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SYFY WIRE Marvel Cinematic Universe

Every Marvel show on Disney+, ranked from 'Daredevil' to 'Hawkeye'

Which piece of the MCU on the small screen is your favorite?

By Phil Pirrello
Hawkeye 106 PRESS

Hawkeye, the latest Marvel Studios original series, kept us very entertained with all six episodes of its action-packed two-hander that introduces Kate Bishop into the MCU. It marks the fifth brand-new series in the ever-expanding MCU canon, which got us thinking about everything we saw in 2021. The Marvel Studios series have given us a club-dancing Baron Zemo, Party Dude Thor, the delightful concept of Loki variants, and Sam Wilson as the new Captain America. A whole lotta story was packed in, and now, as of March 2022, the entire stable of Marvel shows that were formally exclusive to Netflix like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, as well as the ABC show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., have made their way to Disney+.

As we take stock of the growing library, SYFY WIRE has ranked all of the Marvel series we've seen so far, ranked from least to most marvelous.

11. Iron Fist

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Here's hoping you like rampant talk about harnessing the power of CHI! This series doesn't deserve all of the hate that it gets, but we're not gonna sit here and pretend that it's our favorite either. Finn Jones is never given much to do as Danny Rand, and the corporate storyline of his family business stalls out early but keeps on going. Not helping anything is the continued presence of The Hand, and we're ready for them to never be villains in any Marvel show ever again. Things were looking up in Season 2, though, before all of Netflix Marvel crashed. The highlight in Season 2, and the show as a whole, as always Jessica Henwick in the role of Colleen Wing. She's the best reason to watch any of this. 

10. The Defenders

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The big team-up event that put all of the Marvel Netflix heroes together was ultimately something to get through, not something to enjoy. Just our opinion, and we take no joy in writing it, but it's our truth. Despite some bright moments here and there (Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones sharing scenes, Luke Cage making Danny Rand better in any scene they were in), we can't help that this was a wasted opportunity. The presence of Sigourney Weaver should have made this electric, but her brilliance is wasted. The villains are, once again, the Hand. They were uninspired and not at all interesting, but they did force all of the characters from the various shows huddle together for safety. That was fun, at least. We're sure this is someone's favorite, but it's just not for us. 

9. The Punisher

The Punisher Season 2

After proving on Daredevil that Jon Bernthal is perfect in the role of Frank Castle, Netflix quickly gave him his own series. He contiunued to be great in the role, but there's a lot of this two-season show that doesn't feature him. When he's there, we're good. When he's not, we lose a little of our interest. This is a very bloody affair and when this show hits it hits hard, no question. It just feels very disconnected from every other show, including the other Netflix streamers. It's different in tone and in what kind of story it aims to tell. It's always worth it though, and as we've said, Bernthal is perfection. 

8. What If...

What If Still

The first anthology of the MCU, Marvel's What If…? brings the comics concept to life in the first animated Marvel Studios project in its history. Season 1 tells stories entirely within the Infinity Saga narrative, so it's very Avengers-centric, and that's not a bad thing at all. It opens with arguably one of its best episodes, giving Peggy Carter the super serum making her a rousing Captain Britain with Steve as her wing man in the HydraStomper suit. What If…? really soars when it uses its not-exactly-canon anthology format to take wild swings that wouldn't fit into the "main" MCU, like-like exploring T'Challa's alternate life as a Ravager or a Doctor Strange who uses his magic to do what he knows he should not and exploring those heartbreaking consequences. On the less successful side, the series had leaned into repeated deaths too often, and the two-part finale scaled up so fast that it didn't necessarily feel earned. Even so, What If…? is an exciting format and a great playground for the MCU to continue to explore alternate possibilities in going forward.

7. Luke Cage

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After 3 seasons of Mike Colter completely owning the role of Luke Cage, we can't help but think most fondly of the first half of Season 1. Why is that? Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth was the villain, and he was the best one that this series ever had. We're big fans of Black Mariah (Alfre Woodward) but when Cottonmouth went out, a little spark went with him. Still, Colter reigns supreme in the role, and the series always posited necessary questions about race in America. It didn't always have the answers, but it was the only superhero show (at the time) that was asking them. Like some of the other Netflix streamers, seasons of this series sometimes lost momentum midway through. It was (and is) necessary watching, but not all Luke Cage episodes are created equal. 

6. Jessica Jones

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Losing momentum mid-season is something that also happened on Jessica Jones, though just as Luke Cage benefitted from a brilliant Colter, Jessica Jones benefits from the perfectly cast Krysten Ritter. Season 1 of this series was easily our favorite, thanks in part to Colter's presence on it as Cage. His chemistry with Ritter was fantastic, and this is before we've even mentioned the big Season 1 villain. David Tennant as Kilgrave is one of the most horrifying big bads in all of Marvel, and the show used the character to tell all-too-real stories about abuse and survival. Sure, Jessica has super strength. She also has massive trauma that she refuses to deal with, a drinking problem, and a flagging business. She doesn't always make the right choices, yet we're always rooting for her. 

5. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

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The clear two-hander of the collection, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picks up where Steve Rogers left off after he handed the shield to Sam Wilson in Avengers: Endgame. But, does Sam want the mantle in a world not ready to embrace a Black Captain America? It's a huge topic to confront, and though there are times when the show really interrogates the role of race in American society, the series doesn't quite live up to its lofty goals.

Even though TFATWS ultimately falters on that point, there's plenty to appreciate in what it tried to say about racism and disparity through characters like Carl Lumbly's surviving super soldier, Isaiah Bradley, and Erin Kellyman's next-gen super soldier, Karli Morgenthau. All the while Wyatt Russell's John Walker served as a dark mirror to Captain America, showing that unfettered patriotism can easily rot the symbolism and spirit of the shield. The series was incredibly ambitious and had maybe two more storylines than it needed, but it certainly gave a lot of needed backstory and context to Sam and Bucky Barnes' relationship with each other and the absent man who brought them together. The two are still fun to watch squabble, but they were even more interesting to watch navigating a life without their best friend, Steve.

4. Loki

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From the moment Tom Hiddleston sauntered on screen as Loki, the trickster God and brother to Chris Hemsworth's Thor, we (and Marvel Studios) haven't been able to let go of the guy. While his demise in Avenger: Infinity War seemed permanent, only a show like Loki, which formally introduces the concept of multiple timelines into the MCU universe, could resurrect the character and not seem like a huge cheat. With its quirky design and existential exploration of self, Loki went deeper, and weirder and sillier than expected all to its benefit. Owen Wilson's turn as Mobius made this a quasi buddy-cop show with the two rubbing each other wrong, and then right, as the machinations of the TVA became more clear. The narrative also introduced a credible love interest and sparring partner in Sylvie (Sophia DiMartino) and a Phase 4 big bad with Jonathan Majors' equally odd, He Who Remains/Kang.

3. Daredevil

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IN FRONT OF VANESSA! The series that kicked off Marvel's Netflix initiative remains, for us, the best of the group. Season 1 had us hooked, we liked most of Season 2 (until the Hand came in and took over), and Season 3 might be perfect. Charlie Cox shines throughout as Matt Murdock, letting us see the exterior pain as well as what's going on inside. Is it coincidence that our favorite two seasons are the ones that focus on Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) as the villain? Not at all. He's transcendent, and he owns the screen every single moment. We truly fear for the man without fear whenever he faces Fisk, because anything can happen on this show. it should also be noted that the action scenes in this series, from the hallway onward, aren't really topped by any other show. Cox and D'Onofrio owned their roles to the point where fans would accept no one else, so when Murdock and Fisk reappeared, they weren't replaced. Will this series itself come back? What would a new Disney+ series of this show even look like? We don't know, but we want to see it. It's important for Vanessa, and for our city. 

2. Hawkeye

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It's impressive how many all-timer MCU moments Hawkeye packed into its all-too-brief first season, especially in its memorable third episode.

Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) headline this Christmas time-set two-hander that finds Clint struggling with the fallout of his Ronin days as Bishop's past and present collide in ways that will forever change her future and the MCU's. In between hilarious and inventive set pieces featuring the Tracksuit Mafia from the popular Matt Fraction comic that the show is based on, to the slow-burn reveal of a major character from Netflix's DaredevilHawkeye's street-level approach to expanding this corner of the MCU was can't-miss television. (Thanks in large part to a welcomed and interest bench of supporting players, as well, including Florence Pugh's scene-stealing Yelena and, of course, Pizza Dog.)

And its fitting that the show was set during Christmas in New York, as Clint faces a Scrooge-like reckoning of his past traumas in ways that help him try to be better than the man he was, or at least good enough to be worthy of the sacrifice Nat made for him to be here. 

1. WandaVision


Marvel Studios introduced themselves to the streaming world in the most audacious way possible with WandaVision. The show tried to do a lot of things at once: It was a mystery, a love letter to classic sitcoms, and a heartbreaking exploration of grief and lost love. Amazingly, WandaVision hit the bullseye on all three targets. (Eat your heart out, Hawkeye.) It also served as a showcase for the talents of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, who both only got minuscule big screen real estate because of the density of the films. In the series, we got to see their comedic timing, their chemistry, and the gravitas they always bring to the characters, just amplified. Plus, we got Agatha Harkness as a canon character, with Katherine Hahn stealing the show as the nosey next door neighbor hiding oh, so much. She so earned that theme song in mere hours, that she's getting her own Disney+ series with Agatha: House of Harkness. WandaVision raised the bar and remains the creative title to beat.