“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was a revolutionary show that not only introduced us to new characters, but gave new roles to characters we already know and love. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) left being the Falcon behind in order to become the first Black Captain America. Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) was finally able to overcome his demons and forge a new friendship with Sam, akin to the one he had with Steve Rogers. Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) become an anti-hero of sorts, working with Sam and Bucky in order to stop the terrorist group known as the Flag Smashers. Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who had been in hiding following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” was revealed to be walking a thin line between good and evil as the notorious Power Broker. And John Walker (Wyatt Russell) made a bloody debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as U.S. Agent.
In a stark contrast to the fantastical “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was a much more low-key affair. While there were plenty of action scenes, themes such as radical ideology, family, racism, and identity were frequently examined over the course of the six-episode series. The Flag Smashers weren’t just terrorists; under the leadership of Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), the group believed that the world was better during the “Blip” and went to extremes to help return it that way.
If you enjoyed “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” here are 10 more superhero shows you should watch.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you should definitely watch the Disney+ “Loki” series after “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Not only is it the next step in Phase 4, it also features the introduction of several new facets of the MCU. This is the series that really breaks down what the multiverse is and why it will play an important factor going forward. Additionally, in the season finale, we the potential next big bad for the Avengers. The show has also already been greenlit for a second season.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) slid into the role of anti-hero quite nicely during the events of “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Avengers: Endgame,” and continues to play that part in the Disney+ series named after him. It’s a long story, but ultimately there is a secret agency that keeps track of a master timeline and works to prevent any deviations from it. Loki himself had caused a few branches on his own, so he’s recruited by this agency to travel through time and right his wrongs. Having to atone for his previous sins is something Loki and Bucky definitely have in common.
In “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” we finally catch up with Sharon Carter, who has been on the run from the authorities and living off the grid in Madripoor. This is the first time she appears following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” in which she helped Captain America evade capture. We ultimately find out that Sharon has become the infamous Power Broker, a shadowy figure that deals in arms and weaponry.
The kids of “Runaways” know a thing or two about being forced to go underground — literally, in their case. The Marvel Hulu series followed a group of teenage superheroes who find out that their parents are actually supervillains. Determined to stop them and clear their names of a crime they didn’t commit, the kids go on the run, eventually ending up in an underground mansion.
“Runaways” shares some themes with “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” mainly those of family and identity. Even though the kids love their parents, they have to fight them in order to save the world. Each teen also has a unique power set that they must learn to use and control. These teenagers go through a metamorphosis over the course of the show’s three seasons, changing from fledgling heroes to capable young adults.
Sam Wilson changes superhero identities by the end of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” setting a new precedent as the first African-American Captain America. Sam worked alongside Steve Rogers for years when they were both members of the Avengers, so it made sense for Steve to voluntarily pass the mantle of Captain America on to Sam. However, Sam wasn’t the only hero who gained a new identity onscreen.
The popular consensus is that “Iron Fist” was the weakest of Marvel’s Netflix shows, with a lackluster lead character, mediocre fight scenes, and predictable writing. Jessica Henwick’s performance as Colleen Wing changed all of that, though. Charismatic, smart, and fearless, Colleen was the character most viewers gravitated towards. A fighter in her own right, she worked alongside Danny Rand to help him reclaim his life and become a hero.
The second season of “Iron Fist” was better than the first, especially its storytelling. It also helped that the season introduced the Daughters of the Dragon, the name that Colleen Wing and Misty Knight use when they team up. At the end of the season, Danny gives the power of the Iron Fist to Colleen, who he believes is more worthy and would put it to better use. One of the final scenes of the series is Colleen preparing to fight criminals in an alleyway as the new Iron Fist, complete with a glowing katana blade.
In addition to the power-hungry John Walker, Sam and Bucky also have to content with an international group of terrorists called the Flag Smashers. The Flag Smashers want to return the world to how it was following the Blip, when Thanos snapped half of all life out of existence. While their theology wasn’t all that flawed, the ends didn’t justify the means — ie committing mass murder.
Although the show only lasted two seasons, Fox’s “The Gifted” shed a new light on the world of the X-Men. Centered around the Strucker family, who discover that their teen children are mutants and go on the run from the government, the show featured the live-action introductions of several X-Men characters. Blink, Polaris, Thunderbird, Sage, and the Stepford Cuckoos all appeared on this high-octane series, with most being part of the “mutant underground” (basically, a stand-in team for the X-Men). “The Gifted” put a “normal” everyday family in the middle of a political and ideological war between mutants and humans.
The second season of “The Gifted” introduced a new Hellfire Club, an organization dedicated to mutant supremacy no matter what the cost. Several members of the mutant underground, including Polaris and Sage, eventually join the Club in order to take a more aggressive approach to defending mutants. Reeva Payge, the ruthless leader of the organization, went to all sorts of deadly lengths to ensure that mutants would be seen as the superior race to humans. Much like Karli Morgenthau, Reeva’s unquenchable thirst for power ultimately leads to her own demise.
In “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” we were introduced to the Bradley family, which included Isaiah Bradley and Eli Bradley. Isaiah is an African-American Korean War vet who was wrongfully imprisoned and experimented on for 30 years. He is one of the earliest recipients of a super soldier serum prototype, yet his existence was erased from the history books. His grandson, Eli, would eventually grow up to be a member of the Young Avengers in the comic books, adopting the codename Patriot.
The sad fact is that seeing African-American superheroes, much less a whole family of them, is pretty rare in films and on television. However, The CW’s “Black Lightning” features not only the superhero Black Lightning, but his daughters, Jennifer and Anissa, who are heroes as well. Jennifer and Anissa come into their powers throughout the course of the series, with their father helping them hone and perfect their abilities. In turn, the trio form a superhero team of sorts, defending their city of Freeland from crime and violence.
“Black Lightning” ran for four seasons and features a slew of other characters from the DC Comics universe, such as Grace Choi, Painkiller, and Looker. The series is unique in that it is just as much a family drama as it as a superhero action show, making it one of the few successful series to blend the two genres.
As seen in “Captain America: Civil War,” Sam and Bucky became an unlikely but highly entertaining duo, and that same rapport continued through “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Bucky helped Sam finally accept his destiny as Captain America, and Sam helped Bucky open up to people again, wisecracking with each other the whole way.
Cloak and Dagger is another iconic Marvel duo, and were highlighted in their live-action Freeform series. While they primarily went by their civilian names, Tyrone and Tandy, the two teens formed a special bond after rediscovering each other years after they initially met. When they were younger, Tyrone and Tandy were in a car accident that exposed them to chemicals that ended up giving them superpowers. Tyrone suddenly had the ability to teleport and see other people’s fears, while Tandy is able to generate daggers of light and see people’s hopes and desires.
The two worked together to track down whoever was responsible for the accident that gave them their powers, as well as helping others. Season two had the duo working to rescue local girls who were being abducted at an alarming rate and facing off with the villain Mayhem. Cloak and Dagger formed a partnership not unlike Sam and Bucky. Tyrone was the strait-laced, optimistic one; Tandy was the cynical, yet resourceful, one.
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” saw Sam and Bucky travel the world to go toe to toe with the terrorist group, the Flag Smashers. Every fight scene between the heroes and villains was expertly choreographed, giving us some of the best action sequences in the MCU. The show also reflected on generational heroism, telling the story of the Bradley family and Steve passing the torch to Sam.
The highly underrated “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” did all of this on a recurring basis throughout the course of its seven-season run. While there is still plenty of debate on whether or not the show is canon, the fact remains that it gave us some of the best character development and storylines in the MCU. Every episode feels straight out of a comic book, and the show featured second-tier Marvel Comics characters like Ghost Rider, Mockingbird, and Quake heavily throughout its run. The show also introduced the Inhumans into the MCU — no one counts that terrible tv show — giving us some of the most powerful MCU characters yet.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. team frequently dealt with international terrorists, both of the human and supervillain variety, traveled to exotic locales, and even went to space to fight the Kree. The banter between Coulson and his team is very similar to how Bucky and Sam interact; they may not always get along, but they will always have each other’s backs.
In “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” it is revealed that Bucky is still alive, but has been brainwashed by HYDRA into becoming a killer named the Winter Soldier. Captain America was able to get through to Bucky during “Captain America: Civil War,” which ended with Bucky coming to terms with the blood he had on his hands. However, it’s not until “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” that we see Bucky truly break free of his past and work towards making up for the damage he had caused.
Jessica Jones is an equally tragic hero in the MCU. While attempting to utilize her powers as a superhero, she comes across the villainous Killgrave, who has the ability to control others with his mind. Under his influence, Jessica commits an array of crimes, including killing Luke Cage’s wife, Reva. Ironically, Reva’s murder is what breaks Killgrave’s hold over Jessica. She goes on to dedicate her life to helping others while dealing with the PTSD of her encounter with Killgrave.
Jessica goes through the wringer over the course of the show’s three seasons, but proves she’s absolutely the hero she never thought she would be. While Jessica ultimately acknowledges responsibility for the atrocities she committed while with Killgrave, her “recovery” isn’t quite as thorough as Bucky’s. She continues dealing with her own trauma the best way that she knows how — by helping others.
Bucky and Sam turning to Baron Zemo in their time of need is one of the many unexpected turns to happen in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” The unlikely trio makes for some of the funniest moments of the series, including their time in Madripoor and a face-off with the Dora Milaje. While Zemo does provide a lot of comedic relief, the show also reminds the viewers that he is also a deadly criminal.
Similarly, the CW’s “Legends of Tomorrow” is a trippy, time-traveling superhero series with a motley crew of characters. The roster is assembled from guest stars who appeared on previous Arrowverse shows, and, like the unlikely team of Bucky, Sam, and Zemo, is comprised of both heroes and villains. The heroes, which include White Canary and Atom, are initially distrustful of the villains, like Captain Cold and Heat Wave, but the two parties eventually come together and form a found family of sorts. Dysfunctional, sure, but definitely family.
As “Legends of Tomorrow” enters its seventh season, it’s becoming extremely clear that the chemistry between the characters is what keeps the show going. It’s fun to travel to different times and places, but it also depends on the company you’re doing it with.
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” emphasizes family throughout the course of the series. Details about Sam’s past and his extended family, including his sister Sarah, are revealed for the first time since the character was introduced. Sarah and Sam are often at odds with each other, with Sam wanting to try and make the world a better place, and Sarah being a realist who just wants to get back to a normal life. There’s also Isaiah Bradley, whose protective grandson, Eli, is wary about dealing with Sam.
Netflix’s “Raising Dion” contains a lot of the same themes. Nicole is a single mother who struggles to take care of her son, Dion, after he develops special powers. Dion wants to use his powers to help people, but Nicole wants him to live a normal life. The young mother helps Dion figure out the origin of his abilities, as well as protect him from those who want to exploit him.
“Raising Dion” is a special series, in that it is both a coming-of-age story as well as a superhero origin story. The familial bond is the thing that holds the show together, while the plight of a young mother and her unique son will keep you glued to the screen. The first season is just nine episodes long, but the series was renewed for season two in January of 2020.