A little over 20 years ago, our galaxy got a lot bigger at the movies, with the Men In Black series making its debut in theaters on July 2, 1997. The franchise helped secure Will Smith's position as a blockbuster movie star, made David Schwimmer think twice before turning down feature film work, and started a series where humor was only matched by its deep thoughts on the universe. While there are only three films, and a short lived cartoon series in the canon based on the cult comic book series that ran at various times in the 1990s, there are still some interesting ways to experience the stories of Agents J and K.
And that leads us to our Newbie Guide to the Men In Black series, which is your one stop shop for all the knowledge you could need when it comes to enjoying all the franchise has to offer. We'll begin with a rundown of all of the properties in the series, as well as a quick synopsis of what each piece is about. Then, once we've run through the series' content, we'll lay out a couple of different suggestions on how to watch the series, depending on how you want to experience the story of the Men In Black franchise.
Be warned, there are some spoilers past this page, as we'll be going into details about why these different viewing runs are unique, and what sort of experience you should expect. Time to suit into the last suit you'll ever wear, as we're about to deputize you dear readers as honorary agents in the employ of the Men In Black.
Men In Black (1997)
Officer James Edwards is about to have a really interesting day. After an encounter with a perp not of this world, he's about to be drafted into a shadowy government organization and become one of the Men In Black. What's more, his initiation couldn't have happened at a worse time, as a rogue alien has crash landed on Earth, in search of a secret that could wipe the entire planet off the map.
Men In Black: The Series (1997 - 2001)
After the events of Men In Black, an alternate timeline sees agents J, K, and L going back to work protecting the Earth against the worst scum of the universe. Various baddies come and go, in this episodic cartoon series.
Men In Black II (2002)
Five years after Men In Black and the retirement of Agent K, Agent J is thrust into another conflict that could make or break the Earth. This time, evil arrives in the form of Serleena, a shapeshifter after a powerful artifact left on our planet as part of a protection pact between the MIB and an alien dignitary. As it turns out, there's only one play that Agent J has when it comes to even standing the slightest chance of saving the day: he has to bring Agent K out of retirement.
Men In Black III (2012)
An alien prisoner, Boris The Animal, escapes from maximum security on the Moon and is hell bent on rewriting history to allow Earth's conquest. As Agent J is the only person to be unaffected by a shift in the space-time continuum, he has to go back to 1969 to right the wrongs of history. And, he's going to have a little help on his side... a younger, brasher Agent K.
The history of the Men In Black now lies before you, and there are many paths you can take to experience it. Let's start with the most obvious route to take, the one that hits all the stops along the way.