DISH Network is tops among traditional TV providers. For streaming, we recommend YouTube TV.

The Boys | Amazon Prime Video

But . . . but . . . The Boys is all about superheroes!

Not really. It’s about celebrity worship and politics. And Garth Ennis, creator of The Boys comics, really hates superheroes. That’s why most of the “supes” in the show aren’t very likable—and meet such gruesome, often humiliating, ends.

Whether you love or hate superheroes, The Boys is a hilarious, action-packed ride with crowd-pleasing characters.

Stream The Boys free on Amazon Prime Video.

Pro tip: We still haven’t seen all of the weird and wacky characters from The Boys comics in the TV adaptation. Here are some supes and dupes we hope to see in future seasons.

Preacher | Hulu

In Preacher, God abandons humanity. At that moment, Genesis—the bastard child/entity of an angel and a demon—possesses small-time preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper).

Genesis’ body-squatting gives Custer the Word of God—basically a superpower that lets Custer command anyone to do anything.

But Custer doesn’t don a cape and fight crime. Instead, with his badass ex-lover Tulip (Ruth Negga) and Irish vampire bestie Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), Custer chases down the Lord, looking for answers. And they meet some, uh, colorful characters along the way.

Stream Preacher free on Hulu or rent/purchase all four seasons on Amazon Prime Video.

Riverdale | Netflix

The Archie comics were relatively wholesome, but for 21st-Century audiences, Riverdale drowns Archie Andrews and pals in hawt sauce and dark themes. These updated Archie stories are sexy and thrilling, and the characters retain their original charm even after the dark makeover. Even so, Netflix canceled Riverdale—the show’s seventh season will be its last.

Stream Riverdale on Netflix.

Y the Last Man | Hulu

In this series based on Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s long-running comic book series, an apocalyptic event kills all males, both human and animal. That is, except for one man—Yorick—and his monkey, who wander the country getting into exciting situations.

No, this isn’t one of those straight–male “everybody wants some” fantasies. Earth is a woman’s world in Y the Last Man, and it’s chock-full of more significant problems to solve—like figuring out how Yorick survived and whether he can help humankind do likewise.

Stream Y the Last Man free on Hulu.

Pro tip: Don’t have Hulu yet? Check out the Disney Bundle, which combines Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ starting at $13.99 a month.

Stumptown | Amazon Prime Video

It’s a shame that Stumptown, which has a 93% critical rating and 84% audience rating on RottenTomatoes, appears to be a COVID casualty, canceled after only one season.

The private-detective drama had so much going for it: clever writing, intriguing plots, a butt-kickin’ female lead in Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders), supporting characters that feel like friends, and a following. ABC is supposedly shopping the series to other networks, but nobody seems interested.

Stream Stumptown on Amazon Prime Video (rent/purchase).

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