All 18 Marvel Live Action TV Shows Ranked

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All 18 Marvel Live Action TV Shows Ranked

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
Welcome to WatchMojo and today we're ranking every live-action Marvel TV show. For this list, we'll be looking at every series this company produced between 2013-2021 and determining the worst and best of the bunch. So, sorry fans of the 1970s Spider-Man, but we won't be including him on this list. We'll also leave out animated series because they could make a list of their own. Since we'll be getting into some specific details about these shows, beware of spoilers ahead. Our countdown includes "Agent Carter" (2015-16), "WandaVision" (2021), "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (2013-20), "Legion" (2017-19), and more!
Transcript
Script written by Johnny Reynolds

#18: “Inhumans” (2017)


This series follows a group of beings known as Inhumans who secretly live on the moon and tend to have special powers. After a few notable Inhumans debuted on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” fans were eager to meet a royal family of these enhanced humans on a new show. Unfortunately, that excitement was utterly wasted. The series was criticized for its dull storyline, unsympathetic characters and questionable CGI. It also featured truly awful dialogue. Even releasing the first two episodes on IMAX screens for a limited run didn’t help matters. It was a huge bomb at the box office and across living room screens that Marvel would probably prefer you forgot about.

#17: “Helstrom” (2020)


A Marvel horror series based on comic characters that are children of the devil sounded incredible. But the “Helstrom” show was all style and no substance. The series followed half-demon siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom as they hunted demons that possessed innocents. While the visuals were impressive, the show was held back by uninteresting family drama and flat characters. It came off as a cheap knock off of “Supernatural” that took itself way too seriously. Since it was released right before Disney+ offered a slew of new Marvel content that was tied into the MCU, there wasn’t much reason for viewers to tune in. The series was quickly cancelled just two months after it debuted.

#16: “Iron Fist” (2017-18)


After the first 3 Netflix Marvel shows had strong debuts, hype was high for “Iron Fist’s” first season. The show was all about a man named Danny Rand who was trained by monks to become a martial arts master. But his training couldn’t prevent many of his fight scenes from looking lackluster. Outside of disappointing choreography, Danny’s tendency to whine made it hard to root for him. When combined with monotonous boardroom meetings and insufferable supporting characters, the show was a slog to watch. The second season fared better thanks to a more engaging story and smaller episode count. And Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing was always a highlight. However, its smart updates weren’t enough to make this show beloved in the long run.

#15: “The Gifted” (2017-19)


Before Disney bought Fox, they produced a show about mutants. “The Gifted'' made the bold choice to set its story in a world where the main X-Men team disappeared. So, when Caitlin and Reed Strucker discover their children are mutants, they have to turn to an underground mutant organization. While some of their familial drama works really well throughout the series, they weren’t always the most interesting part of the show. But “The Gifted” did introduce a few great characters. Mutants like Blink, Thunderbird, and Polaris all had interesting stories and motivations. They also took part in some stunning action scenes. Although “The Gifted” wasn’t a perfect mutant story, it was still a fun ride while it lasted.

#14: “The Defenders” (2017)


While this show was certainly a step-up from “Iron Fist,” the Netflix hero team-up still fell short of expectations. Since the show only had 8 episodes, it tended to rush through events and didn’t always give its heroes equal time to shine. And the big bads weren’t as threatening as they were built up to be. However, it was still a delight seeing these heroes interact with each other. Pairings like Daredevil and Jessica Jones or Luke Cage and Danny Rand were both incredibly enjoyable to watch. And seeing them all fight as a team still made us cheer as they vanquished their foes. Although the series was uneven, we’re still a little bummed that all the Defenders didn’t get another chance to unite.

#13: “Cloak & Dagger” (2018-19)


One of Marvel’s most dynamic duos got to step in the live-action spotlight when “Cloak & Dagger” premiered. After two teens gained powers in the wake of an oil rig collapse, they went on to have vastly different upbringings. Their contrasting backgrounds and powers made them feel like they were two sides of the same coin. The interesting relationship between the duo was navigated well by actors Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt. While some aspects of the plot could feel a bit melodramatic, there was still plenty to like. The show handled topical issues like prejudice extraordinarily well. And their unique powers gave us visually stunning action scenes. “Cloak & Dagger” was ultimately a well-shot show with a great superhero duo and strong messages.

#12: “The Punisher” (2017-19)


Following his incredible guest appearance on “Daredevil,” Jon Bernthal was given a shot at his own show. It was packed with the brutal violence the character has always been known for. Outside of the R-rated action, the show explored Frank’s fractured mental state. It also tackled issues veterans face every day. While not everyone in the supporting cast was as engaging as Frank, villains like the traitorous Billy Russo kept us glued to the screen. And the show wasn’t afraid to shake up the dynamic by giving the Punisher a surrogate daughter in the second season. Although Frank consistently delivered violent justice throughout the series, the show still gave its complex themes and anti-hero plenty of room to grow.

#11: “Runaways” (2017-19)


After discovering their wealthy parents are sacrificing teens to a powerful alien, six kids rebel and go on the run. Each of them has a superpower, gadget or unique talent. This group of special individuals grow closer together as they fight to survive and stop their parents’ evil plans. Each of the young heroes fit into their role nicely. Not only is it fun to see them combine their abilities, but it’s also great to see them mature as the series goes on. Since the Runaways were up against some truly terrifying villains, they needed every advantage they could get. Watching the heroes persevere through every struggle thanks to a little teen attitude may inspire you to fight the man.

#10: “Legion” (2017-19)


“Legion” was another show about mutants that benefitted from a terrific lead performance by the underrated Dan Stevens. The show chronicles the troubled life of David Haller, an immensely powerful psychic diagnosed with schizophrenia. He becomes entangled in a conflict between a group of mutants and a shady government agency. Stevens absolutely crushed the role in a show full of consistently jaw-dropping and impressive visuals. And due to Haller’s unique mind and varied powers, “Legion” got creative about how he perceived the world in different episodes. The series also let comic talents like Jemaine Clement and Aubrey Plaza play fantastic villains. All the risks “Legion” took resulted in a Marvel show that looked and felt like no other.

#9: “Agent Carter” (2015-16)


Hayley Atwell was one of the strongest elements of “The First Avenger.” Fortunately, the MCU got to bring her back in a standalone series. The series showed us how Peggy handled dangerous missions while living in a world where she didn’t always get respect. Whether she was triumphing over a big bad or sexism, we were all rooting for Peggy in each and every scene. Atwell’s great performance was supported by standout characters like Howard Stark and his hilarious butler Edwin Jarvis. Despite critical praise, the series was cancelled after two seasons due to low viewership. But if you haven’t seen the show, the series is an awesome way to get more insight into the great Peggy Carter’s life.

#8: “Luke Cage” (2016-18)


Bulletproof hero Luke Cage starred in a show that highlighted one of Marvel’s most prominent Black heroes. Set in New York City’s Harlem, the series captured the neighborhood’s distinct culture while also tackling social issues and the occasional supervillain. Mike Colter quickly proved he was the right man to fix Harlem. He gave a nuanced performance that showcased Luke’s struggle to step out of the shadows and be the hero everyone needed. While the show didn’t always handle its villains well, it always shined when it focused on rising heroes like Misty Knight. And the series also cultivated an incredible soundtrack full of notable African-Americans singers to underscore its scenes. “Luke Cage” was truly a love letter to both the character and Black culture.

#7: “Jessica Jones” (2015-19)


Heroine Jessica Jones seemed to live in a sinister place full of deceitful people. Although she isn’t always enthusiastic about solving crimes, there’s no other sleuth we’d want on the case. An accident led to Jessica getting superpowers. Unfortunately, the tragic experiences she had while being mind controlled by the sadistic Kilgrave left her with deep emotional scars. Seeing Jessica struggle to process her past while saving lives made her into a truly engaging protagonist. The series was at its best when she faced David Tennant’s villainous Kilgrave. While no one quite matched his heights, a few surprising antagonists along the way kept things interesting. All of Jessica’s ups and downs played out in a Noir setting we’d love to revisit again.

#6: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (2013-20)


The first official MCU show followed Agent Phil Coulson and his team of specialists dealing with supernatural and extraterrestrial threats. While the show got off to an uneven start because it was too focused on incorporating events from the movies, it eventually found its own identity. As the series progressed, the group’s dynamic grew incredibly strong and we came to adore every team member. Ming-Na Wen’s May and Chloe Bennet’s Daisy were only a couple of the show’s great characters. They appeared in a wide range of storylines that covered everything from Ghost Rider confrontations to world-ending disasters. After watching the thrilling adventures of these agents, you might want to sign up to join S.H.I.E.L.D. too.

#5: “Hawkeye” (2021)


Shortly after Kate Bishop puts on the Ronin suit, New York City’s tracksuit mafia comes after her. Clint Barton is forced to team up with her and confront the fact that he used to wear the outfit. Although the series has lower stakes than most MCU projects, the action scenes are incredibly strong. The show also gives Jeremy Renner a chance to dive into Hawkeye’s emotional journey. And whether Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate is showing off her archer expertise or getting on Clint’s last nerve, she’s very entertaining to watch. This tale of two archers makes the best of its grounded feel to give us accurate and complex portraits of a rising heroine and a weathered hero.

#4: “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (2021)


After the events of “Endgame”, Cap chose Sam to take up the shield. But the events of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” made it clear that carrying the mantle wasn’t going to be simple. Layered antagonists like John Walker and Karli Morgenthau gave Sam physical and philosophical challenges to overcome. While the show’s action was as big and satisfying as any MCU film, the series was at its strongest when dealing with topical issues. The idea of what it means for a Black man to be Captain America was explored from many angles. At the same time, we saw the former winter soldier grapple with PTSD and forgiveness. Fortunately, Captain America and Bucky rose above their challenges in a fantastic series.

#3: “Loki” (2021-)


When Loki escaped his grim destiny in “Endgame”, time police known as the TVA arrested him for not following his predetermined path. The trickster god then makes a deal with the organization to track an alternate version of himself in the hopes he can stay alive. The absurd TVA workplace was always fun to play around in. But since Tom Hiddleston’s Loki has chemistry with pretty much all of the cast, we didn’t mind when he stepped out. Over the course of the series, his interactions with people trying to defy fate made him grow as a person. And the way the show’s events altered the course of the MCU made it a must-watch for fans. Loki’s adventures got off to a spectacular start here.

#2: “WandaVision” (2021)


“WandaVision” is one of the most unique Disney+ series so far. The show gets props for building a plot where characters paid tributes to light sitcoms while setting up dark mysteries. And since the show came out weekly, fans spent lots of time sharing their unique theories about every little detail. But none of the mystery or sitcom antics would’ve worked without Elizabeth Olsen’s Emmy-nominated work as Wanda. Her fight to protect Paul Bettany’s tremendous Vision and her children while keeping herself together was incredibly compelling. During Wanda's journey, the writers introduced new fan favorites like Monica Rambeau and, of course, Agatha Harkness. We can't wait to see them all enchant us again thanks to this spellbinding show.

#1: “Daredevil” (2015-18)


Netflix’s first Marvel series revolved around a lawyer named Matt Murdock whose eyesight was seriously affected in an accident. Since this incident improved his other senses, he decided to use his enhanced abilities to fight crime as Daredevil. Due to Matt’s strong moral compass, he struggled with his guilt while punching goons in morally grey situations. Fortunately for us, Daredevil still fought bad guys in jaw-dropping fight sequences. The only part of the show better than the gritty confrontations was Vincent D'Onofrio’s iconic performance as the villain Kingpin. Sparks flew every time he confronted Daredevil. Although we’re not sure how writers combined this rivalry, legal drama and fight scenes into one great show, we’re certainly glad they did.
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...I completely forgot about Daredevil