Every Marvel Show on Disney Plus, Ranked From Worst to Best
Disney+ has been quickly building up an impressive array of Marvel content on its platform. First, the platform began releasing original Marvel TV shows that share continuity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This gave us series such as WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye. Beginning in March 2022, Disney also began the process of migrating its other original Marvel series over.
Originally, the Defenders franchise had found its home on Netflix and encompassed several different series, including Daredevil, The Defenders, and Luke Cage. Two past Marvel series that had aired on ABC, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, were also available to stream on Netflix. However, in March, all of those shows were taken off of Netflix and quickly made available to stream on Disney+. Hence, all of Marvel’s live-action TV series are now consolidated on Disney+.
This makes for a whopping total of 18 live-action Marvel series on Disney+, and that number is only continuing to grow. The year 2023 will be ripe with Marvel Disney+ original series as it will see the releases of Secret Invasion, Echo, Loki (season 2), Ironheart, and more. Here’s every live-action Marvel series on Disney+ so far, ranked worst to best.
Inhumans is the only Marvel show on this list that was unequivocally a failure. Inhumans follows the Inhuman Royal Family who, after a military coup, barely escape to Hawaii. Once there, they must overcome internal conflict to save the world and themselves. The series premiered on ABC in 2017 and ran for only one season before it was canceled. However, Anson Mount, who portrayed Black Bolt, recently reprised his role for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Inhumans scraped by with a meager 11% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been slammed by critics and Marvel fans alike. Perhaps, the biggest problem was that the show appeared extremely cheap, which is odd for a Marvel production. The costumes, visual effects, and set design was so poorly put together, that the characters honestly looked like cosplayers at times. Not only that, but it was painfully dull and did not come close to doing justice to the colorful, vibrant, and powerful Inhuman Royal Family.
17. Iron Fist
Iron Fist was one of the only Defenders shows that really missed its mark. The series hit Netflix in 2017 and saw Finn Jones as Danny Rand—a man who returns home to New York City after being presumed dead for 15 years. Once home, he must reclaim his family’s business from the Meachum family, while also balancing his secret identity as Iron Fist. The series received largely negative reviews and was canceled after two seasons.
Jones, unfortunately, wasn’t very convincing as Iron Fist, lacking the acting skills and martial arts background necessary for the role. Meanwhile, the show was dragged down by a very poor script and limited character development. One of the few charms of Iron Fist was Jessica Henwick’s stellar performance as Colleen Wing. However, otherwise, there’s really nothing else in this series that stood out or solidified it.
16. The Punisher
After first appearing as Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher) in Daredevil, Jon Bernthal went on to lead his solo series The Punisher. The show follows Castle’s continued mission of vengeance against those responsible for the deaths of his family. However, he finds that the criminal underworld goes much deeper than what was done to him and sets off to fight it in the most lethal way possible.
The Punisher received some mixed reviews, but it certainly wasn’t a bad series. Bernthal’s portrayal of Punisher is nothing short of iconic. Still, the show was hurt by a very slow start and remains a bit shaky and predictable throughout. Also, the Punisher has always been a bit of a problematic character since his brutality is markedly wrong, regardless if his motive is seemingly right. Having a series devoted to him made it a little more difficult to find him relatable and almost seems to glorify his violence.
15. The Defenders
The Defenders was an exciting crossover event and the culmination of four of Netflix’s Marvel series. The show brought together a vigilante team consisting of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Jones). After heading their respective solo series’ on Netflix, these four vigilantes teamed up in New York to fight a common enemy—The Hand.
The Defenders was a huge delight, especially for fans of Netflix’s other Marvel series. The plot was strong, the dynamic between the team was unique, and it nicely balanced all of its characters. However, while The Defenders is a solid crossover event, it’s still far from perfect. The show suffered from pacing issues and was a bit dragged down by the return of Iron Fist. Also, the series doesn’t properly introduce each of the characters and their stories, leaving those who haven’t watched the other series likely to feel a bit lost. Still, these minor flaws are hardly noticeable amidst the show’s positives.
14. Luke Cage
Luke Cage premiered on Netflix in 2016 and introduced Colter as Cage, a man who gained super strength and unbreakable skin following a sabotaged experiment. In the series, Cage returns to his hometown of Harlem as a fugitive, struggling to get his life back together. However, when his city comes under threat, he’ll have to abandon his quiet life and confront his past to become Harlem’s hero.
Luke Cage was an excellent series that received highly positive reviews and won a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award. The series offered strong performances across the board and was socially conscious. In addition to this, Colter absolutely nailed the role of Cage, providing a nuanced and soulful take on the hero. Despite strong social messages, performances, and themes, the show did suffer from uneven pacing and the plot and villains are underwhelming at times.
Runaways premiered on Hulu in 2017 and is, perhaps, one of the most unique shows on this list. The series follows a group of teenagers who unite against their villainous parents and attempt to stop them from creating the supervillain organization, Pride. However, taking a stand against their parents leads to them living on the run.
The series boasts a unique premise, a very diverse cast, and a solid and emotional narrative. One wouldn’t think a series of teen heroes would work so well, but Runaways does. It’s all about a group of teens finding their power and their voice while uniting against an evil force. Runaways also finds a nice balance between the drama genre and superhero genre. The only flaw is that the show suffers from predictability and seems a little tentative to dive as deep into the characters and themes as it could have.
12. The Falcon and Winter Soldier
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was Marvel’s second original Disney+ series and sets up a 4th Captain America film. The series follows the mismatched duo, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) as they contend with a new threat known as the Flag Smashers. The Flag Smashers are enhanced with a recreation of the Super Soldier Serum and believe that the world was better during the Blip.
This series definitely benefited from its exploration of social and political topics. Not only did it explore the connotations of society’s response to having a Black man take up Captain America’s shield, but also the stubbornness of politicians and the fallout when the government fails to protect its people. It boasts a strong dynamic between Bucky and Wilson, as well as a poignant exploration of their grief. However, the show suffered from a poor plot, inconsistent tone, and very poorly developed villains. The villains were predictable and unrelatable, and the show couldn’t really decide what it wanted to be. As a result, it had some compelling messages, but a plot that didn’t complement them.
11. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premiered on August 18, 2022, and proved to be one of the MCU’s most daring and unexpected ventures. The series follows Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) a career-oriented and top-notch lawyer who happens to be the cousin of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). When the two suffer a car wreck while traveling, some of Banner’s Hulk blood enters into a cut on Walters’ arm, allowing her to transform into She-Hulk. Walters finds her life uprooted as she balances being a She-Hulk with being a lawyer, and begins specializing in superhuman affairs. Additionally, she faces sexism and harassment from misogynists who can’t stand the idea of a woman being a successful lawyer and a Hulk.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a delight to watch and one of the most comedic MCU projects so far. It also boldly tackles the raging issues of sexism. A large portion of the show is a very serious conversation on how women are treated in today’s society where communities like Incels exist. Only the most cold-hearted, delusional viewers will fail to sympathize with Walters, who is treated terribly, used, and attacked for merely being a woman. Despite a strong message and comedic merit, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law suffers gravely from holding very few ties to the MCU as a whole, as well as poor pacing and multiple underdeveloped storylines, that result in underdeveloped and nonpurposive characters (hello, Titania).
10. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones hit Netflix on 2015 and its first season definitely made me think Marvel had dropped their best series yet. The series follows one of Marvel’s darker characters, Jones (Ritter), a mysterious woman whose short-lived career as a superhero ended in trauma and tragedy. After her superhero career ends, she works quietly as a private investigator. However, when Kilgrave (David Tennant), the man who ended her career, resurfaces, Jones must rise to stop him.
Ritter provided a compelling and nuanced portrayal of Jones, a woman struggling against her own demons. The series was also very unrestrained and delved deeper into mature themes and content. In doing so, it realistically and poignantly explores the human condition, inner conflict, and trauma. Honestly, Jessica Jones first series was as close to perfection as a show can get. Unfortunately, seasons 2 and 3 were good but definitely not great. The show lost its edge after season 1, showed a noticeable decline in storytelling, and was, on the whole, just a bit lackluster. Still, Ritter’s performance remained solid from the beginning of the show to its ending.
9. Agent Carter
Even though it has been about 6 years, I am still mad that ABC canceled this gem of a Marvel show. Agent Carter premiered on ABC in 2015 and ran for two seasons. The series follows Peggy Carter (Haley Atwell) who is working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) post-World War II. While balancing work for the SSR with her chauvinistic fellow agents, she is also secretly helping Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) clear his name after being framed for supplying deadly weapons to the USA’s enemies.
Atwell portrayed Carter exceptionally, as she has done every time she’s reprised the role. Her dynamic heroism was the backbone of the show. Meanwhile, the agent plot was mysterious and well done, the show boasted a fun vintage flair, and it created origin stories for multiple Marvel characters. While the second season faltered in trying to find a strong storyline, the cast’s performances largely made up for that. Sadly, despite receiving glowing reviews, Agent Carter had low viewership and was cut by ABC. Now that it’s on Disney+, maybe it’s time for Marvel to revisit this show.
Hawkeye was Marvel’s holiday-themed miniseries focused on Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). The six-episode series premiered in November of 2021 and saw Barton forced to team up with Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) to confront enemies from his past. While all Barton wants is to make it home in time for Christmas, he is still haunted by his past as Ronin and must contend with those seeking vengeance.
This series proved to be a fun holiday twist on a strong Marvel origin story. Hawkeye both introduced Steinfeld’s Bishop, while also further examining one of the lesser-known Avengers and his Ronin storyline. Additionally, Alaqua Cox’s debut as Echo was a show-stealer, as was Florence Pugh’s reprisal of Yelena Belova. Finally, Vincent D’Onofrio’s return as Kingpin was the icing on the cake. It’s not a particularly deep or intricate show. However, it’s fun, exciting, heartwarming, and relatable. This is one series that excels by not doing too much and focusing on being simply enjoyable.
7. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is what started it all, as it was the very first TV series set in the MCU. The series ran on ABC from 2013 – 2020 and boasted a total of 7 seasons. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows high ranking agent, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who puts together a specialized team of elite agents to investigate strange occurrences across the globe. They frequently find themselves contending with Hydra, as well as meeting powerful Inhumans.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s longevity isn’t surprising as it was quite a phenomenal series. With a stellar cast, connection to the comic books, exciting guest stars, and strong character development, the series really flourished. Not only that, but it had a seemingly endless supply of mysterious, dark, and thrilling adventures for the characters to handle each season. While it started off a little slow and shaky, by season 3 it really found its stride and each season thereafter was intriguing and impressive. Of course, with it’s spot as the very first Marvel series, we didn’t quite know everything Marvel could do with a TV series back then. That’s why some of Marvel’s newer content has managed to eclipse Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
6. Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel premiered on Disney+ on June 8th, 2022, and rose to become the MCU’s highest-rated project on Rotten Tomatoes. The series follows Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a typical 16-year-old who fangirls over the Avengers and gets frustrated by her overbearing parents. However, her life all changes when a bangle inherited from her great-grandmother, awakens superpowers within her. Khan eagerly sets out to be a superhero but finds it harder than it looks. She struggles to balance school and superhero duties, while also keeping secrets from her friends and family. Meanwhile, she faces a very formidable enemy that requires her to delve into her family history to face.
Ms. Marvel is one of the best Marvel Disney+ shows when it comes to heart, freshness, and diversity. The show features the MCU’s first Muslim superhero and poignantly delves into Khan’s life as a Pakistani-American, as well as the history of her people. Meanwhile, Khan’s charisma and her family dynamics give way to a heartfelt story. The diversity, historical emphasis, and Vellani’s performance make Ms. Marvel a fresh breath of air for the MCU. However, it has received criticism for its framing of and association with Djinn. It also suffers from poor pacing and, while it gives Khan a strong origin story, it fails to fully develop the ClanDestines’ and DODC plot, leaving some to be desired.
5. Moon Knight
Moon Knight is the newest Disney+ Marvel original series and is one of the most unique. The series follows Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac), a mercenary who serves as the avatar for the Moon God, Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham). However, Spector also suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID) and must learn to work with his other personality, Steven Grant, to stop the religious cult leader, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), from awakening Ammit.
The series definitely explored much darker territory than we’re accustomed to. It was also unique in its exploration of DID and Egyptian mythology. Meanwhile, the performances from Oscar, Hawke, and May Calamawy were stellar. In addition to being unique, the plot was also strong, mysterious, and boasted unexpected twists and turns. Moon Knight is wild, even weird, but it’s a refreshing, different side of Marvel. The only real downfall was that the ending was very underwhelming. The conclusion simply couldn’t match the tone and grandeur of the rest of the series. What’s strange is that the series definitely gives you the feeling of building up to something huge. Hence, the actual lackluster ending leaves the series almost feeling incomplete.
Loki premiered in 2021 and finally fulfilled every Loki fan’s dream of a solo project for the God of Mischief. The series focuses on an alternate Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who created a new timeline when he managed to steal the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame. However, the mysterious Time Variance Authority (TVA) catches up with him and decides to utilize him against a bigger threat they face.
Loki, perhaps, boasted the smoothest transition from the big screen to the small screen. Hiddleston jumps back into the role of Loki as if no time has passed at all. Meanwhile, Loki finally gives him a substantial story arc and we get to see the anti-hero side of him, as well as his romantic side. Owen Wilson also surprisingly boasts an incredible dynamic with Hiddleston onscreen, as does Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie. The plot, meanwhile, is evenly paced and mysterious, ending in a satisfying conclusion that left us eager for season 2. The only real flaw is that it was meant to “explain” the multiverse, leading to there being some pretty dense episodes information-wise and mild restriction to the plot.
3. Werewolf by Night
Werewolf by Night is a TV special that premiered on Disney+ on October 7, 2022. The Halloween special follows Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal), a lycanthrope, or werewolf, who heads to Bloodstone manor along with a band of other monster hunters. The hunters are gathered to pay their respects to the late Ulysses Bloodstone, a legendary monster hunter who wishes to find an heir to his powerful relic, the Bloodstone. Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly), Ulysses’ estranged daughter, also shows up in hopes of claiming the family relic. However, things take a brutal and bloody turn when the hunters are pitted against one another and a frightful monster to determine who gets the Bloodstone.
Werewolf by Night proved to be one of the MCU’s best television works so far. Its tone, simple visual effects, and the predominantly black-and-white picture will transport you straight back in time to 1930s horror. Werewolf by Night is a clever throwback to vintage horror, as well as a reinventing of the beloved TV specials of the 60s and 70s. In addition to the unique take, Werewolf by Night also boasted pheromonal performances from all three leads and balanced humor and campiness with macabre thrills. Meanwhile, Michael Giacchino’s score and directing were nothing short of brilliant. Werewolf by Night took an ambitious departure from Marvel’s typical projects and proved enormously successful in doing so.
Netflix showed some real gall when they cancelled this critically acclaimed series in 2018 after 3 seasons. However, recent reports suggest Disney+ is developing another Daredevil series, so my broken-heartedness is somewhat relieved. Daredevil follows Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a lawyer-by-day who fights crime at night as a masked vigilante. Murdock boasts heightened senses after being blinded as a child in an accident and uses his abilities to fight against the criminal underworld that’s led by Wilson Fisk (D’Onofrio).
The series as a whole is phenomenal, but Cox’s performance as Murdock is hands-down the highlight of the show. His performance is nothing short of iconic and he fulfills the role so well, you simply can’t imagine anyone else as Daredevil. Meanwhile, he is complemented wonderfully by D’Onofrio’s iconic performance as Kingpin. Additionally, the show delves into some dark territory, while exploring moral conflicts and the nature of justice. It’s brooding tone manifests itself delightfully in everything from plot to score to the tantalizing cinematography. Season 2 floundered just a bit, without Kingpin as the main villain. However, season 1 and season 3 were as close to flawless as a TV show can get.
WandaVision was the very first Disney+ original series and it definitely cemented that Marvel is really onto something with these TV series. The series follows Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) who is living an idealized suburban life with her husband, Vision (Paul Bettany), but everything is not as it seems. Her perfect life starts to fall apart with odd occurrences, including their movement through different decades and sitcom tropes.
WandaVision is by far Marvel’s most decorated TV series, boasting numerous accolades, including eight Emmy nominations. This is because the series really was nothing short of outstanding. While Marvel fans appreciated it setting up Wanda as the Scarlet Witch, others appreciate the poignancy of the series’ exploration of grief. Still others will find amusement in the off-kilter setting, sitcom nostalgia, and in the show’s breaking of the fourth wall. The plot is emotional, funny, and mysterious, all tied into one. Olsen, as always, is amazing as Wanda and her and Bettany’s chemistry is palpable. Meanwhile, Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) was an unexpected surprise, but one we are so glad we got. WandaVision truly encompasses Marvel’s brilliance.
(featured image: Disney+)
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