A timeline of Marvel TV shows subtly explains the passing of the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Television's series are set in the MCU, but they never drive the narrative. "The movies are the lead dog," Jeph Loeb recently explained. "They’re setting the timeline for the MCU and what’s going on. Our job is to navigate within that world." However, that doesn't mean they don't play into the bigger MCU timeline.
A couple of Marvel TV series are pretty easy to place in the timeline. Agent Carter is set in 1946 and 1947, after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and before the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1948. In general, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is set alongside the latest Marvel blockbusters, with season 5 ending with an Avengers: Infinity War tie-in. A recent Easter egg dates Cloak & Dagger season 2 alongside Luke Cage season 1, and implicitly establishes season 1 eight months earlier in 2014; meanwhile, the show is generally believed to be building towards a Runaways crossover, which by extension means this has also fixed Runaways in the timeline as well.
All of that information means that Marvel TV is pretty out of order in the MCU timeline, but does provide enough to build a chronological viewing order. And the results are pretty interesting.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2
- Cloak & Dagger season 1
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Daredevil season 1
- Jessica Jones season 1
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 (begins after Ant-Man, runs through to 2016 and the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War)
- Daredevil season 2
- Runaways season 1/Luke Cage season 1/Cloak & Dagger season 2 (these seem to happen concurrently)
- Runaways season 2
- Iron Fist season 1
- The Defenders season 1 (dialogue indicates the attack on Rand Industries happened the previous year)
- The Punisher season 1
- Captain America: Civil War
- Black Panther
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4
- Jessica Jones season 2
- Luke Cage season 2
- Daredevil season 3
- The Punisher season 2
- Jessica Jones season 3
According to Loeb, Marvel Television carefully choose windows for their shows where they'll only be minimally affected by the movies. The cluster around 2014 through to 2015 is particularly notable, and it makes perfect sense in narrative terms. S.H.I.E.L.D. fell in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, meaning there's no longer a central organization to head to New Orleans to check out Cloak and Dagger, or to go to Los Angeles and investigate the Pride in Runaways; the low-level vigilantes are unpoliced. It's not until 2016's Captain America: Civil War that the world really begins to react to the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D., establishing the Sokovia Accords to register the Avengers.
But this clustering of Marvel TV events subtly reshapes the MCU's narrative. It hints that there has always been this kind of low-level activity going on in the MCU, but before 2014 it had been handled by S.H.I.E.L.D.; that's supported by Ant-Man & the Wasp, which confirmed that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been working with metahumans for decades. After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., however, there's no longer anyone to police such metahumans, which explains the explosion of low-level superheroism.
Logically, the passing of the Sokovia Accords becomes more than just an attempt to control the Avengers. It's reinterpreted as the world's governments attempting to fill the S.H.I.E.L.D. gap, to create a structure and system that can handle low-level metahumans and vigilantes. That may well explain why aspects of the Sokovia Accords - such as the construction of the Raft superhuman prison - were already underway before the events of Captain America: Civil War. It certainly fits with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which revealed that Inhumans were expected to register under the Sokovia Accords too; Jessica Jones season 2 confirmed that, after the Sokovia Accords, metahuman criminals can be transported straight to the Raft under a "special protocol" in which human rights and attorney-client privileges were waved.
It's true that Captain America: Civil War doesn't spell out this aspect of the Sokovia Accords, but that's frankly not a problem. Most legislation serves more than one purpose; the United Nations would focus on the most high-profile aspects that were less questionable under human rights grounds, and the Avengers would likewise be most interested in how the Accords affected their team. The Marvel TV timeline thus adds another layer to the ongoing narrative of the MCU, without causing any issues to the movies at all.