10 Superhero Shows for Kids Over 10: Where are all the girls?

FacebookTwitter

One of the things I discovered in making list of superhero shows was just how few there are that feature a woman or person of color.  I would love to see that change and for kids to be given a variety of shows that feature different kids of people.  Let’s start with the most obvious Superheroes right now, The Avengers.

Avengers Assemble

Since we will be in Avengers land for a while yet I thought it good to include this hot property on the cartoon list.  It’s about what you would expect, sort of a lite version of the movies.  The violence is toned down and the jokes stay on the respectable side.  If you’re a fan of the comics and the movies you will enjoy the show.  There is nothing surprising for grown ups but it for sure steers toward boys as far as kids go.

On Netflix and DisneyXD.

Grown-ups:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Kids:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

The Ultimate Spiderman

The writers for the Ultimate Spiderman do a really good job with the jokes.  Spiderman is everything he should be; young, fast, and mouthy.  The show is a lot like The Avengers.  As a matter a fact it might as well be the Avengers, as the characters all live in the same universe and show up pretty frequently.  I can say from experience that, again, the boys really like this one.  Again, more for the boys.

On Netflix and DisneyXD

Grown-ups:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Kids:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

The Batman

This one ran from 2004 to 2008 and it is a little different than what we see now.  It’s still real dark and I suggest taking a look at it before you show it to a kid under 10.  though my son has seen it, he’s five, and likes it, I don’t let him watch it anymore.  I made the mistake of trying it without sampling it first.  It’s as violent as all of these other Superhero shows but with a darkness we have come to expect from Batman.  The villains however I think are some how scarier.  They are more like monsters than people in some cases.  The Joker is especially frightening.  That being said I think it is more engaging for an adult than something like The Avengers.  Again though, for boys.

On Netflix

Grown-ups:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Kids:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

The Tick

This is the animated Tick that came out in 1994 and is was one of the funniest most ridiculous comments on superhero culture I had ever seen at the time.  First, kids love it, it’s funny but has enough of that Superhero vibe to give them a great cape and a lot of laughs.  My personal favorite was season 2 episode 10, The Tick Loves Santa, in which our hero The Tick and his sidekick Arthur is faced by the villain Many Santas, a criminal Santa who discovers he can clone himself and decides to take over the city.  In the end a literal avalanche of Santas is heading toward The Tick and he shouts out (Paraphrasing here) “Look Arthur, a yule tide!!.”  Between lines like that, basic superhero fun, and the philosophy that pops out from time to time it is a lot of fun for kids and grown ups.

You can watch a bunch on Youtube.  Not sure if they are all there but a lot are.

Grown-ups:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Kids:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

There are so many versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from through the ages that, If I have to pick just one, it’s Nickelodeon’s most recent.  That  has, what I believe, is the best of all possible versions of the characters and story.  My son is a huge monster fan and latched onto TMNT when he was, maybe, bit too young, but I let him watch it anyway.  Not sure if that was good parenting or not, but, I found that the show had great lessons, using each Turtles temperament or skill they figure out how to be a better beings and work as a team.   Also, all of the main characters are monsters, which makes it not so scary for him.  In addition to kids loving the show, parents, especially of a certain generation can really get into it.  I knew the people who made it were kindred souls to me when they did an episode based on Big Trouble in Little China, even with some of the same characters from the movie. Again, I think boys are more drawn to this one.  Sigh, sorry to all the girls.

On Nick Jr.

Grown-ups:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Kids:5 Stars (5 / 5)

Justice League and Justice League Unlimited

Justice League ran from 2001 to 2004.  It’s basically Super Friends with less of the friends and better writing.  The animated shows from the DC Universe are probably, next to the actual comics, the thing they do best.  (We won’t talk about the movies.)  Justice League is all about the relationship between our main heros, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Man Hunter, Green Lantern,  Hawk Girl (Really she’s a woman) The Flash, and the many bad guys they come up against.  Justice League Unlimited is all about after The Justice League has recruited every hero in every place everywhere and put them to work fighting crime like a franchised restaurant.  I don’t know who most of the heros are in that a lot of the time, but, it is kind of cool they used the more obscure ones once and a while.   This and the Avengers are on about the same scale as far as violence and action goes, though I think the DC animated series are a little more old fashioned.  They look and feel, ever so slightly, like they were made in a different era.  Probably because at this point they were.

On Netflix

Grown-ups:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Kids:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Transformers Prime

I included Transformers in this list because it has some history.  These characters have been around for a while, starting as toys, then a cartoon, and finally the audacious movies we have today.  Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, still does the voice in the shows and the movies.  There is, or was, some nostalgia based around the characters and what they were to a generation of kids.  Based on what I saw here, that seems to have vanished.    This program is based on ideas in the recent movies and so it is very violent and is for sure not going in my kids playlist of shows.  The fighting is robot on robot but has a graphic element to it that made me uncomfortable.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was too much, which is pretty much how I felt about the movies too.  They stab each other and bleed, that blood may be blue, but it still represents blood.  Maybe your kid will be ok with such a thing, but I could tell that my son was a little shaken by it, he’s five.

On Cartoon Network

Grown-ups:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Kids:2 Stars (2 / 5)

X-Men: The Animated Series

I was a big comic book reader in the eighties and nineties, though most of what I read was thrust on me by older siblings or relatives, I didn’t seek it out.  That is until I read my first X-Men comic.  Technically my first one was not X-Men at all but the solo Wolverine stories that came out in the eighties.  Something about the character was so engaging and obviously I was not the only one that thought so now that Hugh Jackman has played him 17 times.  However my first experience seeing the character on screen as in the 1992 X-Men Animated Series.  I remember how excited I was to see those characters walk and talk and even though I was a little past my cartoon age I made a point of watching every week.  The animation isn’t great by today’s standards but the show does a good job of capturing some of the comics best stories.  Everything is very toned down, violence is in there but you have to remember this was made for network television in the 90’s and there was a much different standard for violence then.  So you’re safe to show it to your kids.  Even Wolverine who is full of rage and violence in the comics is made to be more of an angry, very protective teddy bear here.

Grown-ups:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Kids:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

On Youtube

Tarzan and Jane

Here’s the thing I like about Tarzan and Jane: Many of the main characters are people of color and they are not American.  I’m not sure about Tarzan’s ethnicity but I am always pleasantly surprised when different kinds of people are represented, even in a show I don’t care for.  My son loves this one and plowed right through the 8 episode season on Netflix. He watched the whole thing in a week.  It is a whole new origin story for Tarzan that involves a special drug that gave him powers, allowing him to communicate with animals, and have super strength.  There was a decent amount of talk about nature and ecology but it felt like something the writers just plugged in and didn’t really care about.  There is Tarzan style violence and mayhem.

Grown-ups:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Kids:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

On Netflix

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir

I wanted to save this until last for two reasons.  First, I had to search, for a superhero show with a female as the main character.  There might be others but this is the one that, outside of shows like Justice League that have some strong women but feature men, makes a young woman the main hero.  The show is wonderful in so many ways, and yet, saying that, there are lots of things people might not like about it. It’s like watching a foreign film if you’re not use to a different culture.  It took me a little while to fall into it’s strange hypnotic groove, but I did, and my son was hooked right away.  The show is set in Paris, but definitely has a Japanimation vibe to it, and the characters have that sort of crazy neurotic sensibility that I’ve seen in Asian cartoons.  It revolves around Marinette Dupain-Cheng a.k.a. Ladybug, who is in love with Adrien Agreste a.k.a. Cat Noir.  Both are heroes fighting villains in the city, and each has a crush on the other, the catch is, neither has any idea the other is their crush.  Marinette has a thing for Adrien, and Cat Nior has a thing for on Ladybug, but neither knows who the other is.  One of my favorite things in the show, something that is admittedly stylized and kitschy, is when they turn into their hero selves.  The transformation sequence borders on becoming a solo dance number It lasts so long. It’s kind of amazing.  The hero of the show is magical, insecure, funny, strong, smart and daffy, which sounds about right for a teenage girl.

On Disney and Netflix

Grown-ups:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Kids:5 Stars (5 / 5)

If you liked this post sign up for our monthly newsletter here:

FacebookTwitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *