What’s the best Marvel series? In the MCU’s TV corner, we’ve seen Wanda Maximoff rewrite reality in the heart-breaking WandaVision, Loki getting another chance at life, and even the rise of a new Captain America.
One thing you can never accuse the Marvel Cinematic Universe of is resting on its laurels. And since Dinsey launched its streaming service in 2020, we’ve had a host of stellar Disney Plus shows adapting stories about heroes old and new. We’ve seen every episode of the best TV series in Marvel’s roster and looked at the one-off specials to work out, which small-screen adventure truly takes the cake.
For the record, we haven’t included the old Netflix series, such as Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. We know they’re popular, but we can’t be sure all of their characters have transitioned to Kevin Feige‘s canon. Maybe that’ll change with the upcoming Daredevil season 4 release date. But, for now, enjoy our ranking of all the best Marvel series in the established MCU timeline.
All the Marvel series ranked, from worst to best:
- Secret Invasion
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
- What If…?
- Moon Knight
- Werewolf by Night
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
- Loki season 1
- Ms. Marvel
11. Secret Invasion (2023)
Everyone, including us, wanted Samuel L. Jackson to get his flowers. Despite our strong feeling that Secret Invasion should have been an Avengers movie, we were hoping this cold war would envelop us with game-changing mystery and intrigue. But the Secret Invasion TV series and comic differences proved too disappointing, and the adaptation ultimately left us underwhelmed by a lack of tension and inconsistent gravitas.
We explain why more in our Secret Invasion episode 6 recap, but like a fair few entries on this list, we have no desire ever to revisit this middling show, sadly.
10. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
Look, we’re not saying The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a bad TV series. Wait… no, that’s exactly what we’re saying. Despite being the series with arguably the most potential, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a letdown. The show was somehow both slow and ponderous while also incredibly shallow at the same time.
Credit where credit is due, though. The series was an effective origin story for Sam Wilson’s Captain America (and we’d be lying if we said seeing him suit up wasn’t cool). The series’ commitment to exploring the tension of having a Black man wield the shield within the social and political American context was admirable as well, even if the concept wasn’t perfectly executed.
9. What If…? (2021)
Bold, imaginative, and creative, we loved What If…? But it’s hard to call it a favorite. The MCU’s best animated series only real crime was that, by its very nature, it was tangential to the MCU, which made the whole endeavor seem a little irrelevant to the wider plot of Phase 4.
This by itself isn’t a bad thing, but with staying up to date with the MCU starting to feel a little like homework, you’ll hopefully forgive us for not ranking this higher. Sure, a fair amount of lip service has been paid to ensuring fans that What If…? will play a critical role in the MCU’s future, but that seems to be a bit of an exaggeration (and yes, we’ve seen Doctor Strange 2 (we still don’t know if it was bad).
Combine this with some spotty voice work (not all screen actors can do voice acting well) and stiff animation, and you have a series that was fun, if slightly forgettable, with only the Doctor Strange episode standing out from the pack. Still, fingers crossed that the What If…? season 2 release date will help out with the show’s current ranking on our list.
8. Moon Knight (2022)
Oscar Isaac brought Marvel’s answer to Batman to life in the weird and brutal Moon Knight. At its best, Moon Knight soared, delivering some great action scenes and a surprising commitment to maintaining the source material’s slightly bonkers premise. Its exploration of Marc Spector’s childhood and psyche in the last couple of episodes was our favorite thing about it.
Unfortunately, Moon Knight also made some serious missteps along the way and ended up feeling strangely pedestrian as a result — why did they not show the final fight? Overall, the whole endeavor just felt by the numbers, with some half-hearted attempts at weirdness used to inject a little life into the series. Still, we’d like a Moon Knight season 2 just to resolve the cliffhanger.
7. She-Hulk (2022)
While it’s not the best Marvel series, She-Hulk was a lot of fun, showing a side of the MCU we’ve never seen before, even if it is a little inconsequential. It brought a Legally Blonde quality to the table that made Tatiana Maslany’s version of the character authentic to the comic stories and likable.
She-Hulk’s greatest strength is its sense of humor. It’s not po-faced or desperate to seem mature. Instead, it embraces the silly nature of its source material and revels in subverting the cliches and tropes we’ve come to expect from superhero shows. Honestly, we are hoping for a She-Hulk season 2 release date announcement soon!
6. Hawkeye (2021)
If you’d had asked us what Marvel series we were least excited about back in 2019, Hawkeye would have topped the list, but that shows what we know. Hawkeye was a Christmas treat that took nobody’s favorite Avenger and made him a likable if slightly grumpy, icon.
At the center of the show’s success is the double act between Jeremy Renner and the perfectly cast Hailee Steinfeld. The pair had wonderful chemistry, with Renner serving as a reluctant, jaded role model for Steinfeld’s starstruck rookie.
Hawkeye also showed us the street-level view of the universe, an area not explored since Netflix’s series. While it may sound counterintuitive, this step away from larger otherworldly threats allowed for far more entertaining action scenes and set pieces.
5. Werewolf by Night (2022)
OK, let’s address the elephant in the room. Werewolf by Night wasn’t a horror series. It was a Halloween special. We know, but we think it deserves a place on this list because it was excellent, and we see it as a sort of one-shot story.
It’s not quite a fully baked feature-length film, not a series, but a single chapter of its own thing. We’re not sure where it belongs, so we’re mentioning it here. A thrilling and charming tribute to the best monster movies of days gone by, Werewolf by Night showed what the MCU can do when it stops worrying about continuity and embraces the ludicrous nature of comic books.
4. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
James Gunn gave us a great early Christmas present in 2022 with the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Sweet, fun, and more chaotic than planning a Christmas dinner, it proves Marvel’s short-form content doesn’t have to be about alien invasions to be entertaining — sometimes, all you have to do is kidnap Kevin Bacon.
We’re glad we got a bit of extra face time with the Guardians of the Galaxy cast before bidding adieu in GOTG 3. If you fancy a tearful goodbye, be sure to read our Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 review.
3. Loki season 1 (2021)
Doctor Who by way of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki was a delight from beginning to end and a breath of fresh air after the rather pedestrian Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Tom Hiddleston has always been superb as the God of Mischief, but freed from the shadow of his handsome hammer-wielding brother, he was somehow even more impressive.
It was clear Hiddleston was having a ball on this series, and he led an equally outstanding cast of supporting characters, most notably Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie. Series creator Michael Waldron clearly just got Loki and openly embraced the sillier, more cosmic side of Marvel that, up until now, only Gunn and Taika Watiti had dared to dip their toes in.
If all that wasn’t enough, it gave us the man, the myth, the legend Richard E. Grant in Loki’s classic comic book costume, hanging around with fan-favorite Kid Loki, and there was even an alligator. What’s not to love? The Loki season 2 release date is almost here too. Hurrah!
2. Wandavision (2021)
The first and, until recently, foremost Marvel series, WandaVision, was a delight. It’s strange to think there was a time when we didn’t know what these MCU shows would look like, but it was genuinely a surprise how cinematic WandaVision was when it debuted.
Sensational and strange, WandaVision was a beguiling puzzle box series that kept fans guessing each and every week was happening. Grounding the whole thing in something approaching an understandable reality, though, were Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany.
The pair had always felt a little short-changed by the MCU movies, so it was delightful to finally see them given some time to shine, and boy, oh, boy, did they shine. If you show me someone who didn’t cry during the WandaVision finale, I’ll show you a liar. The series finally utilized the potential The Scarlet Witch shows in the comics and proved Wanda is one of the best MCU characters.
1. Ms. Marvel (2022)
Kamala Khan’s energetic and spirited series, led by the wonderful and charismatic Iman Vellani, reinvigorated many people’s passion for the MCU. Like the comic series it’s based on, the show felt incredibly fresh and lively, breathing new life into the MCU shows that were starting to feel formulaic.
Bold, creative, and wildly entertaining, Ms. Marvel didn’t put a foot wrong (well, the finale was a little lackluster, pulling focus away from what worked, but alas). Despite making some changes to Kamala’s backstory, Ms. Marvel felt so true to the spirit of G. Willow Wilson’s original run on the comics.
Kamala’s introduction is probably the best we’ve had since Spider-Man ‘thwipped’ onto screens in Captain America: Civil War, and her series is far and away the best MCU show. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a Ms Marvel season 2 release date, and we liked the supporting characters enough to want to see them grow.
You can find out what Marvel has in store next with our guides to The Marvels release date and the Avengers 5 release date. Plus, we’ve also got a breakdown of all the new movies coming soon and our personal best movies of all time. Or, check out how to watch the Marvel movies in order and all the upcoming Marvel movies. We also have Marvel’s Phase 5 explained, and the best Marvel villains ranked.
For the team’s hot takes, we’ve got thoughts on why Marvel needs to learn that killing characters isn’t everything, and we’ve also penned an open letter to Kevin Feige about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.