While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has captivated audiences for over a decade, the MCU has existed on television for decades. Spider-Man was the focal point for a few shows in the beginning; both animated and live-action, but that changed fairly quickly. The Merry Marvel TV House branched out with The Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men. Not to mention the classic Lou Ferrigno / Bill Bixby Incredible Hulk series.
Similar to the films though, Marvel TV shows really didn’t get cranking until recently. Now, Marvel TV is on just about every platform and Disney Plus is going to be launching at least three new series right out of the gate. Now that Jessica Jones’ final season has bowed, new content will be on Hulu, ABC, and the aforementioned Disney Plus. With so many hours of Marvel madness come so many memorable moments. These are just a few, here are The Ten Best Episodes In Marvel TV History, Ranked.
10 X-Men - “The Phoenix / Dark Phoenix Saga”
Somehow Fox has had two attempts to bring a live-action adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga to the big screen and has failed epically with both attempts. If you want to see just how awesome this story can be, then check out the classic animated X-Men series from the nineties for the best version this story has ever produced.
In what was a nine-part epic, the series was able to dive deep and tell both the original “Phoenix Saga,” which first saw Jean gain the powers and “The Dark Phoenix.” We also saw the Shi’ar Empire (characters completely missing from the films) in all of its glory.
9 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - “World’s End”
After a season of magic, mysticism, and horrific technology gone berserk, it all came together for one of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s best episodes ever.
To stop the madness of The Framework, Coulson enlists their old ally, the Ghost Rider. The episode not only successfully brings together every storyline of the season into an explosive finale, but it also successfully sets up where the team would go next - flung far into the future, into space!
8 Daredevil - “Penny And Dime”
“Daredevil’s” first season on Netflix firmly established that wasn’t Ben Affleck’s Daredevil. The second season didn’t waste any time in introducing the Punisher, played perfectly by Jon Bernthal. His debut not only sets the stage for the first half of this season, but also for what became two seasons of his own show. “Penny And Dime” is high water mark for the show and for the character.
Frank goes heads up against the mob, with the police and Daredevil gunning for him. We learn why he says the titular phrase as his mantra before pulling the trigger, and the future of the season is set up with Elektra comes to town.
7 Luke Cage - “Step In The Arena”
Mike Coulter played the only live-action version of Luke Cage and so far he’s so very good. The announcement of Disney Plus put the kibosh on the Netflix projects, but that doesn’t mean episodes like “Step In The Arena” aren’t worth the time.
It’s a big flashback episode, but it’s also Luke Cage’s finest hour. We meet Cage when he was incarcerated at Seagate under his real name, Carl Lucas. We didn’t just get his backstory, we got Reva’s story as well, bringing everything back full circle to his current relationship with Jessica Jones.
6 Defenders - “Royal Dragon”
While The Defenders didn’t get that major “Avengers-love” that The House Of Ideas certainly hoped it would have gotten, fans still got to see all of the Netflix Marvel Heroes combine forces for the show.
After twiddling its thumbs for a few episodes, the show finally gave us the moment we were waiting for in “Royal Dragon.” It’s the anti-Avengers episode, not only is there little action, but our heroes don’t necessarily trust each other, and Jessica doesn’t even want to be there. Stick acts as the group’s defacto Nick Fury, urging them all to fight back against The Hand. By the end, they’re still a little leery of each other, but they’re ready to defend the city.
5 Cloak And Dagger - “Colony Collapse”
Much like how they’re presented in comics, the Divine Pairing of Cloak and Dagger took a much different MCU approach to their series than most Marvel properties - as Freeform show aimed at teens!
Their first season was a little rocky at times, but by the time they’re together fending off and defending a rioting French Quarter, it’s enough to make fans of all ages. Tyrone sent his first victim to the Dark Dimension and Brigid was poised to become Mayhem. The series set the stage for its next season properly while bringing the first one to a fitting end.
4 Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. - “Turn, Turn, Turn”
Sometimes, episodic storytelling just needs a little nudge to really get going. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t just get a nudge, it flung out the 37th floor! The first season episode, “Turn, Turn, Turn” takes place during the events of Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Which means that the very S.H.I.E.L.D. we’ve been watching the entire season has been compromised for decades. Paranoia was running around the entire episode, and that was before the big reveal of Ward always being a HYDRA agent.
3 The Punisher - “Trouble The Water”
The Punisher series worked best when Jon Bernthal was able to let loose as his namesake. After avenging his family’s murder at the end of the first season, the second season quickly answered it. Tragically, a soldier’s work is never done - their instincts kick in when someone or something is about to go down. “Trouble The Water,” featured so many parts converging on Frank in handcuffs and in custody or a small town police department.
Once they realized they were in over their head, the Sheriff agreed to turn Frank loose on the hired guns that came for them. The result was seeing an Assault On Precinct 13 style firefight with the Punisher mowing down his prey.
2 Jessica Jones - “AKA Smile”
How do you stop a fairly unstoppable femme fatale and bring her down to her core? How about pitting her against a guy who controls any mind he comes into contact with. The Purple Man has tormented Jessica Jones before her show started.
She broke free and broke away from his control. What’s worse is that Kilgrave actually has feelings for Jessica! When he finally realizes she would never return his affections, he intends to flee New York. But Jones plays her final card and manages to end the threat of Kilgrave for good. It’s horrific yet so satisfying and really shows just how different the Netflix parts of the MCU really are.
1 Daredevil - “A New Napkin”
Daredevil was always the best of the Netflix MCU, this entire list could have been made up entirely of season 3. The redemption of Matt Murdock, the introduction of Bullseye, and just how far does Kingpin’s reach go all were the crux of the season.
It had all built up to the final confrontation, one of the craziest fights the MCU has ever seen on TV or film! Bullseye is trying to kill the Fisk’s beloved Vanessa. All the while Daredevil’s stopping him and deflecting Fisk all at the same time! It not only worked as a satisfying ending to the season but unfortunately the series.