Marvel has become a force to be reckoned with on the small screen as well as the big screen in recent years. Here's how we rank every one of the 18 live-action Marvel series to date, from early efforts like "The Amazing Spider-Man" all the way through the current Marvel TV crop.
18. 'Marvel's Inhumans' (2017)
As much as we all love the MCU, it's had a few low points over the past decade. And none are lower than this short-lived ABC series. "The Inhumans" has neither than grandeur nor the budget to bring these colorful characters to life (even if the first episode was shown, disastrously, in IMAX theaters). The series got absolutely trashed by critics and ignored by audiences upon its debut, and we weren't at all surprised to see Marvel quietly cancel the show after one season.
17. 'Mutant X' (2001-2004)
As much as we wish shows like "The Gifted" had a few more ties to the iconic heroes and villains of the X-Men franchise, at least they aren't as bad as "Mutant X." This series spent three seasons existing as an X-Men show in name only. It captured little of the appeal of the comics, and we can't say we're surprised it's been all but forgotten in the 15 years since its abrupt cancellation.
16. 'Marvel's Iron Fist' (2017-2018)
"Iron Fist" is undoubtedly the weakest link in Netflix's lineup of Marvel shows. Star Finn Jones is less than convincing as a billionaire martial artist, and his enemies are even more bland. Season 1 is a painful slog. And while Season 2 improved on that formula, it was still too little, too late for Danny Rand.
15. 'The Amazing Spider-Man' (1977-1979)
You have to respect this show's place in Marvel history. It featured the first live-action depiction of Spider-Man (not counting the version seen on "The Electric Company") and helped pave the way for the blockbuster Marvel movies we know and love today. On the other hand, it was cheesy and dated even back in 1977, and the series hasn't exactly aged gracefully since.
14. 'Blade: The Series' (2006)
If "Blade: Trinity" killed that vampire-hunting hero's cinematic prospects, this TV series put the final nails in his coffin. We can respect the efforts this show made to replicate the style and action of the movies, but the production values just weren't there. The best that be be said for "Blade: The Series" is that it was very much ahead of its time, in the sense of introducing a darker, more serialized TV take on a classic Marvel hero.
13. 'Marvel's The Defenders' (2017)
As the culmination of Netflix's shared Marvel Universe up to that point, "The Defenders" didn't quite deliver on the hype. Sure, it was great seeing these four heroes sharing the same screen at long last, but the story didn't measure up. It's not too surprising Netflix never tried to set the stage for a follow-up. They just let a building fall on this one.
12. 'The Gifted' (2017-current)
While it lacks the wit and flavor of "Legion," "The Gifted" is a solid attempt at tackling a more traditional X-Men story on the small screen. The series makes strong use of the mutant metaphor as it explores the plight of a two mutant teens on the run from the government. We do wish the series featured a few more mainstream X-Men players, but it carves its own niche just the same.
11. 'Spider-Man' (1978)
This Japanese series took Spider-Man in a much different and more campy direction in 1978. Here Spidey was re-imagined as a tokusatsu hero who often summoned a giant robot called Leopardon to battle giant monsters. It may play fast and loose with the source material, but there's a real charm to this series that helps it hold up much better than most superhero fare from the time.
10. 'Marvel's Luke Cage' (2016-2018)
Had the entirety of "Luke Cage" been as good as the first half of Season 1, it might have placed higher on this list. Unfortunately, the show lost some of its momentum after a major story swerve. Season 2 proved more consistent, but it never felt like this show lived up to its full potential before its untimely cancellation. Still, it's one of the best-looking and sounding shows Marvel has put out.
9. 'Marvel's Jessica Jones' (2015-2019)
The first season of "Jessica Jones" may well be the high point of Netflix and Marvel's partnership. A compelling lead character, an equally memorable villain and dark, emotionally resonant storytelling all combine to form a gripping detective series. Season 2 unfortunately couldn't live up to that high standard. We'll see if the forthcoming Season 3 recaptures some of that lost magic.
8. 'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger' (2018-present)
Some Marvel fans might have been hesitant at the prospect of the MCU expanding on the network formerly known as ABC Family. Luckily, "Cloak & Dagger" has proven to be one of the better Marvel TV projects in recent memory. The series banks on the strength of its two leads and some surprisingly dark themes, both elements helping to offset the show's sometimes sluggish narrative.
7. 'Marvel's Agents of SHIELD' (2013-present)
"Agents of SHIELD" was the first major TV project to be set in the ever-growing MCU. It's a shame it took the show almost a full season to start living up to its potential. While a very slow burn at first, the series eventually springboards off the events of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" to become a much different and more enjoyable beast. Since then, "Agents of SHIELD" has carved out a comfortable niche for itself as it fleshes out the shadowy underbelly of the MCU.
6. 'Marvel's Runaways' (2017-present)
It's tough to picture a contemporary Marvel comic better suited to TV than "Runaways." Fortunately, Hulu's first Marvel project lives up to that potential. Rather than struggle to connect to the larger MCU, this series settles in with a group of teens who discover their parents are actually supervillains running Los Angeles' criminal underworld. It's a great teen drama first and foremost and an even better comic book romp after that.
5. 'The Incredible Hulk' (1978-1982)
"The Incredible Hulk" was a truly groundbreaking comic book series, showing just how well Marvel's stable of heroes could work on the small screen given the right pitch. If far smaller in scope than the various Hulk movies that followed, this series has a charm all its own. No Hulk project has done a better job of capturing the fundamental tragedy of being David Bruce Banner and constantly wandering the country in search of a refuge that never arrives.
4. 'Marvel's The Punisher' (2017-2019)
The various Punisher movies have gotten certain aspects of the franchise down, but it was only with the Netflix series that we got to see a fully realized, cohesive take on Frank Castle take shape. "The Punisher" gave us the best Frank Castle yet thanks to Jon Bernthal, casting him less as an all-purpose vigilante than as a grieving soldier seeking revenge on those who sent him to war. And while the series only lasted two seasons, it managed to bring Frank's story to a fitting conclusion.
3. 'Marvel's Agent Carter' (2015-2016)
While we only recently got a female-driven MCU movie thanks to "Captain Marvel," the TV branch of the MCU has been well ahead of the curve. "Agent Carter" filled in some crucial gaps in the MCU timeline, showing how Peggy Carter moved forward after Steve Rogers' apparent death and battled rampant sexism and sinister double agents to help build the fledgling SHIELD organization. It's a shame the series wasn't given more than two short seasons, but what we got was a ton of fun.
2. 'Legion' (2017-2019)
"Legion" is every bit as daring and quirky a series as we would expect from a showrunner like Noah Hawley. This X-Men-adjacent series revolves around Professor X's son David, a mutant struggling with a particularly nasty case of multiple personality disorder. The series is both mind-bendingly surreal and incredibly witty, making for a terrific change of pace from the usual superhero fare. It's also, undoubtedly, the most visually stunning entry on this list.
1. 'Marvel's Daredevil' (2015-2018)
The first of Netflix and Marvel's collaborations has now become the standard by which all live-action Marvel shows are judged. Over the course of three seasons, "Daredevil" has painted a stunning portrait of tortured hero Matt Murdock an done right by his incredible supporting cast. The series can lay claim to at least two of the absolute best villains in the MCU. Of all the Netflix/Marvel shows, "Daredevil's" cancellation hurts the most, and we can only hope Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock has a future on some other platform.