Best Marvel TV shows, ranked: 15 action-packed series to watch right now
These are the Marvel TV shows you should be watching.
It used to be that Netflix was the place to find the best Marvel TV shows but now that Diseny Plus is here and has established itself as a streaming giant, we now have a ton more Marvel TV shows to, well, Marvel at.
While we wait for the likes of She-Hulk and Hawkeye, the likes of WandaVision and Loki have proven that Marvel has still got what it takes to make amazing shows.
UPDATE: We've added What If...? to our best Marvel TV shows guide. While it is a lot more sombre than we were expecting, there are some brilliant moments in the show which features a number of alternative animated takes on the Marvel characters we all know and love.
Currently there are two types of Marvel TV show: the ones that do and the ones that don't share the connective tissue with the Daredevils (and Netflix) of the world.
Fox, as well as ABC, have been sporadic in their approach to its Marvel TV shows. They have managed to tempt illustrious TV show alumni, such as Noah Hawley with his subversive Legion, and gone for a Young Adult audience with the likes of The Runaways and Cloak and Dagger.
Then there’s the TV show that perhaps has the biggest link to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the best Avengers characters - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A show that has managed to improve season by season, culminating in a thrilling finale.
Below is a list of the 14 best Marvel TV shows (the live-action ones) to grace our screens - sorry Defenders and Iron Fist fans, but they just weren't good enough for this list - now it’s your job to choose which order they should be in, so don’t forget to upvote your favourites and use your (super)power to downvote those that just didn’t hit the mark.
And if we’ve missed your must watch, let us know in the comments below.
- Some Marvel shows even bag a place in our best Netflix TV shows list.
- These are the best Marvel movies, ranked
- How to watch the Marvel movies in order
The best Marvel TV shows
1. DaredevilStream now (on Netflix)
It wasn't going to be hard to surpass Ben Affleck in that woeful Daredevil movie (and, no, the extended cut does nothing to better the film), but the TV show of Daredevil did that and so much more. Charlie Cox is brilliant and brooding as Max Murdoch, the blind lawyer cum vigilante. Couple this with a likeable supporting cast and one of the best villains to ever grace a screen - Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin - and what you have are three sumptious, blood-soaked series. And those long camera takes will go down as some of the best shots to ever grace our small screens.
2. WandaVisionWatch on Disney Plus now
And there was you thinking that Legion was trippy! WandaVision is an absolute blast. While it is still streaming right now, the first few episodes are a joy and deserving of being on this list. Don't go in thinking this is one that is just like the movies, it's not. It's its own thing and takes some getting used to.
3. LokiWatch now on Disney Plus
Loki is a another Disney Plus classic. It start off a little bit slow, with the first two episodes packed with exposition but after that it's a frenetic, mind-bending tale. We catch up with Loki after he stole the tesseract and, well, his actions have cause ripples in the Marvel timeline and he's been told that he needs to help fix things. But all is not as it seems.
4. The PunisherStream now (on Netflix)
The Punisher shouldn't be as good as it is. The character is pretty one note - a vigilante army vet whose family have been massacred - and, well, lacking in super powers. But the first season of The Punisher paints a bleak, vivid portrayal of the character with Jon Bernthal adding much-needed gravitas to Frank Castle. The show is peppered with extreme violence, which keeps the hardcore fans happy but it's the quieter moments of the show that work best.
5. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.DView now at Amazon
The first Marvel TV show is something that began inherently tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - as Agent Coulson made the unlikely jump to the small screen (given, you know, what happened). The original premise was meant to be about the people behind the superheroes, the ones who had to clear up the mess and bring a little bit of balance back to the world. But the show soon span away from this, creating its own superheroes and, despite a dip after season 2, is six seasons in and still going strong and has followed the space-based continuity of the movies.
6. Jessica JonesView now on Amazon
Jessica Jones' third and final season is now available on Netflix - and while it's a fitting end to the character, it's a sad coda that represents the end of Netflix's love affair with Marvel. But let's not mourn, as what's left are three fantastic seasons charting the tale of super(hero) sleuth Jones, where she battles demons from her childhood, demons from the bottle and whatever other demons get in her way. While the arrival of David Tennant as Kilgrave in the first season isn't bettered, Krystan Ritter as the titular character is just sensational.
7. Agent CarterView now at Amazon
There's only two season of Agent Carter and that is unfair. Its refreshing to see a take on the Marvel universe that's a period piece and one that doesn't actually contain any superheroes. Instead, we have Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), an integral part of the Captain America story. She is teamed with Jarvis (James D'Arcy), the real butler of Howard Stark, Tony 'Iron Man' Stark's dad. The first season focuses on the 40s and the second in the 50s and they are good-natured, vintage romps.
8. LegionView now at Amazon
Fresh from reinvigorating Fargo for the small screen, Noah Hawley decided to take on perhaps the most powerful mutant that ever lived, Legion, the mutant son of Professor X. This is a psychedelic, squirming take on the character, complete with dance scenes, nightmare dreamscapes and a cast that's pretty much perfect. Dan Stevens is superb as Haller / Legion, but it's Aubrey Plaza who steals the show as one of the versions of Amahl Farouk, a mutant who's after Legion. The show is blistering funny in places, shocking in others, and it will end after Season 3 - so get on it now, if you haven't already.
9. The Falcon And The Winter SoldierWatch now on Disney Plus
We'll admit that this one nearly didn't make the list. Out of this, WandaVision and Loki, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is definitely the weaker effort by Disney. But it has its moments that are on a par, cinematically, with the Marvel movies.
10. Luke CageView now on Amazon
Marrying a decent hip-hop soundtrack with some big action set pieces and a nice dollop of humour, Luke Cage's first season was a lot of fun. It actually felt like two seasons in one by the end, though, given the dramatic shift midway through the season. The second season was a step up, making us wish there was a place in the world for a little more Cage.
11. Marvel's What If...?Watch now on Disney Plus
While this show is far darker than we wanted it to be (there is A LOT of death), What If...? does have its fun moments, such as Thor and Loki going on a big party, Agent Carter taking super serum and zombies! It also features the last voice work of Chadwick Boseman, which will bring a tear or two to your eyes.
12. MODOKWatch now on Star on Disney Plus
MODOK is one of the strangest Marvel shows to be released. It's a stop-motion comedy with MODOK - a supervillain - voiced by played by Patton Oswalt. This is more Robot Chicken than Loki, but it's brilliant, and brilliantly rude, in places. It also has pretty much the most Marvel Easter eggs you will find in any show.
13. Cloak & DaggerView now at Amazon
Created by ABC, Cloak & Dagger is a romance of sorts - it's about two teenagers who have superpowers Tandy Bowen (Dagger) and Tyrone Johnson (Cloak). The brilliance of the show is that while they both have powers, because of an accident at an oil refinery. it's when they combine their powers that they start to change the town they live in. There's a real love for these characters that raises this well above the normal young adult fare and while it's something of a slow burner, it's a great watch.
14. The GiftedView now at Amazon
Another Marvel TV show that was stopped before it really got going. The premise is great: a family is on the run from the government, as their children are mutants and that's a big no-no in this show's timeline. The great thing about this show, is that it's not really about how these people got their powers but how they must now hide and go to extremes to be themselves. Shelved after two seasons, The Gifted asks some pertinent questions about who the real enemies are and some brilliant mutant set pieces, too. There were only two seasons of the show which is a shame as there was so much more story to tell.
15. The RunawaysView now at Amazon
The Runaways is another Young Adult take on a Marvel franchise and it does well to balance its soap opera nature with some brilliant superhero scenes. Not that you would know from the first episode, though, as there's barely any supernatural elements to the show at all. But this is a good thing as it allows the show to introduce its characters in the right way, so your are rooting for them from the start.