Sci-Fi & Fantasy TV’s Top Heroes: ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘Supergirl’ & More (PHOTOS)

TV Heroes The Mandalorian Resident Alien Supergirl
Disney+; James Dittinger/SYFY; Katie Yu/The CW

No matter how tough the challenge, these brave champions always save the day — and inspire us along the way. Below, we’re taking a look at some of TV’s top heroes from shows such as Star Trek: Picard, The Mandalorian, Supergirl, Resident Alien, Titans, and more.

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Special Collector’s Issue, which is available for international pre-order online at SciFi2021.com and available nationwide on newsstands now.
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Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart)

Star Trek: Picard

Wisdom, kindness, and compassion are his prime directive. The Next Generation’s levelheaded former commander of the Enterprise returned in a pensive update, set 20 years after the events depicted in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. As he lives peacefully in retirement, writing books about history and running a vineyard, he deals with the devastating death of his friend Data (Brent Spiner) and the destruction of the planet Romulus after a supernova. (The Federation’s failure to act cost thousands of lives, causing Picard to resign from the space-faring org.) These troubling experiences have resulted in not just a thoughtful man, but one whose concern for others gives him a determination to change the galaxy — even if it’s one person at a time. Paramount+

DISNEY +

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal)

The Mandalorian

In a galaxy far, far away, this bounty hunter has a heart of gold. He’s the strong, silent type, but his blaster skills speak volumes. So does his touching concern for the young Grogu, aka Baby Yoda, the highly prized target he once sought to capture for the evil Imperials and now is willing to protect with his life. The Mandalorian — real name: Din Djarin — has a stoic wisdom that has only matured over the show’s two seasons while his bounty-seeking has given way to a more valuable calling. Because of his faith, Djarin rarely takes off his helmet, but as we’ve watched him take on villainous Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), fellow Mandalorian Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), a slew of stormtroopers and other remnants of the former Empire, we’ve seen his true face, and it’s heroic. Disney+

Katie Yu/The CW

Supergirl (Melissa Benoist)

Supergirl

The Maid of Might doesn’t just fight with her fists — she leads with her brains and heart. Kara Zor-El, a refugee from the doomed planet Krypton, has power to spare (flight, heat vision, X-ray vision, and enough super strength to lift an airplane without breaking a sweat), but it’s her emotional fortitude that makes her a true hero. She sees the good in people, often before they can see it within themselves, whether it’s a xenophobic zealot like Season 4’s Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer) or power-mad fellow Kryptonians like her aunt Astra (Laura Benanti) and uncle Non (Chris Vance) from Season 1. Oh, and did we mention she even defeated a brainwashed Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) back in Season 2 to earn the title of Earth’s champion? She’s indeed super, and for all the right reasons. The CW

THE CW

Stargirl (Brec Bassinger)

DC’s Stargirl

Her star is on the rise. Yes, the teen years can be tough, especially when you’re Blue Valley, Nebraska’s new kid in school. But for Courtney Whitmore, it gets a lot more complicated after she finds out she has ties to both the legendary superheroes of the Justice Society of America and the nefarious villains of the Injustice Society. But Courtney takes it all in stride, with a joy that makes her shine bright, especially after she discovers the Cosmic Staff, which lets her fly, shoot energy, and more (even she’s not sure of everything it can do yet). After donning a costume and taking up the fight against crime, Courtney mingles with legends on all sides of right and wrong. She’s on her way — and we’re wishing upon this star. The CW

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Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites)

Titans

The Boy Wonder is all grown up. Batman’s former sidekick is his own man now. Leaving his Robin identity behind, Dick Grayson has taken on the mantle of Nightwing and become the hero the Titans need. Leading Raven (Teagan Croft), Gar Logan (Ryan Potter), Wonder Girl (Conor Leslie), Starfire (Anna Diop), Hawk (Alan Ritchson), and Dove (Minka Kelly) isn’t easy, especially when you don’t have superpowers. But Nightwing is brilliant, resourceful, and relentless as he guides them in battle against foes like the demon Trigon and the metahuman (but still utterly evil) Deathstroke (Esai Morales). Most of all, Nightwing doesn’t have to become a dark knight like his former boss to do it. HBO Max

James Dittinger/SYFY

Max (Judah Prehn)

Resident Alien

He may be annoying, but he sees the truth. This 9-year-old is one in a million. Literally. As fake doctor (but real alien) Harry Vanderspeigle (Alan Tudyk) puts it, “Only one in a million humans have the genetic mutation that enables them to see through our molecular reconstruction.” In other words: Max sees this alien invader for who he really is. Scary? Sure, Max is terrified, especially since Dr. Vanderspeigle initially wants to kill the boy to keep the secret from getting out. But even so, Max has the courage to stand up to this strange visitor and form a friendship with him. Better yet, Max makes a strong, if unlikely, case that this alien shouldn’t wipe out humanity after all. Will Max convince him? We’re not sure, but he’s the best shot we have. Syfy

HBO

Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen)

His Dark Materials

Her destiny is to save worlds. The heroine of this fantastical series, based on Philip Pullman’s novels, is pure magic. In helping to locate a kidnapped boy, the intrepid teen gets sucked into a cosmic battle that traverses parallel worlds and pits her against the seemingly all-powerful Magisterium. As she learns her calling, Lyra is captured — and betrayed — many times, even by her own mother, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson). But she forges ahead with a courage that belies her age. Her loyal daemon, Pan (voiced by Kit Connor), and her truth-seeing alethiometer are always at the ready, but it’s her singular determination that inspires us. HBO

Amazon Studios

Invincible (voiced by Steven Yeun)

Invincible

He’s the only hope of stopping aliens bent on conquering Earth. Imagine if Superman had been sent to Earth not to protect the planet but to lay the groundwork for an invasion. Worse, imagine he’s your dad. That’s the scenario for Mark Grayson — son of Omni-Man (voiced by J.K. Simmons) — who’s also trying to balance homework, girls, and all the other things that go along with being a typical teenager. Unfortunately for Mark, he has to try to stop Omni-Man while learning how to master all his newly acquired, incredible powers. It takes courage to stand against your own father when you know he’s doing something wrong. For Mark, it means standing against his entire race. That’s true strength. Prime Video

Boris Martin/The CW

Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell)

Legacies

Facing a supernatural monster? You want her on your side. A witch-vampire-werewolf “tribrid,” Hope Mikaelson is one of a kind. Since no one else is like her, she selflessly faces extreme challenges on her own, doing what’s right for schoolmates, teachers, townspeople, and others. Saving the world over and over again has cost her dearly, though. (At the end of Season 1 of this spinoff of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, for example, the result was that no one even remembered her — a particularly painful sacrifice for this good-natured heroine.) Through it all, Hope bears a burden that would break even the toughest of supernatural beings. And we gotta say that gives us, well, hope. The CW