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Best TV Shows To Watch While We Wait For The MCU To Return

Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has made a massive impact on the entertainment industry. Under Kevin Feige, the MCU has become the highest-grossing franchise of all time, and casual comic book fans are now familiar with weird, obscure characters like Ultron, Shuri, and Rocket Raccoon. And thanks to their ever-impressive slate of movies and TV shows, fans spend a lot of time counting down the days before they can revisit all their favorite heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

But with so many upcoming Marvel films and TV series having release dates that are months away, what's a Marvel fan to do? Well, in the meantime, there are plenty of superhero TV shows you can check out, some of which are even centered around Marvel characters. After all, this is the golden age of television, and showrunners are listening to the public's praise for superhero stories. If you're looking for a new series to watch while you wait for the next Marvel film to hit theaters, these shows will definitely have you hooked.

Raising Dion explores what it would be like for a kid to have super powers

In most Marvel films, we meet our favorite superheroes in their adult years. Even Spider-Man was already in high school by the time he'd developed superpowers. But what would it be like to grow up with these special abilities? How would a child superhero navigate the world and manage to stay safe from those who might view them as a threat?

That's the premise of the creative Netflix series Raising Dion. After the death of her husband Mark (Michael B. Jordan), Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) is trying to adjust to life as a single mother. Taking care of her son, Dion (Ja'Siah Young), is no easy task, and for this little family, things are about to get a lot more complicated. Dion begins to exhibit superhero-like abilities, and Nicole has no rational explanation for his new skills. As she delves into the mystery of Dion's superpowers, she leans on her husband's best friend, Pat (Jason Ritter), for help, but can they protect Dion from the people who want to take advantage of his powers?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a spy series set in the MCU

If you've ever watched a Marvel movie, chances are good that you're familiar with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, aka S.H.I.E.L.D. This peacekeeping and spy agency has been a part of the Marvel universe since the '60s, and if you've ever wanted to learn more about the group, have we got the show for you. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows the adventures of super spies tasked with handling all kinds of bizarre cases and strange baddies. And the best part? The show is explicitly set in the MCU, so if you wish you could catch a new Marvel film, this is the next best thing!

In the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team to tackle some difficult cases. Their first task? Finding out the real story behind the mysterious Project Centipede and its leader, a man known as "the Clairvoyant." As the team attempts to decipher the inner workings of Project Centipede and uncover their real aims, they realize that their operation may not be as secure as they originally thought, and there might even be enemies in the midst. Needless to say, the story sprawls out in some wild directions (there's Hydra and Inhumans and Ghost Rider, oh my), and with seven seasons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. should keep you entertained for quite some time.

The Boys does away with the idea of do-gooders

The Boys is a superhero show produced by Amazon Prime that turns familiar genre tropes upside down. This web series, which is based on the comic book of the same name, is set in an alternate universe where human beings who possess superpowers are held up as heroes by the general public. Makes sense, right? But there's a catch. These heroes are owned by the wealthy and powerful corporation Vought International, which basically uses them as marketing tools, making money off the caped crusaders.

And in this particular show, most of the superheroes aren't flawed do-gooders with humanitarian aims. Instead, they're arrogant, conceited, and violent. The worst of the bunch are known as "the Seven." They're the premier superhero team at Vought, and although they love being put up on a pedestal, they're about to face a threat to their position. Another group, known simply as "the Boys," wants to knock the more corrupt superheroes down a peg. When these two groups clash, conflict, gory violence, and hilarity ensue. Sure, it's a bit different than your PG-13 Marvel fare, but if you're looking for something a little outside the MCU box, The Boys puts a crazy, disturbing spin on superhero tropes.

The Umbrella Academy is perfect for people missing their favorite MCU teams

Inspired by the comic book series of the same name, the story of The Umbrella Academy begins when 43 women around the world suddenly go into labor, despite the fact that none of them had any signs of pregnancy. After the births of these mysterious children, seven of them are adopted by an eccentric yet cold billionaire, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who wants to mold them into his own personal superhero team. He dubs them "the Umbrella Academy," and their robot-nanny eventually names them Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Number Five, Ben, and Vanya.

Reginald puts six of the children to work fighting crime, but he separates Vanya from her siblings, believing that she doesn't possess any powers of her own. Years pass, and the siblings eventually go their separate ways, but Reginald's death brings them back together again, all adults now and more messed up than ever. Things get even more interesting when a long-lost sibling returns from the future, warning the rest that they're about to face the apocalypse and that they must prepare for the inevitable while trying to uncover their family's secrets. Part Wes Anderson and part superhero adventure, The Umbrella Academy features time-traveling assassins, a chimpanzee butler, and a fantastic performance from Ellen Page. And if you're looking for that dysfunctional family dynamic found in MCU movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, then perhaps you should enroll at The Umbrella Academy

Black Lightning explores social issues and has lots of impressive action

Can a superhero ever really leave their past behind them? In the MCU, true retirement isn't exactly par for the course. After all, Hawkeye came out of retirement to give Captain America a hand in Captain America: Civil War, and while Thor let himself go after Avengers: Infinity War, he jumped back into the fray in Endgame. The same trend holds true for plenty of the characters from DC Comics, too. For example, in Black Lightning, high school principal Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) believes that his days of saving the world are long over. In the years prior, he lost his marriage over his vigilante activities, and now, he's just trying to be a good father and hold down his career. Why rock the boat again?

But when his daughters are abducted by a local gang called the 100, Pierce has no choice but to get back in his suit. He used to be known as Black Lightning, earning the name because of his ability to manipulate electricity. Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III), the leader of the 100, has been in hiding, but now, Pierce has to face up to his enemy. With the 100 wreaking havoc in Pierce's community, he's forced to act, and his daughters are ready to step up to the plate, too. An intense crime thriller and touching family drama rolled into one, Black Lightning explores pressing social issues through characters that feel true to life.

If MCU fans need an upbeat series, then check out The Flash

Plenty of MCU superheroes have lost loved ones, and these tragedies change the course of their lives. The death of Peter Quill's mother leads to his journeys through the galaxy as Star-Lord, and in Black Panther, T'Challa mourns his father's death before being crowned as Wakanda's new king.

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) knows this devastation all too well. When he was only 11 years old, Barry's mother was killed in a freak accident, and his father was subsequently convicted of her murder. Years later, Barry is working as a forensic scientist, and he's still haunted by his family tragedy, hoping to prove his father was innocent and that a man in a yellow suit was responsible for his mom's death. But while studying a powerful particle accelerator, Barry is struck by lightning, and he wakes up months later with the power of super speed. So naturally, he takes up a new life as the Flash, setting out to rid the world of evil and finally solve the mystery of his mother's death. 

Like all superhero shows, the writers behind The Flash have taken certain creative liberties with developing new plot lines, but the series is remarkably true to the original comics. And despite Barry's backstory, The Flash is a lighthearted show with a genuine sense of humor, making it an enjoyable watch if you're looking for a superhero series with a positive spin. 

Doom Patrol examines the dark side of being a superhero

Sometimes, being a superhero seems like it would be all fun and games, but in reality, most of what we see our favorite heroes endure on screen would be traumatizing. The MCU has occasionally addressed this, with Tony Stark often turning to Bruce Banner as his unofficial psychologist and Carol Danvers struggling to put together her own identity after having her memories extracted. But if you're looking for a superhero show that explores these issues with more depth, Doom Patrol doesn't shy away from those uncomfortable topics. 

The Doom Patrol is a team of superheroes who all feel like life keeps kicking them while they're already down. They gained their superpowers after suffering horrible accidents, but they've been physically and emotionally scarred ever since. The group finds a sense of purpose under the guidance of the Chief (Timothy Dalton), and they begin investigating strange phenomenons. 

But when the Chief disappears, the Doom Patrol is called to a greater task. They don't exactly seem like a group of people who could help save the world, and they wonder if the world even has much use for them, but when an opportunity arises, they can't turn their backs on the chance to try. Doom Patrol features some of the most absurd villains on television, but this show knows how to take itself seriously, too. With each episode, this team of flawed heroes reminds viewers that trauma doesn't have to define who you are.

Supergirl is a show that always rises to the occasion

Powerful female superheroes have always been part of the MCU, from Nakia to Valkyrie to Black Widow. After all, saving the world isn't just for the guys. And if you're looking for a series about female superheroes, now is the perfect time to catch up on Supergirl

At the age of 12, Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) makes her escape from the planet Krypton to start a new life on Earth, finding safety with the Danvers family. She does her best to hide her powers, knowing that she and her cousin, Superman, share similar abilities, but she can't risk being open about her skills. As an adult, Kara begins working in National City under media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart). She's still doing everything she can to keep her powers under wraps ... until Hank Headshaw (David Harewood), who runs a top-secret agency in the city, recruits her to protect the local citizens from crime and violence. Kara knows that she has a moral responsibility to take on the challenge, and she's about to find out what she's truly capable of.

It's easy to think of Supergirl as a comic book side character, but Benoist's strong performance proves that she's a hero in her own right. Despite leading a double life, Supergirl is relatable and down to earth, whether she's in the office or out fighting crime. As the series progresses, the stakes get higher, but Supergirl always rises to meet the occasion. 

Watchmen is a lot darker than what you'll find in the MCU

You may have caught the Watchmen film a few years ago, but if you wanted to see this story reimagined for TV, HBO's Watchmen series is a must-watch. The show takes place after the events of the original comics, so you'll be introduced to new faces and exciting new plots in the same universe.

The series begins in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2019. In this world, the Seventh Kavalry, a white supremacist group, takes direction from the writings of Rorschach, whose journal was published before he was vaporized by Doctor Manhattan, and like Rorschach, they wear masks to hide their identity. In 2016, this group terrorized the Tulsa Police Department, killing several members of the force in an event known as "the White Night." Since then, the group has gone underground, but an investigation of a police shooting raises concerns that they might be gearing up for another attack. And into this world step some familiar characters, a la Ozymandias (Jeremy Irons), the super genius from the original comic.

This Watchmen adaptation is undeniably darker than most MCU films, but MCU fans will undoubtedly appreciate the series' willingness to explore new storylines in a well-known comic book universe. This fresh take on Watchmen was a cinematic risk, but it paid off, and while there might not be a season two, this self-contained story does justice to Alan Moore's original work. 

Marvel fans will definitely love Cloak & Dagger

The characters in Cloak & Dagger were lifted straight from the pages of Marvel Comics, so MCU fans will definitely enjoy this series. When an oil rig collapses in New Orleans, the disaster sets off an unlikely chain of events. Tandy (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone (Aubrey Joseph), two kids whose paths have never crossed, are both affected by the rig's energy field, but it will take years before they truly understand what happened that night. 

Eight years later, Tandy gets by with the money she steals from rich people and does her best to avoid her mother. She's lost in life, but when she bumps into Tyrone at a party, they both sense a strange connection. Eventually, they realize that they had an encounter on the night the rig exploded, and this realization awakens their superpowers. Tandy has the ability to emit daggers of light, while Tyrone has the power to cloak people in darkness. As teenage runaways, they find themselves targeted by some unsavory people, and they stick together for self-defense, but their undeniable romantic feelings complicate their situation. 

Cloak & Dagger avoids teen soap tropes and takes viewers on a wild and entertaining adventure through New Orleans. The executive producer hasn't ruled out the possibility that Tyrone and Tandy could make an appearance in future MCU films, either, hinting that they could pop up "anywhere." And the creators even incorporated a few MCU Easter eggs throughout the series, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Legends of Tomorrow has a lot of fun with time travel

In Avengers: Endgame, MCU fans watched their favorite superheroes use the power of time travel to save the world and bring back half of all life in the universe. And if you're looking for a superhero series that explores the concept of time travel, Legends of Tomorrow fits the bill. 

Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), a time-traveling rogue, has seen the future, and he doesn't like what's coming next. He's desperate to stop the events he's witnessed from coming to pass. But he can't take on this massive task alone. It's going to take a team to get the job done. Rip knows he has to get the best and brightest on his side, but that's not all. If he wants to save the world, he's going to have to look for help in some unlikely places, and that means bringing a few villains into the fold, too. After all, it's not just the Earth at stake here. Time itself is on the chopping block. 

Yes, there are a lot of characters and moving parts to keep track of, but in Legends of Tomorrow, every narrative detail comes together for a satisfying storyline. The quirky misfits taking center stage may screw up as frequently as they succeed, but that's what makes the series so much fun. Watching this ragtag group of unlikely allies unite to save everything they have ever known will definitely hold you over until the next Marvel film hits the big screen.

If you enjoy Iron Man, then you'll want to watch Arrow

The entire MCU film series began with the misadventures of an eccentric billionaire, as Tony Stark began his journey to becoming Iron Man. The series Arrow kicks off with a similar premise, as billionaire Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has gone missing after a disastrous accident on his family's yacht.

Queen is presumed dead, but the truth behind his disappearance from Starling City is even more shocking. When Queen finally returns to the city, he claims that he's spent the past five years stuck on a mysterious island after being shipwrecked. He tries to maintain the hedonistic image of the man he used to be, and he makes an attempt to reconcile with his ex, Laurel (Katie Cassidy). But under the cover of darkness each night, he begins operating as a vigilante, becoming his alter ego Arrow. 

His primary objective? Hunting down the people whose names are listed in his father's notebook. He wants to take down those who threaten the city and return it to its glory days, but there's only one small problem. Laurel's father, Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), is trying to hunt down this vigilante and lock him up.

Queen's origin story is intriguing, and his transformation from living a careless, extravagant lifestyle to ruthless vigilante comes off as authentic. Witty writing, slick production values, and plenty of dramatic action sequences make Arrow a downright addictive series, and it's easy to get lost for hours in Starling City's seedy underbelly.