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Like superheroes? Then turn on your TV. With 17 superhero-starring shows currently airing, you have an 86% chance to happen across some spandexed awesomeness in the form of TV superheroes. (Don’t check that math, and head over here to see our roundup of every DC show!) We’ve compiled a list of every Marvel superhero show currently gracing the airwaves, including streaming.
Netflix has deal with Marvel Entertainment and has six streaming shows all taking place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
A boxer’s son is blinded by radioactive waste while saving an old man’s life. The radiation gives him a “radar” sense that more than compensates for his loss of sight. After training under a mysterious figure named Stick, he takes to the streets as “The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” protecting the people of his neighborhood in ways he can’t as blind attorney Matt Murdock. Season 1 pits Daredevil against The Kingpin and Season 2 introduces his college girlfriend and now assassin Elektra, The Punisher and the villainous ninja cult The Hand.
2. Jessica Jones
In this Marvel superhero show, a car accident leaves Jessica Jones with a dead family and super-strength. Shortly into her career as a superhero she is abducted by Kilgrave, who uses his mind control powers to assault, rape and compel her to murder. Upon escaping his influence, she suffers from PTSD and resorts to being an angry, hard-drinking private detective who specializes in cases involving people with special abilities.
3. Luke Cage
While wrongfully imprisoned, Carl Lucas gains enhanced strength and unbreakable skin during a sabotaged experiment. Thought to be killed in the accident and now a fugitive, Carl becomes Luke Cage and moves to New York to live a quiet life until he’s pulled out of the shadows to defend the people of Harlem from organized crime and corruption.
4. Iron Fist
Fifteen years after being presumed dead, Danny Rand, heir to Rand Enterprises’ multi-billion-dollar empire, returns to New York to reconnect with his past. It turns out he survived the plane crash that killed his parents and was raised and trained to harness the power of the Iron Fist by warrior monks in the extra-dimensional city of K’un-Lun. In New York he comes into conflict with The Hand and its corrupt influence on his family’s business.
5. The Defenders
All of the characters above come together to save the city from The Hand, led by their immortal leadership “The Five Fingers.” But in Netflix’s ultimate Marvel superhero show, really they just argue, fight with and threaten each other and then eventually blow up a building that stands over an underground chasm housing a dragon’s skeleton (yep).
6. The Punisher
After killing every single person he thinks is involved in the killing of his family, Frank Castle discovers the conspiracy goes deep into his past activities as a member of the black ops Cerberus Squad while still in Afghanistan. Teaming up with a fellow victim of Cerberus named Micro, he proceeds to … punish … everyone involved. This time for real.
Alright, so here’s the thing about these shows, and I’m sure plenty of you will disagree with me, but I find them all very plodding. The shows are meant to take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but there’s barely a mention of any of the events or characters from the actual movies. While I do enjoy seeing more minor Marvel characters appearing on the small screen like Night Nurse, Colleen Wing, Misty Knight and Patsy Walker (who still has yet to adopt her Hellcat identity), I find they spend a lot of time on sub-plots of the shows’ non-powered, civilian characters. I feel like the show would be lot more exciting with more of an “adventure of the week” format with an overarching plot (think X-Files).
7. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
ABC’s Marvel superhero show also takes place in the MCU, but unlike the Netflix series, these characters actually react to the events that take place in the movies. Agent Coulson is back from the dead (remember, Loki killed him in The Avengers), and he and his crack team of highly trained agents and Inhumans take on rogue agencies, corruption and super-powered threats. The action is great, and with appearances by Sif, Mockingbird, Ghost Rider, Deathlok, The Absorbing Man and Madame Hydra, I feel like they are making the most of the shared universe.
8. The Gifted
Related to the X-Men movie universe, this show takes place in an alternate timeline where the X-Men have disappeared and the government is actively hunting and imprisoning mutants. After discovering that his children are mutants, district attorney Reed Strucker takes his family on the run and joins the mutant underground, teaming up with semi-famous mutants you might recognize from the comics (Polaris, Blink and Thunderbird).
This Marvel superhero show is supposedly related to the X-Men universe, but you wouldn’t know it based on anything the characters do or say. Legion is about David Haller, who has spent the majority of his life in psychiatric hospitals, diagnosed with schizophrenia. Turns out that he’s Charles Xavier’s son, and his separate personalities possess various superpowers. He becomes hunted by the government agency Division III but is rescued by a group of fellow mutants and taken to Summerland to explore his abilities.
A Hulu original, this show follows a group of kids whose only connection is that their parents are all members of a charitable group called “The Pride.” They accidentally discover that The Pride is actually an evil organization with mysterious intentions. After gathering various weapons, discovering various abilities and gaining a guardian dinosaur (yep), the kids run away after being framed for murder by their own parents.
Do you have a favorite Marvel superhero show? Sound off in the comments.
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