Hate Superheroes? Maybe You Just Haven’t Met the Right One

‘Iron Fist’

The ’70s martial arts series “Kung Fu,” starring David Carradine, crossed martial-arts movie action with the themes and tone of a superhero show. The CW’s “Kung Fu” reboot isn’t set to premiere until early April, and the M.C.U.’s first kung fu film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” doesn’t arrive until September. Until then, you can satisfy your appetite for flips and sidekicks with the Netflix Marvel series “Iron Fist.” Fair warning: Finn Jones’s Danny Rand, a white rich kid from Manhattan who became the chosen one to bear the mighty iron fist, is the least likable of the Defenders — the casting of him instead of an Asian actor inspired plenty of controversy — and the series doesn’t have the same finesse as other Netflix Marvel shows. Still, Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing and the machinations of the evil ninja mafia, the Hand, should be enough to sate a martial arts lover until “Shang-Chi” and “Kung Fu” come along. Streaming on Netflix.

Already seen it? Check out the beloved animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (Netflix, Amazon).

‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

Let’s say you’re more interested in the new James Bond movie than whatever Marvel or DC are putting out. That’s fair: There’s nothing wrong with preferring pizazz over powers, and one thing missing from most superhero movies is good ol’ human ingenuity. The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is in the background of every M.C.U. film. But here, the group, fronted by Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), gets to be in the spotlight while the narrative becomes explicitly interwoven with the developments of the M.C.U. films.

Already seen it? “Black Widow” will be the next big superhero-spy genre crossover when it comes out. Until then, you can watch “Marvel’s Agent Carter” (Disney+) and the “Kingsman” films. (Rent them on YouTube and Amazon.)

‘Luke Cage’

The original Luke Cage, who appeared in comics in the 1970s, wore a short fro, a chain belt and a shirt with large lapels and a plunging neckline. He was a hero straight out of a blaxploitation movie. The Netflix take on the character, played by Mike Colter, updated him into someone less “right on, funkadelic” but maintained his tether to Black culture, Black history and Black life in Harlem. Streaming on Netflix.


Satan doesn’t always hang out in hell, contrary to popular belief. Sometimes he shows up in comics, as in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, where this suave interpretation of the fallen angel first appeared. Lucifer got his own spinoff comic and popped up in other corners of the comic book world before landing his own TV series. Tom Ellis is devilish charm incarnate as the protagonist in “Lucifer,” who gets bored with all the fire and brimstone, as one does, and moves to Los Angeles, where he opens a swanky club. In typical buddy-cop-TV fashion, he tags along with Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), who is both the straight (wo)man and love interest to the irresistible fiend. Streaming on Netflix.

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