Superheroes have long been a popular focus of fiction in various forms. Their larger-than-life stories inspire us, they give us hope, and in some cases, they provide a perspective on the problems of our own lives that we often don’t notice.
But if you’re in the mood to catch a good superhero show on Netflix, there’s a dizzying number of options to choose from. Is the gritty, modern hero what you’re looking for? Or do you prefer the light-hearted old-school heroics that appeal to everyone from kids to adults? Whatever your superhero preferences might be, there’s a little something for everyone on Netflix right now.
And it’s not just Marvel and DC that are in the game. There are so many great stories from all around the globe that offer unique perspectives on the superhero genre. So we’ve decided to make the choice a little easier for you by assembling the best superhero shows streaming on Netflix right now in this handy guide. Here you’ll find stories of every variety, from classic capes-and-tights heroes to powerful modern origin stories to obscure hidden gems and much more. So read on, True Believers.
The Umbrella Academy
Creator: Steve Blackman
Cast: Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton, Mary J. Blige, John Magaro, Adam Godley, Colm Feore, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya, Yusuf Gatewood, Marin Ireland, and Kate Walsh.
Seven children born under special circumstances are brought together by an eccentric billionaire who trains them to be heroes and calls them the Umbrella Academy. Thirty years later, the now-estranged members of the Academy are reunited by a funeral and the apocalypse. Neat, right?
The Umbrella Academy is the story of this dysfunctional family of heroes brought together by tragedy and weirdness. The show is based on the hit Dark Horse Comics series of the same name by Gerard Way (yes, the My Chemical Romance frontman) and Gabriel Bá. This star-studded superhero series is one of Netflix’s most popular entries in the genre. Two seasons of the show are already available on Netflix and they’re both wildly entertaining, with a third on the way.
Creator: Adam Price
Cast: David Stakston, Jonas Strand Gravli, Herman Tømmeraas, Theresa Frostad Eggesbø, Emma Bones, Henriette Steenstrup, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, and Synnøve Macody Lund
In Norse mythology, gods and giants meet in an epic final battle that ends the world. In Netflix’s Ragnarok, that battle is happening all over again. This Norwegian series re-examines the old Norse stories in the present day, with climate change and industrial pollution being the true weapons with which the forces of evil seek to destroy the world.
But of course, there is a hero who will fight against them even though the whole world seems to be against him. That hero’s name is Magne Seier (David Stakston) and when the show begins, he has no idea what great powers he has hidden within him. Ragnarok is both a coming-of-age drama and an environmentalist story. It’s a superhero show with very real issues at its heart and some really cool action spread throughout, with two seasons currently available on Netflix.
Creator: Drew Goddard
Cast: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Toby Leonard Moore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent D'Onofrio
The first of Marvel’s Netflix shows, Daredevil proved to the world that the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t all jokes and shawarma. This dark three-season tale of violence and vigilantism reeled in fans and kept them hooked, even when its sister shows started lagging behind in terms of quality.
Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is a blind lawyer living in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. But by night, he lives a second life, using his secret enhanced senses to bring justice to the streets of his home as the hero known as Daredevil. There’s drama, emotion, and no-holds-barred martial arts action, all of which have made Daredevil one of the most beloved Netflix superhero shows of all time.
Creator: Steve Lightfoot
Cast: Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Amber Rose Revah, Jason R. Moore, and Deborah Ann Woll
The Punisher is one character no one should want to be like. Haunted by the trauma of war and the deaths of his family, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) becomes a ruthless killer of criminals, a punisher of the wicked. Castle’s action-packed story has been adapted many times but the MCU version stands out as a binge-worthy tale of violence and retribution.
Spinning out of Daredevil Season 2, Netflix’s The Punisher is perhaps the most popular adaptation of the Marvel Comics character. The series balances his trademark brand of vigilantism with intricate conspiracies and mysteries. The show did have problems in its two-season run but it’s still an interesting take on the character that caught the attention of a lot of fans.
Creator: Melissa Rosenberg
Cast: Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval, Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss, and David Tennant
Just because you have superpowers, doesn’t mean you don’t get affected by trauma. The Netflix Marvel show Jessica Jones is the perfect example of this. Once a superhero, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is now a bitter private investigator who is haunted by her past. But when that past begins to resurface, Jessica must fight through her pain to confront it, both for her sake and for others like her.
Jessica Jones is a powerful story about overcoming trauma and healing from your past, with themes of assault and PTSD. Plus, it’s also got some great action and snide humor. A detective story in a world of superheroes, Jessica Jones is a must-watch both for Marvel fans and for superhero fans in general.
Creator: Cheo Hodari Coker
Cast: Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Erik LaRay Harvey, Rosario Dawson, Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Dennis, and Mustafa Shakir
Mike Colter’s version of Luke Cage was first introduced in Jessica Jones before going on to get his own series. A two-season superhero drama set in modern-day Harlem, Marvel’s Luke Cage is an entertaining journey that combines social activism with good old-fashioned hand-to-hand action.
After being subjected to experiments that gave him super strength and bulletproof skin, Luke Cage comes to Harlem in search of a quiet life. But circumstances push this newly minted superhuman into becoming a hero, standing up to both criminals and authority figures. Where most superheroes wear capes and suits, Luke Cage walks the streets in a bullet-ridden hoodie, righting wrongs wherever he can. It’s a powerful show, one of the best in its shared universe, and the music of the series just elevates it to a whole other level.
Creator: Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez
Cast: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Eka Darville, Elden Henson, Jessica Henwick, Simone Missick, Ramón Rodríguez, Rachael Taylor, Deborah Ann Woll, Élodie Yung, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn, and Sigourney Weaver
An eight-episode crossover of Netflix’s MCU shows, The Defenders was envisioned as a street-level, miniseries version of The Avengers. Granted, the show isn’t nearly as popular as its big-screen equivalent, but it’s still a fast-paced action-thriller that packs a punch.
The Defenders follows the stars of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist as they come together to face a common enemy: the organization of evil ninjas known as the Hand. Despite a few flaws in the narrative, the show is a great watch on the whole. There’s martial arts, superpowers, magical conspiracies, and ninjas. What more could you want?
Creators: Steven S. DeKnight and Sang Kyu Kim
Cast: Josh Duhamel, Ben Daniels, Leslie Bibb, Elena Kampouris, Andrew Horton, Mike Wade, and Matt Lanter
One of the newest additions to Netflix’s catalog, Jupiter’s Legacy is a poignant family drama that just so happens to have superheroes in the mix. Based on the Image Comics series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, the show looks at the conflicts between two generations of superheroes and brings up questions of morality and social change.
Admittedly, the series has a few narrative issues and it was canceled after only one season, but it still manages to raise some interesting questions. And of course, there’s plenty of cool superhero action to keep viewers entertained.
Creator: Bruno Heller
Cast: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
It begins with a very familiar story: On a dark and stormy night, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) witnesses the murder of his parents. But Gotham is not the story of Batman – not at the beginning anyway. No, this show is the story of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in his early days as a Gotham City police officer.
Weaving through stories of corruption and horror, Gotham is essentially an origin story for Batman’s whole world. Over the course of the show’s five seasons, we’re introduced to many of the Dark Knight’s worst enemies and staunchest allies. With a narrative spanning years of history, all building up to create the iconic city we know, Gotham is a unique origin story that ought to be watched by every Batman fan.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Creator: Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen
Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, and Jeff Ward
Imagine a character so popular that when you kill him off, the fans launch a massive campaign just to have him brought back to life. Not a lot of fictional characters can claim that honor and Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson is one of them.
After his death in The Avengers, fans demanded that Coulson be brought back and Marvel complied. The result was Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., an expansive nine-season ABC series that in turn introduced a whole new bunch of beloved characters and settings. Whether it’s actually a part of the MCU or not is still rather unclear but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is where you’ll find the weird and wonderful parts of Marveldom that don’t make it into the movies. It’s a fun show that doesn’t shy away from pushing boundaries and you can’t help but fall in love with its amazing characters.
I Am Not Okay With This
Creator: Jonathan Entwistle and Christy Hall
Cast: Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Sofia Bryant, and Kathleen Rose Perkins
I Am Not Okay With This is a quirky, offbeat origin story about a teenage girl who develops superpowers. It’s a fun dark comedy, and the stars of the show have been praised by critics for their performances.
Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) is a 17-year-old girl who’s trying to navigate the usual drama of high school and come to terms with her budding sexuality. So getting telekinetic superpowers is, on the whole, a bit much for her. I Am Not Okay With This is the story of how she confronts and embraces all of these parts of herself. In the process, we get some humorous incidents and a heartfelt narrative. Based on the comic of the same name by Charles Forsman, the show was originally renewed for Season 2, but Netflix reversed its decision due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the first (and only) season of the show has great reviews and is definitely worth the watch.
Creator: Miguel Esteban and Raúl Navarro
Cast: Quim Gutiérrez, Clara Lago, Adrián Pino and Catalina Sopelana
The Neighbor (Spanish: El Vecino) is another comedic origin story that takes a light-hearted approach to superheroes. Javier (Quim Gutiérrez) is a self-centered man who isn’t exactly a moral champion or a super-smart billionaire. Nevertheless, he is gifted with strange new powers and he must learn how to be a hero with the help of his neighbor. And he also has to hide his new abilities from the world, including his suspicious ex-girlfriend who is tasked with busting him.
It’s a silly show but well-written and with some solid performances. The Neighbor might not have the kind of high-octane action story that one usually gets from superheroes but it’s a fresh take on the genre and it’s a good casual watch. There are two seasons of the show on Netflix totaling 18 episodes to binge.
Creator: Carol Barbee
Cast: Alisha Wainwright, Ja'Siah Young, Jazmyn Simon, Sammi Haney, Jason Ritter, Ali Ahn, and Griffin Robert Faulkner
While most superhero origin stories focus on the heroes themselves, Raising Dion shifts the spotlight to the mother of the person who has inexplicably developed superpowers. Considering the person in question is an eight-year-old named Dion (Ja’Siah Young), this makes for a very interesting story.
Based on Dennis Liu’s 2015 comic book and a short film of the same name, Raising Dion is a heartfelt story of parenthood and the struggles of raising a child as a single mother. The child in question becoming a superhero just makes life a whole lot more complicated. With solid acting and a great story, Season 1 of Raising Dion has already become a big hit and a second season is on the way.
Creator: Binnur Karaevli
Cast: Çağatay Ulusoy, Ayça Ayşin Turan, Okan Yalabık, Hazar Ergüçlü, Burçin Terzioğlu, Engin Öztürk, Taner Ölmez, and Funda Eryiğit
An old-school superhero story, The Protector is a Turkish series that explores the adventures of Hakan Demir (Çağatay Ulusoy), a young man who is drawn into an ancient battle of good and evil. This four-season superhero drama was reportedly inspired by a mystery novel by Turkish author Nilüfer İpek Gökdel titled Karakalem ve Bir Delikanlının Tuhaf Hikayesi (English: A Strange Story of Charcoal and a Young Man).
After his adoptive father is killed, Hakan Demir discovers that he’s part of an ancient organization tasked with protecting Istanbul. Taking on the title of the Protector, Hakan must face the forces of evil, led by a mysterious being called the Immortal. It’s an interesting show with some good performances. And as Netflix’s first-ever Turkish original series, it has some beautiful scenes showcasing the city of Istanbul.
The New Legends of Monkey
Director: Gerard Johnstone
Cast: Chai Hansen, Luciane Buchanan, Josh Thomson, and Emilie Cocquerel
Inspired by the cult classic Japanese series Monkey, this Australian-New Zealand television series is a fun fantasy adventure. Both The New Legends of Monkey and its original inspiration are based on the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West, which tells the story of the legendary Monkey King.
A powerful immortal with a quirky, mischievous personality, Monkey (Chai Hansen) is freed after 500 years of imprisonment by a young scholar. With the world overrun by demons, Monkey is the best hope of beating back the forces of evil. Unfortunately, Monkey doesn’t seem to have most of his powers and he is forced to set off on an epic quest with his newfound companion and two gods named Pigsy (Josh Thomson) and Sandy (Emilie Cocquerel). The New Legends of Monkey is a fun, comedic adventure with lots of magic and kung-fu madness, making it quite an entertaining watch.
Cyborg 009: Call of Justice
Creator: Shotaro Ishinomori
Cast: Keisuke Koumoto, Eiji Hanawa, Haruki Ishiya, Kazuhiko Inoue, Kenji Nomura, Masuo Amada, Misato Fukuen, Mitsuaki Madono, Risa Taneda, Ryou Sugisaki, Satoshi Hino, Setsuji Satoh, Takuya Satō, Yasunori Masutani, Yui Makino, and Yuko Kaida
Cyborg 009 is one of the most popular anime franchises of all time, based on the manga series by Shotaro Ishinomori. Following the adventures of nine cyborgs who rebel against their evil creators to save the world, the series has generated multiple TV shows, movies, and radio shows. Cyborg 009: Call of Justice was originally a three-part movie, which was edited down into a 12-episode series by Netflix for its international release.
It’s an exciting show with tons of nostalgia for old fans of the franchise and a story that’s original enough to attract new viewers. The series picks up with the Cyborgs living quiet lives in Texas, only to have their peace interrupted by the arrival of a reporter who has discovered the existence of an ancient conspiracy. A superhuman group called the Blessed has been controlling human society for a very long time and the Cyborgs must go to battle once again for the sake of all humanity. There’s plenty of action and adventure to be had in this show and it’s a great hopping on point for people who are just discovering the franchise for the first time.
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Cast: Kōki Uchiyama, Ayumu Murase, Megumi Han, Ami Koshimizu, Atsuko Tanaka, Rikiya Koyama, Avu-chan, Yasuhiro Takato, Kenjiro Tsuda, Ken the 390, Subaru Kimura, Young Dais, Hannya, and Afra
Based on the manga series Devilman by Go Nagai, Devilman Crybaby is considered one of the best Netflix anime shows. This dark fantasy superhero series has important mature themes and graphic violence, all playing out with trippy, mind-bending animation. It’s visually brilliant and its plot, while divisive, is definitely one of the best-written anime stories you’ll find on Netflix.
Akira Fudo (Kōki Uchiyama) is a high school student who is bonded to a demon. As a “Devilman”, he fights against the demonic forces that threaten the world. Genocide and bigotry are two important themes in this limited series and there is a sense of tragic inevitability to the whole show.
Creator: John Wirth and Tony Krantz
Cast: Iko Uwais, Byron Mann, Lewis Tan, Lawrence Kao, Celia Au, Li Jun Li, Tommy Flanagan, and Katheryn Winnick
Wu Assassins is a more traditional superhero story. Its world is steeped in ancient Chinese philosophy but its setting is modern-day San Francisco. This thrilling fantasy martial arts series follows the adventures of a young chef named Kai Jin (Iko Uwais) who becomes a superpowered warrior.
Kai Jin is the latest in a long line of assassins tasked with killing the five Wu Lords: criminals with vast elemental powers. The plot does run a bit thin in places but the action more than makes up for that. With a star-studded cast and some excellent action sequences, Wu Assassins is a fun show for fans of superhero and kung fu stories.
Creator: Simon Barry
Cast: Alba Baptista, Toya Turner, Thekla Reuten, Lorena Andrea, Kristina Tonteri-Young, and Tristán Ulloa
Based on the character Warrior Nun Areala created by Ben Dunn, Warrior Nun is a thrilling supernatural superhero series. Ava Silva (Alba Baptista) is a 19-year-old orphan who wakes up in a morgue with strange magical powers. Joining a secret order of demon-hunting nuns, Ava wages war against powerful forces who want to control her.
The show has been praised for its cast and for its well-crafted fight sequences. Warrior Nun has one season available on Netflix and a second one is on its way. It’s a wild, fun show that leans into its silly and absurd moments. It’s not exactly a revelation but it’s a fun genesis story nonetheless.
Locke & Key
Creator: Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite
Cast: Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Laysla De Oliveira, Petrice Jones, and Griffin Gluck.
Locke & Key is a visual treat. The show is based on the comic books of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez and tells the story of three siblings who find a set of magical keys with strange powers. Realizing that there are evil forces that seek to claim the keys, these siblings must work together to save the world.
A superhero coming-of-age story, Locke & Key is a lot of fun to watch. The plot does tend to get muddled up in high school drama but when it does focus on the bigger picture, it reveals a very interesting, high-concept narrative. The show has one season already released with a second one coming in October 2021 and a third season in the works.
Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne craft a charming comedy, with Dakota Johnson proving she's a great comedic lead.