Disney+ just added an obscure animated series to its catalog that will please fans of MTV, superheroes and cartoons. The streamer now hosts Spider-Man: The New Animated Series – often referred to as fans as "MTV Spider-Man" or "Spider-Man 2003." This short-lived series was beloved by fans, and now it is available in its entirety on the same streaming service that hosts much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series premiered in 2003 on MTV, and was meant to take place in the same continuity as the 2022 live-action Spider-Man film directed by Sam Raimi. The series was a loose adaptation of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book storyline by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley. The show used a unique CGI art style that received mixed reviews, but fans who did enjoy it quickly became a cult following. The show ran for just one season with 13 episodes in total, so it makes for a quick binge-watch in the streaming age.
While it was originally meant to be a sequel to the 2002 movie, Spider-Man: The New Animated Series has a unique cast all of its own. It starred Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Lisa Loeb as Mary Jane Watson and Ian Ziering as Harry Osborn. J. Jonah Jameson was considered a recurring character, played by Keith Carradine, and other than that every other character was considered a "guest role." That allowed the show to shell out for some remarkable voices, including Rob Zombie, Kathy Griffin, Jeremy Piven, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David, Clancy Brown, Ed Asner, Tara Strong and many others. Stan Lee himself provided a voice for the penultimate episode but had no true spoken lines – only grunts.
Sadly, this show was lost in the shadow of the growing love for superhero content. When Sony greenlit a sequel to Raimi's Spider-Man, screenwriter Alvin Sargent disregarded The New Animated Series. Since the show had already been canceled by then, most fans online seemed to agree that it should not be considered canon in that continuity anymore. It now exists on its own, occupying an increasingly unique space as Marvel Studios tries to tie all of its adaptations together with multiverse storylines.
The story itself was an interesting one. It starts with Peter, Mary Jane and Harry all attending "Empire State University" together, and it balances their struggling social lives with the misadventures of Spider-Man at the same time. It brings in some fan-favorite villains and ancillary characters, notably casting Duncan as the voice of Kingpin after he played the character in the 2003 live-action Daredevil film.
Fans can check out Spider-Man: The New Animated Series for themselves now on Disney+, along with most other Marvel content. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy is streaming now on Starz.