It seems that there’s a new Marvel TV show every month or so – and that’s probably because there actually is. With all of the live action television Marvel is making, has made, and is probably going to make – it’s worth putting all of their TV shows in a list and noting what’s worth watching and what isn’t.
Because of Marvel’s messy legal rights issues, I’m only including TV shows that are live action (animation could be a whole other list) – and that includes ones that are collaborations with other companies (like Fox).
10. Iron Fist (2017 – Present)
Aside from the whitewashing, Iron Fist suffers from poor storytelling, flat characters, and from minimizing the impact of the show’s female supporting characters. Skip it, and wait to meet Danny Rand in The Defenders.
9. Blade: The Series (2006)
This is a real thing. Set after the events of Blade III, an Iraq war veteran travels home to find out what happen to her brother. Her journey takes her face to face with Blade (not played by Wesley Snipes), and she becomes a daywalker like him. This series would be higher on the list if it had Wesley Snipes, but alas, it does not.
8. The Incredible Hulk (1977 – 1982)
Despite being an important piece of television history, The Incredible Hulk doesn’t hold up for a rewatch in today’s era. Still, it deserves recognition for the 82 episodes and multiple TV movies that were made. Don’t tell Lou Ferrigno you don’t like the show, though. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
7. Daredevil (2015 – Present)
Daredevil gave Marvel TV the boost that it needed. The show helped prove that Marvel could tell darker stories (with help from Netflix, of course), and the first season was critically acclaimed. Though the second season wasn’t as good, it did give us the Punisher that we all have been waiting for – proving that this show is best when it’s propping up other Marvel characters.
6. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013 – Present)
Though the show had a rocky start, it has since grown into an action-based, surprisingly intellectual show. Balancing humor, heart, and action – the characters have been allowed to grow outside of their archetypes. Don’t be fooled by the story arc branding for the show’s marketing, the seasons tell singular, coherent stories and are well-told from start to end.
5. Legion (2017 – Present)
Set outside of both the MCU and Fox’s X-Men movie universe, the visuals of this show are stunning. Despite not even having finished its first seasons, the show has received critical acclaim for its cast, its storytelling, and its world building. It’s a perfect fit with FX’s lineup, a difficult feat for a channel with such highly praised programming.
4. Jessica Jones (2015 – Present)
Nobody could have guessed that the most poignant portrayal of sexual assault would have been told in a superhero TV show, but that’s what made Jessica Jones so amazing. For many viewers, Netflix’s superheroine came out of nowhere and kicked ass, took names, and drank a bottle of bourbon while she did it. Plus, a show that could have easily been driven by just one actress became exponentially stronger with David Tennant and Rachael Taylor.
3. Agent Carter (2015 – 2016)
Seen by many fans as a show that was canceled far too soon, Agent Carter was an excellently told story for fans of all ages. It was smart, it was funny, and its main characters kicked ass (regardless of what the rest of the world thought of the). Plus – Hayley Atwell has officially cemented her legacy as a geeky icon with her performance.
2. Luke Cage (2016 – Present)
This series is, without a doubt, the most important piece of culture that Marvel has put on screen. Its unflinching portrayal of race in the modern superhero age makes for an amazing story, and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker tells it flawlessly. If there’s one show on this list that you’re thinking of watching – make it this one.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man (1977 – 1979)
It’s no cultural masterpiece, but if there’s any show that highlights the insane fun of comic books – it’s this. This show needs to be seen to believed. It is SO ridiculous that it holds up amazingly well. Don’t believe me? Here’s a YouTube clip of the show’s opening. You’re welcome.