There’s never been more choice when it comes to superhero TV shows, from The Boys on Prime Video to the glut of Marvel Disney Plus series. But Netflix just got a classic series that beats them all — and it stars everybody's favorite web-slinger.
Both seasons of The Spectacular Spider-Man are now streaming on Netflix; that’s 26 episodes of spidey goodness to enjoy. This beloved animated series debuted in 2008 but was unfortunately canceled a year later in the wake of Disney’s purchase of Marvel. More than a decade later the show is still fondly remembered and most definitely ranks as a TV show that was canceled too soon.
What is The Spectacular Spider-Man about?
The Spectacular Spider-Man skips the well-known origins story and begins a few months after dorky high schooler Peter Parker (voiced by Josh Keaton) was bitten by a radioactive spider and developed superhuman abilities.
The show follows his attempts to balance being a normal teenager with crime-fighting. Plus, it features many of his most iconic villains, including Vulture, Electro, the Lizard, Mysterio and Dr. Otto Octavius. There’s even a four-part run that revolves around Venom, which is arguably the best depiction of this landmark Spider-Man storyline outside of the comic books.
What really sets The Spectacular Spider-Man apart is its highly serialized nature. Many animated superhero shows at the time stuck to telling self-contained stories in each episode, but The Spectacular Spider-Man isn’t afraid to develop longer character arcs across multiple episodes and even whole seasons.
What do critics say about The Spectacular Spider-Man?
The Spectacular Spider-Man was greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm when it first debuted back in 2008. And to this day that positive reputation has remained intact. In fact, the show scores a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomoates (opens in new tab), and viewers agree with its earning a very impressive 93% audience rating as well.
Eric Goldman of IGN (opens in new tab) declared that “Spider-Man finally has a TV series that's worthy of him” in an extremely positive review. Praise was dolled out for the show’s multi-episode plotlines, clear respect for the character's storied history and clever use of Spidey’s extensive rogues' gallery.
What Culture (opens in new tab)’s Matthew Wells was similarly enthusiastic saying, “Looking past the simplistic design of the show, Spectacular Spider-Man proved in its short two seasons that it was the best Spider-Man cartoon ever made, if not one of the greatest comic book cartoons of all time.”
If you search for rankings of the best superhero shows of all time, chances are The Spectular Spider-Man will appear somewhere on almost all popular lists. That's because, aside from its blocky animation, there’s very little about this show that isn’t worthy of praise and its enduring legacy is a real testament to that.
Should you stream The Spectacular Spider-Man?
If you have even a vague interest in superhero shows then you absolutely need to stream The Spectacular Spider-Man on Netflix. It’s comfortably one of the best comic book shows ever made, and it deserves every second of the time it’s 26-episodes take to binge-watch.
It’s a great shame that the planned third season never entered production, and it does leave the series on a cliffhanger that will remain forever unresolved. Nevertheless, The Spectacular Spider-Man continues to rank as one of the best pieces of Spidey media ever and is an easy recommendation for all ages.
Much like Batman: The Animated Series or X-Men: The Animated Series before it, The Spectacular Spider-Man is one of those rare shows that is ostensibly targeting a young audience but has more than enough substance to also hook older viewers as well. It’s the perfect show to watch with your entire family as everyone will enjoy it.
The show was only added to Netflix on Friday (July 8) but is already making quite an impression. The Speculator Spider-Man has been trending on social media over the weekend as fans both old and new gush about the show and encourage Netflix subscribers to watch it as soon as possible. There's no disagreement from us. Get The Spectacular Spider-Man in your watchlist now.
In other Netflix news, the streamer has reportedly just canceled a big Vince McMahon documentary.