Let the Avengers fight the high-publicity battles against Loki and the Chitauri, Ultron’s army, and Thanos. There’s a team of heroes who will defend New York City against the street-level foes also capable of bringing the world to its knees.
They are the Defenders, and they’re the subject of Netflix Original available to stream right now.
Unfortunately, there are only eight episodes of The Defenders to enjoy at the time of writing. So after you’ve finished the first season, what should you binge on next? We’ve got a few suggestions.
The Story So Far
If you haven’t seen previous Marvel shows on Netflix, The Defenders might have seemed somewhat confusing. Who is that blind guy with an extraordinary skillset? Why is Luke Cage in prison? What’s the Hand and is it connected to the Iron Fist?
Still, it’s pretty accessible to newcomers, and if you’ve not seen the shows leading up to The Defenders, this is the perfect opportunity to catch up.
Our tale starts with Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), left without his sight after an accident — that also heightened all his other senses and gave him a greater perception than anyone else. Daredevil Season 1 introduced a lot of the elements feeding into The Defenders, and these were built upon in Season 2 with the inclusion of Elektra (Élodie Yung).
Before that, however, we met Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), a Private Investigator with super powers and a smart mouth. Jessica Jones Season 1 saw her confront her tormenter, the persuasive Kilgrave (Doctor Who‘s David Tennant) in a fascinating series about the nature of obsession. Here, we also met Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, whose inner strength helped him survive wrongful conviction and whose outer strength (plus impervious skin) saw him become the hero of Harlem in Luke Cage Season 1.
Finally, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) revealed himself to be the latest Iron Fist, enemy of the Hand and protector of the mystical K’un-Lun. Which he abandoned to find what legacy his parents left in New York. Though Iron Fist Season 1 didn’t get critical acclaim, it’s better than many will have you believe.
Now that we have caught up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), let’s cast our net a little wider.
Well, okay, not much wider just yet.
Agents of SHIELD is as much part of the MCU as Daredevil and the rest, but is instead made for ABC. It follows the secret agents of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (SHIELD), following up on events from films such as The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (although you don’t need intimate knowledge of the movies to enjoy it).
All four seasons are available on Netflix, and explore a wide range of ideas including artificial intelligence, how aliens could’ve affected humanity in its early days, and mysticism versus science.
With 22 episodes per season, these are very different beasts to the Netflix originals. Don’t be put off by Season 1’s slow beginning: once certain revelations about HYDRA are unveiled, the pace doesn’t let up.
2. Being Human
It’s fair to say that The Defenders explores darker corners of the MCU than Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. If you enjoy the gloomier side of things, mixed with a healthy dose of science fiction, you’ll love Being Human.
Forget that naff U.S. remake. Its U.K. counterpart is far superior, although if you have seen the former, you’ll be familiar with the main premise. And it’s genius.
This is a flat-share drama about a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost. The show shares Marvel’s general tongue-in-cheek attitude — nonetheless, creator, Toby Whithouse (best-known for Doctor Who) gives us a compelling, dark, and complex series that will stick in your head long after it’s finished.
This has a similarly intriguing premise. Raymond “Red” Reddington, high on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, willingly surrenders to the authorities and promises to reveal the names of criminals he’s worked with throughout his extensive career. In exchange, he wants immunity from prosecution, and to work with FBI Profiler, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).
And so begins the fast-paced, smart, and exciting ongoing series that always raises more questions than it answers. As the MCU Netflix series have focussed on the shadowy Hand, The Blacklist slowly exposes the equally-shady Cabal.
However great the concept is, the main reason you need to watch this is James Spader, who plays Red. He’s the anti-hero you simply can’t bring yourself to hate — despite all of the terrible things he does.
4. Breaking Bad
Obviously, Breaking Bad was a massive hit, but there remains a large proportion of viewers who haven’t given it a go yet.
Some may have been put off by the idea that its central character, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) turns to drug dealing in an effort to raise money for his family. Still, it’s one of the rare TV gems to have secured a 9.5/10 rating on IMDb, and a 94 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
These accolades, and plenty more besides, helped make Breaking Bad the most critically-acclaimed show of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Krysten Ritter appears in Breaking Bad as the recovering addict, Jane Margolis, And yes, she’s just as tough as in Jessica Jones.
There’s a healthy rivalry between Marvel and DC. The chances are, if you enjoy seeing disparate heroes coming together to fight greater evils, you’ll get a kick out of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow too.
The team isn’t comprised of superheroes as well recognized as Daredevil or Luke Cage, but that doesn’t impact negatively on its enjoyment factor. Rip Hunter, played by Arthur Darvill, travels back in time to form a team — White Canary, The Atom, Hawkgirl and Hawkman, Firestorm, Captain Cold, and Heat Wave — capable of averting the future.
The first season documents their efforts to stop the Time Masters, while Season 2 sees them try to protect their timestream without Rip as their leader. It’s a divisive show, but you can’t fault its core cast and character dynamics.
And now for something completely different.
Jessica Jones is undoubtedly the funniest character featured in Netflix’s Marvel shows. In this short-lived sitcom, Krysten Ritter gets to indulge in her more comedic side.
Often overlooked, the show finds June Colburn (Dreama Walker) move to New York for her dream job, only to find it doesn’t exist. She’s then stuck in a flat-share with the horrendous Chloe (Ritter, having a fantastic time). She’s vain, merciless, and a party animal: a perfect foil for the honest, diligent June.
ABC only made 26 episodes. Then they unfairly lost faith in the show due to low ratings and didn’t even air the final few episodes. At least Netflix offers you the chance to watch the show in full.
Netflix leaves a lot of its less-popular original shows on the roadside. The hits, however, are lauded from the rooftops. Strangers Things definitely falls into the latter category, immediately finding a huge fanbase when it aired in 2016.
It’s 1983. A young boy goes missing. The residents of the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, are soon embroiled in events out of their control, involving the supernatural, conspiracies, and an odd girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).
You’ll quickly feel a wave of nostalgia for the 1980s (even if that’s before your time), and this retro feel might also remind you of poring through comics in your youth. The secret experiments and conspiracies recall Luke Cage’s origin, and its fantastical nature evokes both Doctor Strange and Iron Fist.
8. Twin Peaks
Speaking of the supernatural, you might now know Twin Peaks for its successful 2017 revival.
Annoyingly, you can’t watch that on Netflix just yet. But you can enjoy the original show in all its glory.
This is an unconventional crime drama, where the titular town, although fictitious, is as important to the story as Hell’s Kitchen is to Daredevil and Harlem to Luke Cage.
The series was cancelled after 30 episodes, making up two seasons screened in 1990 and 1991. Fortunately, Twin Peaks gained a cult following that’s welcomed its acclaimed return. Its 1992 prequel film, Walk Fire With Me sadly isn’t on Netflix at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled.
Coming Soon: The Punisher
After all of that, you’re probably itching to see the next Marvel series. Thankfully, you don’t have too long to wait.
Jon Bernthal reprises his role as Frank Castle from Daredevil Season 2. You’ll know him as The Punisher. He’s brutal, unrelenting, and tortured. He’s a vigilante whose family were murdered. And he’ll stop at nothing to pay the criminal underworld back for his loss.
The Punisher is expected to begin streaming in November 2017: perfect for those long, dark, winter nights.
More From Marvel?
Subsequently, we can expect Phase Two of Marvel’s Netflix Originals. Prepare for Season 3 of Daredevil, and second seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) August 21, 2017
Of course, if you love comics, you should pick up The Defenders. It’s a new ongoing title written by Brian Michael Bendis with great art by David Marquez. The first arc, Diamonds Are Forever, features the four heroes coming up against Diamondback, a foe who died in 1972.
Did you enjoy The Defenders? How does it rank against Marvel’s other efforts? Are you rewatching the previous Marvel shows on Netflix? Or are you going to give one of the shows we recommend in this article a go? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credits: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock