Best Spider-Man Animated Series: Ranking All Seasons

It’s time to take a look down memory lane and say hello to our old friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. With the new Spider-Man animated series coming to Disney, might as well look back at our favorite childhood superhero in his television debuts. Now, being one of the more popular heroes to enter the Marvel Universe, Spidey did have his moments of failure. Yes, Peter Parker did get a few F’s from time to time, but it wasn’t his fault his creators weren’t as skilled as he was behind the camera. Here are our picks from the worst to best Spider-Man animated series.

Spider-Man Unlimited (1999-2001)

During this time most kids were attracted to the cartons of Pokémon and Digimon than the friendly neighborhood Spider-man. Not only were kids not interested in watching crime-fighting superhero’s but this was a time where Sony and Marvel were creating a deal forcing Fox and Saban Entertainment to have their hands tied with original ideas. This leads them to create Spider-Man Unlimited, which takes a different spin on our wall-crawling hero. Instead of following spidery around New York, dealing with school, work, family, and villains we find Spider-Man traveling to a Counter-Earth to save John Jameson who was captured. The idea was out of the box and worked for some viewers, especially with the upgrade on a new Spidey suit. Unfortunately, with the good storyline there was a huge lack of character development. There were also dark elements that made the cartoon look like a DC Universe movie. Adding the bad voice acting and lack of Spidey humor, this wasn’t a typical Spider-Man cartoon. Creator’s got the hint from viewers and ended the show with only thirteen episodes. The last episode left everyone on a cliffhanger which no one remembers and doesn’t care too much to think about.

Spider-Man (1967-1970)

The show that brought us the famous Spider-Man theme song and the most memes than any other Spider-Man show has given the world. Trying to save money, animators would re-use scenes such as swinging from buildings, fight scenes, and wall climbing. They also only had webbing on Spider-Man’s gloves and mask, the rest of the suit is just blue and red with a spider on his chest. The budget was tight for this animated series; the first season went very well with Grantray-Lawrence producing the animation. Successfully following Stan Lee’s original set up of Spider-Man with his quirky jokes and bringing in villains that any Spider-Man known and love. However, after switching producers in the second season, the show went into a dark turn. Budget was tight causing creators to take out villains. There was a point where Ralph Bakshi, the second and third season producer, used scenes from his other animation show Rocket Robin Hood in Spider-Man. The show isn’t so much remembered as a disaster, more as a goofy take on Spider-Man. The only issue some of us have with the show is how easily the theme song can stay in our heads.

Spider-Man (1981-1982)

This Spider-Man series took a different look than it’s other previous spider friends during its time. Only lasting twenty-six episodes, Spider-Man gave viewers a chance to really see him in action. The show consisted of a lot of web-slinging, crime fighting, and being a comical, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. There was never a back story or “origin” episodes, creators trusted viewers to already know who Peter Parker was and how he became Spider-Man. There a reason why “with great power must always come great responsibility” is a famous quote, everyone knows it even if they aren’t Spidey fans. This series took a step up from it’s older brother the Spider-Man 1967 TV series. However, it does stay lower on our list due to it’s older feel and overall, separation of a unique Spider-Man series.

Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends (1981-1983)

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends or better known as the spotlight stealer for its fraternal twin Spider-Man 1981. By having three different Marvel superheroes team up in an animated series did draw viewer’s eyes to the television screen. Spidey was joined by Firestar and Iceman who are known in the comics to be X-Men. However, the show was originally supposed to have the Human Torch instead of Firestar, but in order to appeal to the female fan, they added in Firestar. This allowed for female viewers to relate to the character. Now, if only there can be an understanding today with female superhero toys. This was the first Marvel television series that featured multiple heroes allowing them to touch on the shared Marvel Universe. Creators not only had three main superheroes but they also guest starred other major hero’s like, Iron Man, Captain America, and other X-Men. With its success with the storyline and its character development, the show is still dated causing the show to be lower in our list.

Ultimate Spider-Man (2012-2017)

The most recent Spider-Man TV series can be looked at as a reboot or an upgraded clone of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Ultimate Spider-Man gives viewers a look into the Ultimate Universe, MCU, and the regular Marvel Universe. This show brings Spider-Man to high school while focusing on his development as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. The show touches on a lot that most Spider-Man series couldn’t do, like enter into three Marvel Universes and successfully perform the humor that Peter Parker produces in the comics. But, one of the biggest successes and humorous parts of the show can be known as the Saved by The Bell, Zack Morris’s timeouts. Peter has moments of breaking the fourth wall which does help for backstory. Unfortunately, even with it’s success in some of it’s fields, the show wasn’t as strong or cohesive as it’s other Spider-Man clones.

Spider-Man Animated Series (2003)

Spider-Man Animated Series is probably the most adult TV series to ever be produced. MTV was the home for this series allowing for adult Spider-Man content to be created. The show takes up right after the 2002 Spider-Man film with Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and Harry Osborn attending Empire State University. The show takes a look more at Peter Parker’s lifestyle rather than the focus on Spidey. Viewers loved the take on Peter battling the identity of a superhero while also being stuck in a love triangle. It put Peter in a real-world aspect rather than just superhero. This helped viewers relate to Peter as a college student rather than the impossible bitten by a radioactive spider. The only flaw that took over the show and caused the show to end after 1 season was its lack of animation. The animation looked more like a CG animated game style. Almost like the Ultimate Spiderman video game. Besides the lack of creative animation, the show did end on a cliffhanger, but most Spidey fans were familiar to that since it was the third show to end that way.

Spider-Man (1994-1998)

Known as the classic Spider-Man television series and one to be the first to introduce the “Spider-verse.” The show had a parallel storyline of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. The stayed to its routes of “with great power must always come great responsibility,” and that’s what Peter/Spider-Man did in Spider-Man. With many guest stars from the Avengers and X-Men to villains like Venom and Doc, Oct. Peter had to focus on keeping the ones close to him safe, specifically Aunt May and Mary Jane. The jokes and humorous Spidey monologues were classic and entertaining but what viewers didn’t like were how dragged out the monologues were at the beginning of each episode. For those who read the comics, you know that Spidey likes to talk to himself, a lot. But, with a five to ten-minute monologue talking about Peter and Spidey’s problems of life and villain’s can be tedious and cause people to change the channel. Now, even with that issue, the ratings didn’t change, viewers loved this take on Spider-Man having an equal life of the hero and ordinary human. But, due to some behind the scenes conflicts the show ended after five seasons.

The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008-2009)

Hands down the best Spider-Man animated series that ever hit our television screens. The Spectacular Spider-Man separates Peter Parker from Spider-Man. Even being the same person, Peter in his everyday high school life is the shy nerd of the school. But, once the mask is put on he is the quirky crime-fighting hero we have all come to love. From the voices of Josh Keaton who played Peter Parker to the animation that allows to show Spidey action scenes better than any other series out there, no Spider-Man show can touch this one. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after sixty-five episodes duo to the Spider-Man TV rights being taken by Disney which later created Ultimate Spider-Man. Fans, today, still mention this show because of it’s success, we have no doubt that this show would have lasted another few years with its epic fan base and creative storyline if Sony decided to tell off Disney. But, then again we wouldn’t have Spider-Man Homecoming to make us forget about Sony’s 5 failed Spider-Man movies.

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