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With Secret Invasion now in the rear view mirror and Loki about to embark on a second round of mayhem, let’s take stock of how the MCU’s small-screen efforts have stacked up after more than two-and-a-half years.
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WandaVision of course kicked things off in grand fashion in January 2021 (racking up 23 Emmy nominations along the way), followed soon after by Loki and then The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We then got a non-canonical diversion in the form of the animated What If…? anthology, after which Hawkeye rang in the 2021 holiday season with a Christmas-in-New York folly.
Moon Knight marked Disney+’s first Marvel series of 2022, followed by Ms. Marvel and then She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. (Last Thanksgiving then gave us a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special that, while MCU canon, is not counted alongside this full-on series.)
Marvel’s firehose of small-screen content then slowed down, and following a once-unthinkable 10-month “break” in the action, a much-anticipated Secret Invasion was thwarted this summer.
That leave’s Loki Season 2 as the only other live-action Marvel series to expect this year (debuting Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9/8c).
Which of Disney+’s eight live-action, in-MCU series have been the most “super,” and which have fallen short? Here is our current ranking — give it a look, then vote for the BEST (link here) and WORST (link here) shows!
8. SECRET INVASION
June 21 – July 26, 2023 | 6 episodes
THE HIGHS: After some 15 years, Samuel L. Jackson finally got to get under Nick Fury’s skin — and share meaningful scenes with Don Cheadle. Olivia Colman was a hoot (if woefully underused), and Kingsley Ben-Adir effectively played a ruthless Big Bad.
THE LOWS: Maria Hill was done so dirty. Are you telling us Rhodey never got to mourn Tony…? What, Gi’ah is now as powerful as Carol Danvers?! All told, this was probably the smallest-stakes version of the Secret Invasion comic book arc that could have been executed.
7. THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER
March 19 – April 23, 2021 | 6 episodes
THE HIGHS: Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan and Daniel Brühl. Baron Zemo dancing. Isaiah Bradley’s tragic backstory. Flirty Bucky. Surprise, Julia Louis-Dreyfus joins the MCU!
THE LOWS: Sharon Carter is the what broker? Sam’s bulky new Cap suit. Blah Big Bad. That finale, oof.
6. MOON KNIGHT
March 30 – May 4, 2022 | 6 episodes
THE HIGHS: Oscar Isaac and May Calamawy. The exploration of a somewhat obscure Marvel antihero (and the even more obscure Arthur Harrow). F. Murray Abraham voicing dickish Khonshu. Raiders of the Lost Ark vibes. Those trippy final episodes.
THE LOWS: Layla’s development came too late. Story was too convoluted for just six episodes. The lack of connectivity to the larger MCU, while admirable, was disappointing. Finale left you saying, “OK, so what?”
5. SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW
Aug. 18 – Oct. 13, 2022 | 9 episodes
THE HIGHS: Tatiana Maslany, Tim Roth, Benedict Wong and Ginger Gonzaga. The smashing of fourth walls. Hulk returns to Sakaar! Patty Guggenheim as Madisynn “But It’s Not Where You Thiiiink” King. “Avongers.” Charlie Cox suits back up as Daredevil! That mega-meta finale.
THE LOWS: Wildly inconsistent CGI. Low stakes. Charlie Cox isn’t playing the exact same Daredevil. Did too much (meaning, all) of the Hulk/Skaar story occur off-screen? Was She-Hulk’s biggest fight actually against her own cousin, way back in Episode 1…?
Nov. 24 – Dec. 22, 2021 | 6 episodes
THE HIGHS: Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner. Festive Christmastime fare! Yelena’s mac-and-cheese with hot sauce. Laura Barton is Mockingbird?! Wilson Fisk is back! It was simply a lot of fun.
THE LOWS: Clint and the LARPers. Underdeveloped Maya Lopez/Echo. It’s not the exact same Wilson Fisk from Netflix’s Daredevil.
3. MS. MARVEL
June 8 – July 13, 2022 | 6 episodes
THE HIGHS: Iman Vellani and Zenobia Shroff (as the titular Kamala Khan and her mom Muneeba). AvengerCon (we want to go to there). A hero who wants to be a hero! Weaving in the richness of Muslim culture, teaching people about Partition. The X-Men ’97 theme! The final kicker with Carol Danvers that teed up The Marvels.
THE LOWS: So-so CGI. The Red Dagger gang got done dirty.
Jan. 15 – March 5, 2021 | 9 episodes
THE HIGHS: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and spinoff-earning scene stealer Kathryn Hahn. The sitcom-spoofing early episodes. X-Men‘s Evan Peters showing up as Pietro (even if at the end of the day it was meaningless fan service). “It Was Agatha All Along!” “But what is grief if not love persevering?”
THE LOWS: “Ralph Bohner.” The CGI-heavy final battle. No justice for the people of Westview.
1. LOKI (Season 1)
June 9 – July 14, 2021 | 6 episodes
THE HIGHS: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino and Wunmi Mosaku. Very fun visual effects. Alligator Loki! Jonathan Majors makes his MCU debut (*which at the time required no asterisk). Major groundwork laid for the larger MCU and the brewing Kang threat.
THE LOWS: Gugu Mbatha-Raw underutilized as Revonna Renslayer. Infinity Stones as paperweights…?
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