5. “Legends of Tomorrow” (The CW)

4. “The Gifted” (Fox)

3. “iZombie” (The CW)

2. “The Punisher” (Netflix)

1. “Legion” (FX)

The second season saw the team fighting a Legion of Doom made up of major Arrowverse foes in an intricate race to reassemble an omni-powerful MacGuffin in the tradition of the finest G.I. Joe arcs. It was awesome and dangerous and personal, and all of reality was at stake.

It would have been tough top. Unlike so many genre shows to cling to Buffy's Big Bad Theory like it is a buoy in open water, season 3 succeeds by lightening up and exploring the fun of time travel. The plot shifts to fixing time aberrations with threats that may or may not tie into something bigger. Sure, Mallus—whoever he is—is out there and Damien and Nora Darhk are working for him, but the episodes are really about playing with 80s nostalgia or working with Vikings or meeting P. T. Barnum.

Standing out among a talented cast, Wentworth Miller's various takes Captain Cold cannot be undersold. Miller has played three different versions of the character, including the current unabashedly heroic Leo Snart, in his past half-dozen appearances. It is a testament to his skill as a performer, and with indications that he is leaving the Arrowverse soon, it is something to be celebrated and enjoyed before he is gone.

How far would you go to protect yourself or the ones you love? It is the central crux of the show, which the show respects by not giving easy answers. There is not much black or white here. John Proudstar seems to be our hero, the one the X-Men trusted to carry the mission when they couldn't, for reasons that have yet to be revealed. On the other end is the Josef Mengele-esque Dr. Roderick Campbell, who is eager to experiment on and harness the powers of mutants, and ready to kill any who do not serve his needs. The other characters each fall at different points in-between.

Too many shows try to play to shades of gray by having heroic characters merely make dumb decisions to facilitate drama. Here, the characters are defined and through each person's approach, whether unifying for a greater cause or fracturing in the face of complicated decisions, the drama naturally unfolds. Through both mutant and human players, the show explores the marginalization central to the X-Men mythos in a responsible, reflective manner. Differing attitudes and opinions both subtle and bold, divide and define the cast as the series unfolds, giving viewers food for thought to go along with all the mutant powers and prison breaks and solidly-choreographed action sequences.

With the core cast now all aware of zombies' existence and Liv's status, the show was free to expand its scope, bringing in zombie corporation Fillmore Graves, zombie truthers and a mayoral election with an undead candidate. The plots are bigger; more subplots are juggled along with the murder-of-the-week mysteries, keeping the show from resting on retreaded plots. Each season shifts the story to explore a different status quo and external matters in a way that too few programs ever chance.

The series remains a showcase for Rose McIver's remarkable range, as she melds eclectic murder victims into her performances each episode, bouncing between subtle influences and full parodies. With the entire team keeping a lot fewer secrets from each other, trust replaces suspicion, and as the characters' stories branch out within or outside of the zombie community, the actors are allowed to grow with their characters and keep the show fresh.

This show is better than most runs on the comic. Anybody who saw the second season of  “Daredevil” had no doubt that Jon Bernthal was the right man for the role, but it remained to be seen if the writers could assemble a compelling 13-episode arc for a notoriously challenging character.

Frank Castle is compelling, nuanced and broken. He completes his primary mission of killing the men connected with his family's deaths in the opening montage. What unfolds is a man seeking to find his place, robbed of all planning and direction.

The supporting cast meet Bernthal at his level and each ably carried their weight, pushing the narrative ever forward, and all involved in front of or behind the camera should be commended for what they accomplished. The series transcends the graphic violence and dug deep into uncomfortable matters such as the treatment of veterans by both the US government and the public, government corruption, PTSD, terrorism and differing views of justice, giving layers of depth to the lead character, and enriching the story and creating probably the most thought-provoking Marvel Netflix series to date.

Fox shattered the mold for superhero television, and that is exactly what this show needed to succeed. Hewing closer to “Twin Peaks” than any comic, Noah Hawley presents a twisting, surreal search for identity and one's place in the world that stands apart from worn tropes. Much of the time, viewers aren't sure what they are watching because David Haller (Dan Stevens) is not confident in what he is seeing either. Character and atmosphere take center stage as viewers work to unravel the narrative, uncertain if the events witnessed are real, if the characters are real, or what they may be hiding.

Dramatic swerves are plentiful, and episodes require multiple viewings because just as you think you have a handle on how things are unfolding, the whole story flips. Stunning visuals, intelligent writing that challenges the audience and highly-skilled cast led by Dan Stevens make for a boundary-pushing series.

Translating the most esoteric X-Man to screen so expertly is commendable in its own right, and raises the standards of any studio seeking to present a warmed-over translation of more accessible characters.