How To Watch the Marvel TV Shows on Disney+ (And Which Are Canon)

As the MCU continues to expand, it has become harder to keep track of what films are essential viewing, let alone figuring out which Marvel TV shows are part of the canon.

As of March 2022, all of the MCU TV shows are available on Disney+.

Following the massive success of The Avengers in 2012, the next logical step was for Marvel to start branching out into TV. In 2013, the first MCU TV shows launched, and subsequently created one of the most confusing timelines in a cinematic universe.

The approach to the Marvel TV shows was exceedingly inconsistent when it came to which were actually canon. Adding to the confusion, some of the shows started off canon and then drifted off

Eventually, it seems that Marvel started to take the same approach to TV as it did to its comics. Yes, everything is technically in the same world, but the stories tend to work better if you don’t think about that too hard.

To make things easy, we’ve broken down the shows based on how they were originally released.

ABC Shows

Agents of SHIELD

7 Seasons, September 24, 2013 – August 12, 2020
Watch on Disney+

Originally, Agents of SHIELD was meant to be 100% canon to the rest of the MCU – heck, it starred Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson from the films. But after a few crossovers with the films in the first season, the idea that Agents of SHIELD was at all connected to the Marvel films was dropped. In fairness, this worked to the show’s benefit, allowing them to explore characters and storylines with a lot more freedom. The more the show turned its back on the films, the better it got, and it really came into its own around Season 4.

In terms of crossovers, the most important one happens during Season 1, episodes 16 and 17 tie directly into Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the events of that film also inform much of the rest of the TV series. You can consider all the episodes to that point as canon (and reasonably the rest of the first season) but from there the connections are tangential at best. If you’ve seen the films, you might catch some clever references and there are some links to Agent Carter (mainly Daniel Sousa joining the cast in Season 7). But on the whole, the series stands on its own.

Now that Agents of SHIELD has ended, there are rumours that we might see some of the actors from the show reprise some version of their characters in future Marvel projects, but it’s unlikely that those will make any attempt to retcon Agents of SHIELD back into canon.

Agent Carter

2 Seasons, January 6, 2015 – March 1, 2016
Watch on Disney+

Of the three ABC shows, this one is the easiest to call canon. Or rather, there is nothing that contradicts it being canon to the films. In fact, James D’Arcy’s Edwin Jarvis is the only character to originate from a TV show and then go on to appear in a film (Avengers: Endgame).

That said, the show has very little bearing on the films other than fleshing out Peggy Carter’s character. It is still quite good and on balance it is the best of the three ABC shows.


1 Season, September 29 – November 10, 2017
Watch on Disney+

And now we come to the worst of the Marvel shows. The less said about this show, the better. If I’m honest, I haven’t actually watched Inhumans, but really, that tells you everything you need to know about it. It is not considered canon and definitely not required viewing. ‘Nuff said.

The Defenders Saga

The Marvel shows that were originally released on Netflix exist in their own little corner of the Marvel Universe. Despite the events of The Avengers – namely the Battle of New York – being mentioned in the early seasons, they quickly dropped any pretence of being connected to the rest of the MCU and instead exist as their own interconnected universe. The 13 seasons are best watched in release order to get the full effect of the crossovers:

  1. Daredevil (Season 1) – April 10 2015
  2. Jessica Jones (Season 1) – November 20 2015
  3. Daredevil (Season 2) – March 18 2016
  4. Luke Cage (Season 1) – September 30 2016
  5. Iron Fist (Season 1) – March 17 2017
  6. The Defenders (Limited Series) – July 31 2017
  7. The Punisher (Season 1) – November 17 2017
  8. Jessica Jones (Season 2) – March 8 2018
  9. Luke Cage (Season 2) – June 22 2018
  10. Iron Fist (Season 2) – September 7 2018
  11. Daredevil (Season 3) – October 19 2018
  12. The Punisher (Season 2) – January 18 2019
  13. Jessica Jones (Season 3) – June 14 2019 

That said, you can watch each of the shows on their own. The crossovers play much the same as the Marvel films. Sure, you can enjoy any of the Avengers films on their own, but watching the solo films provides more context. That said, the crossovers taper off after The Defenders and the watch order isn’t as strict. This is especially true for Punisher – you can watch both seasons in a row without going back to the others.

Teen Shows


3 Seasons, November 21, 2017 – December 13, 2019
Watch on Disney+

Cloak & Dagger

2 Seasons, June 7, 2018 – May 30, 2019
Watch on Amazon Prime

I put these two together as Marvel’s “teen shows”. Like the Netflix shows, they make minor references to the wider Marvel Universe, but its again best to not think about it too much. These two shows did have a crossover of their own in Runaways Season 3 episode 8. It’s best if you watch that episode after watching Cloak and Dagger season 2.



1 Season, October 2020
Watch on Disney+

The only other show on this list I haven’t watched. All I can say is it’s definitely not canon and likely doesn’t have much of a link to the rest of the MCU, if at all.

Disney+ MCU Phase 4

All of these shows are fully canon within the main MCU timeline. While it is not yet known how much they will crossover into future films, they all feature characters that originated in past films.



3 Seasons, February 8, 2017 – August 12, 2019
Watch on Disney+

The Gifted

2 Season, October 2, 2017 – February 26, 2019
Watch on Disney+

These shows are currently completely separate to the MCU. Both have references to the X-Men films, but the connections are flimsy at best. They should not be considered canon, even with each other.