The Spectacular Spider-Man (AKA The Best Spidey Show) Is Finally Free To Stream In Australia

In 2008, the world was in an uncertain place. Then, the masterpiece that is The Spectacular Spider-Man: Animated Series debuted and it forever improved. 

The character of Spider-Man has had many, many, many, MANY, different depictions over his 62 years of web-slinging (and most of those in the past decade) —  but of all of them, The Spectacular Spider-Man has reigned supreme as the fan-favourite interpretation.

Return of the king. Image: Pedestrian Television.

The animated series ran for just two seasons (in 2008 and 2009), but has achieved that all-too-rare thing: bonafide cult status. I count myself among those fans*. And to celebrate it coming to PEDESTRIAN TELEVISION, I’m going to tell you why it needs to be on your must watch list.

*(Seriously — the noise I made in the office when I learned The Spectacular Spider-Man was going to be available to stream in Australia again, and for free, was not human.)

1. It’s the most faithful Spider-Man interpretation EVER

“Who is the best Spider-Man?” It’s the age-old question.

Whether you’re a fan of Tom Holland‘s recent Spider-Man trilogy, a die-hard for the classic films starring Tobey Maguire, or you’re hopelessly in love with Andrew Garfield (mood), it’s almost impossible to say who did it best.

Even these Spider-kings bow to someone. Image: Pedestrian.TV.

But when it comes to high quality storytelling and acting, AND faithful interpretations of the beloved character, Spectacular Spider-Man is undeniably the GOAT.

Throughout its phenomenal two seasons, Josh Keaton delivers a killer performance as both Peter and Spider-Man, giving nuance to the difficulties in balancing being both a superhero and a teenager in high school.

Somehow, it manages to be relatable when telling stories of teenage-hood, whilst also capturing the epic scale of action and suspense you’d expect from good superhero media. Like Spider-Man, it’s firmly grounded while also being 100 storeys high.

Keaton’s Peter Parker is plagued by issues caused by his dual-identities, and has various points where he considers giving up crime-fighting entirely. But he continues, because of that famous adage: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Image: Pedestrian Television.

Spectacular Spider-Man delivers iconic Spidey storylines you’ve seen in the comics and movies, and somehow does them better than the million dollar budget versions.

Simply put: it’s a short animated series that delivers an emotionally engaging experience of what it is like to be Spider-Man, but also be Peter Parker.

2. It’s great for new fans, and old ones too!

If you don’t know anything about Spider-Man, this show is where to start.

For the complete newbies, Spectacular Spider-Man has everything you need to get entirely on the bandwagon of Spider-Man, starting with teaching you about the backstory of the character, until you graduate to the stage of knowing the names of all the niche Spidey villains.

From its first episode, audiences are introduced to everything you need to know about all the different worlds Spider-Man inhabits: Peter’s personal relationships in high school, his friends and bullies, teachers, and his job, but also the different worlds of crime faced by Spider-Man, from small-time villains, to his many arch-nemesis.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy (RIP), and Harry Osbourne/Green Goblin. Image: Pedestrian Television.

In episodes that are only 22 minutes long, Spectacular Spider-Man manages to do what Sony’s extended film universes could never do, and introduce you to a plethora of villains in a way that feels natural enough that Spidey can fight multiple-villains in a single episode without it feeling like it jumped the shark. Looking at you The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

No villain is just bad, no love interest is just pretty, and no web is left unconnected. Some plot lines are foreshadowed entire seasons before they are executed, and no detail is left in just for the sake of it. Honestly, Spectacular Spider-Man walked so that Game Of Thrones could collapse in a heap on its last seasons.

Just don’t mention the fact it ends on a massive cliffhanger and was never renewed… It’s been 15 years and I’m still holding out for another season. (Please sign the, cheers.)

3. It’s timeless (unlike other Spideys)

For something that aired in 2008 and 2009, this show has aged like fine wine. Scratch that: it’s aged like Andrew Garfield (even better).

I love all Spider-Men equally, but it’s pretty evident they’re all a product of their time.

Garfield’s two movies are so clearly a mess of corporate execs trying to manufacture success, combined with the “gritty realistic superhero” trend from the early 2010s. And Holland’s films undoubtedly suffer from the Marvel-ification of superhero films we find ourselves in now.

Also, need I remind you that the 2002 Spider-Man included weird homophobic jokes played for laughs?

If you’re nostalgic for a simpler time in superhero/Spider-Man content where nothing needed to be connected to a “multi-verse”, then I promise you this will satisfy your craving for something drawn back.

No needless cameos or fanfare, this show aims to do one thing: tell grounded Spider-Man stories. Good writing will always age well, and Spectacular Spider-Man is proof of that.

4. It’s a cult classic, and not in a ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ way

Sometimes the term “cult-classic” gets used to describe pieces of media that aren’t good, but have a huge following behind them because of meme culture or otherwise huge cultural relevance.

Movies like The Room by Tommy Wiseau or Sony’s Morbius are renowned for the moments they created in pop-culture, where fans ironically rallied to support objectively bad films. This die-hard support earns them the “cult-classic” accolade.

Alternatively, Spectacular Spider-Man is not a cult-classic due to poor quality. It earns its status as an iconic series due to being top-tier content that was taken from fans too soon, and never given the ending it truly deserves.

With its unique style of animation that makes it instantly recognisable, and a catchy theme song that will get stuck in your head for weeks, there’s so much about this show that just makes it just so good that you too will be fuming over the fact it was cancelled in its prime.

As opposed to Sony’s most recent addition to the Spider-verse, Madame Web, which should have been cancelled before it was conceived.

Where can I watch Spectacular Spider-Man in Australia?

The Spectacular Spider-Man: Animated Series is available on PEDESTRIAN TELEVISION to stream from February 25, on 9NOW.

All you have to do to watch the show is have a 9NOW login, which you can sign up to for free in minutes, and then you’ll be able to binge this absolute masterpiece to your heart’s content.

I’ve already called in sick just so I can watch it fourteen times over. This is a spiritual moment for me. Let me have this.