When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian or a zoologist. Basically, anything to do with animals was my jam. Times were simpler back then. The kids in these films and TV shows don’t have that kind of innocent luxury: gifted (cursed?) with preternatural powers, their lives are on a different trajectory.
Have a look for yourself at these 10 shows featuring casts full of (sometimes) tortured teens with superpowers:
Based on the comic book, the CW’s series Cloak & Dagger follows two teens with developing abilities who were brought together by a terrible accident.
Save the cheerleader, save the world. The show’s early tagline really says it all. Heroes is a 2006 series created by Tim Kring that features a bevy of supernatural-leaning characters, among them a perky high-school cheerleader (played by Hayden Panettiere) who discovers she has the gift of invincibility.
In a kind of “be careful what you wish for” parable, Chronicle follows three teenagers who make an extraterrestrial discovery that gives them the power of telekinesis. When one of them takes it too far, things spiral out of control rather quickly. Take it from me, kids: teenage angst and unlimited power just don’t mix.
Based on the novel of the same name by author M. R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts stars Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton. In a post-apocalyptic setting, a group of young children have an unusual response to the fungal infection that has wiped out others.
The Gifted, part of the X-Men mythology, follows the Strucker family after it is revealed that their teenage twins are both mutants with unusually powerful skills. The family is forced to take refuge with a group of mutants with whom they have had a tenuous relationship.
In the third recent adaptation of the comic, this time a teenaged Peter Parker is played by Tom Holland. Fifteen years old and granted spider-like abilities after a being bitten by a genetically modified spider, Peter struggles both with honing his abilities, dealing with regular high school dramas, and hiding his secret identity.
Kristy Swanson brings Buffy Summers to life for the first time in this 1992 film, which also stars Luke Perry and Donald Sutherland. A young, somewhat ditzy California teenager suddenly develops the power to fight the undead.
Let’s not forget Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the Hogwarts classmates. However, this begs the questions, if you have to go to boarding school to learn it, can it really be considered a superpower? I’m going to go ahead and give this one to them. Fifty points for Gryffindor!
What’s better than a teenage superman in corn-fed Kansas? Nothing, that’s what. If you don’t have anything to do for the next six months or so, there are 10 whole seasons of Smallville for you to go through on Hulu.
When a troupe of delinquents get caught in a freak electrical storm and walk away from it with newfound abilities, that’s just the beginning of their troubles. Starring Joe Gilgun, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Antonia Thomas and Iwan Rheon.