Think back to 2015. The Avengers were teaming up once again for the massive Age of Ultron, DC’s clash-of-the-titans Batman v. Superman was deep into production, and the comic book movie business overall was positively boomin’ (minus a hiccup or two— shoutout Fantastic Four). It was all buoyed by the more mature sensibilities of The Dark Knight and the genius billion-dollar universe-building being done by Marvel Studios. On the small screen, though, things were … less momentous.
Superhero TV was fun, for sure. The CW had built a soap opera-ish universe of tights and fights starting with Arrow and followed by The Flash (and now many others). Fox’s Gotham was a delightful bit of camp, and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a serviceable trip to the MCU between big-screen installments. But nothing on TV truly tapped into that unique blend of comic-book storytelling and visuals that the movies had discovered. Until 2015. Until Drew Goddard‘s Daredevil kicked off Netflix’s Marvel Universe.
That first gloriously violent clash between a conflicted Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and a multi-layered Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) set the stage for a new brand of comic book TV: something darker, more grounded. This was a show that will mess you up with a brutal one-take fight scene, but also wasn’t afraid of flashes of heightened reality that make comic books fun even in the blackest nights. What followed was an entire mini-MCU with its own tone and New York aesthetic; Jessica Jones brought a noir twist, Luke Cage bumped to the inimitable rhythm of Harlem, and Iron Fist tried its darndest to blend curly-haired earnestness with the culture of Chinatown. The Netflix MCU then teamed up in The Defenders and spun-off into The Punisher. And like any entertainment universe, there have been just as many low-lows as there has been high-highs. For that, there’s been no better example recently than when Netflix debuted the critically acclaimed Daredevil Season 3 while simultaneously cancelling both Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
But all that change means there’s no better time to revisit the past. With all that said, here is every Netflix Marvel season ranked from worst to best.