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All Spider-Man TV shows, ranked worst to best

Marvel's wall-crawler has been on TV almost as long as he's existed. But which series featured the best Peter Parker and/or Miles Morales?

Image credit: ABC, Marvel

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If you're a regular Popverse reader, you probably caught our recent ranking of all the Spider-Man movies. But if you're even the most casual of Spider-Fans, you already know that the wallcrawler's adventures stretch far beyond the big screen. That's why we've gone ahead and followed that list up with every Spider-Man TV show ranked.

And just so you know: I'm only doing shows that specifically focus on Spider-Man or someone in the Spider-Family. So when you get to the end and I haven't mentioned Marvel Super Hero Adventures anywhere, don't be mad at me.

Spidey Super Stories (1974)

Image credit: PBS

Airing as part of the children's series The Electric Company, Spidey Super Stories was the first regular live-action appearance of Spider-Man on television. But even holding that honor, the show left something to be desired. The production value was low and the premises were corny even for 70s kids TV.

That said, Spidey Super Stories did feature Spider-Man facing off against Count Dracula, as played by Morgan Freeman. So it's got that going for it.

Spider-Man (1981)

Image credit: Marvel Productions

Much later in this list, we're going to get to a Spider-Man show with hilariously bad animation. That show was made in 1967. This show, however, was made in the same year as Disney's Fox and the Hound, the Heavy Metal movie, and Mobile Suit Gundam - projects that, despite their faults, were visually evocative and carefully constructed. So what's this show's excuse for looking so bland?

Sorry, I'm being harsh - it's neat that this show introduced non-comic-readers to a lot of cool Marvel characters like Magneto and Ka-Zar - but those characters are so cool because their creators put so much thought into their visual creation. Don't they deserve the same treatment in cartoon form?

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981)

Image credit: Marvel

Repetitive, predictable, and making frequent use of villains that seek to genetically mutate or unleash dinosaurs instead of doing, you know, crime, this Spider-Man is decidedly unamazing. The animation is noticeably cheap, like its predecessor, and even the introduction of a character who should have been cool (brand new character Firestar would become a fan favorite in comics) couldn't save it.

Then again, points for introducing the first Spider-polycule?

Spidey and His Amazing Friends (2021)

Image credit: Disney Jr.

I genuinely feel bad for ranking preschool-oriented shows. Is the dialogue in this series bad? Yes, but it's made for people with 100-word vocabularies. Are the stories tame and unoriginal? Yes, but its target audience is scared of mall Santas. So if you're someone who enjoys this show with their kids, please know that I absolutely think it does everything it sets out to do.

I just also think that what it sets out to do... isn't very much.

The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)

Poor Nicholas Hammond. He was the first live-action Peter Parker in a Spider-Man-centric show, and few people remember him. Part of that is probably because this show only lasted two years (plus a couple made-for-TV movies that came later), but also because, looking back, the show didn't qite commit to being about Spider-Man.

None of Spidey's comic book rogues ever appear in this show, whose main baddies are international criminal rings and terrorists. And though the story of Peter getting a radioactive spider-bite stayed the same, his powers were altered to be more "grounded." This show is worth a watch if you're into '70s TV like The Six Million-Dollar Man, but fans of comic book Spider-Man aren't missing much by skipping.

Spider-Man Unlimited (1999)

Image credit: Saban Entertainment

As you know if you read Popverse's ranking of the Batman TV shows, I really appreciate when a comic adaptation tries something different than what's on the page. That's certainly the case with Spider-Man Unlimited, an alien, cyber-punk adventure that drew both Peter Parker and Spidey fans out of their comfort zones.

But unlike certain Batman projects, this reimagining of the Spider-mythos didn't quite come together. Part of that was the network's fault (it ends on a cliffhanger!), and part of it was the flat characters and predictable plots. The High Evolutionary (later made famous by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) is about as dull a villain as they come in this show.

But hey, that Reed Richards-designed spidersuit is objectively badass, so do with that what you will.

Spider-Man (2017)

A Spider-Man show that makes regular characters out of both Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy should be exciting. This show, however, is... just fine? I think we're just below the half-way point of this list, and that placement makes a lot of sense for this show, especially now that, thanks to the Spider-Verse movies, non-comic-reading fans know just how incredible Gwen and Miles deserve to be.

On the other hand, this show is free to watch on Marvel HQ's YouTube page, which is admittedly pretty neat.

Spider-Woman (1979)

Image credit: ABC

Fun, flashy, and distinctly Silver Age in nature, Spider-Woman had a lot going for it. The series was the first to showcase a "natural" webbing from a Spider-person, decades before the Sam Raimi trilogy would use the concept in his Spider-Man movies. Besides this innovation, Spider-Woman also saw fit to use cool Marvel villains like Kingpin and Dormammu.

And yet, the series feels a little unoriginal, like it was constantly attempting to capitalize on popular trends rather than create something new. Case in point, Spider-Woman's distinctly Wonder Woman costume change. And if that's not enough, well, you should see the episode where Spider-Woman just does Star Wars.

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (2003)

Speaking of attempts to capitalize on popular trends, the 2003 Spider-Man animated series was about as blatant a rip of the Raimi movies as they come. Sure, the visuals could be interesting, but there's a certain uncanny-valleyness to them that, I'd argue, comes from trying to look just like the big screen Spidey.

But don't worry, something truly original (if truly imperfect) is on its way.

Spider-Man (1967)

Image credit: ABC

Ah, the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon. What's not to love? It's easily the most memeable show on this list, regularly featured Spidey's rogues gallery in all their technicolor glory, and gave us arguably the most memorable superhero theme song in history, one that's still used in soundtracks today.

Honestly, the only reason this show isn't higher on the shelf is the laughably corny animation, which was the butt of that Across the Spider-Verse bit you may recall. Still, this is the first show on this list I'd say is entirely worth a watch, even if you're chuckling the whole way through.

Ultimate Spider-Man (2012)

Image credit: Disney XD

Not as good as the Spider-Man cartoon that directly preceded it (more on that later), Ultimate Spider-Man still holds its own in a Spidey stack-up. The series did some cool Zack Morris stuff with the character of Peter Parker, having him speak direcly to the audience and even putting the visuals of his mind on screen. Plus, this Spider-Man existed in the same universe as the much-lauded Avengers Assemble, with the two crossing over for some very fun adventures.

Spider-Man (1978)

Image credit: Toei

Call me a blasphemer, but one of the best Spider-Man shows of all time has absolutely nothing to do with the comic book Spider-Man, save a similar spidersuit. That is the Japanese Spider-Man, sometimes referred to as Supaidāman, and reader, it is awesome.

In this version of Spider-Man, produced by Toei, young Takuya Yamashiro is a motorcycle racer, genetically mutanted by the blood of alien Spider People, who does battle with an invasion force of ninja cyborgs using a giant mech named Leopardon.

Show me someone that isn't excited by that, and I'll show you a liar.

Spider-Man (1994)

Image credit: Fox Kids Network

After X-Men: The Animated Series, this Spider-Man was probably the best animated project of the 90s, and it continues to be one of the best iterations of the character ever on TV. Not only did this show weave Peter Parker into some of the coolest pockets of the Marvel Universe, frequently bringing on big-ticket characters as co-stars, but it also invented the concept of the Spider-Verse, an idea without which the modern Spider-Man would be very, very different.

(In case you're interested, this version of the character did recently appear in an episode of X-Men '97. Beware of spoilers.)

The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)

Surprised? You shouldn't be. The 2008 animated entry into wallcrawler history checks every box you could possibly imagine - amazing character design/animation, comic-inspired plots, and some gold-standard writing. In terms of animated Spider-Men, this show is only second to the Spider-Verse films - the filmmakers of which actually gave Spectacular Spidey a cameo.

Go to Spider-Man spaces online and you'll find the only thing fans complain about in terms of this show is that it was far, far too short. With only two seasons under its web-wings, this show has inspired a full-on #SaveSpectacularSpiderMan movement and, in my opinon, has the best chance of being brought back to air one day.

Love though I would a Supaidāman revival.

Marvel's most reliable superhero has proven he can do a whole lot more than just 'whatever a spider can.' Swing into Spidey's history with Popverse's 10 best Spider-Man comic books, our Spider-Man movie watch order, and if you want our opinion on the subject, our article on the Spider-Man actors ranked.