If you are a fan of a certain strain of popular entertainment, the big news this week is the launch of Daredevil (or, as it’s been branded across the web, Marvel’s Daredevil), the first of five announced Netflix original shows based on Marvel Comics titles. Daredevil is the costumed alter ego of Matt Murdoch, a blind lawyer from the slums of Hell’s Kitchen with Batman skills and elevated senses, and the show is closer to the urban grittiness of the Dark Knight movies than the splashy Marvel movies. The relatively unknown Charlie Cox (he starred in the 2007 fantasy Stardust and played Irish mobster Owen Slater in two seasons of Boardwalk Empire) stars as Matt Murdoch and Vincent D’Onofrio is the Kingpin, the ruthless mob boss and series nemesis.
Netflix is taking a novel approach to its Marvel slate. Daredevil will run a single season, followed by A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, each a single season, with the fifth series The Defenders bringing them together as a team. Netflix hasn’t officially committed to a second season of any of the shows but if Daredevil is a hit, you can expect to see him swinging through the mean streets of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen again.
This isn’t the first time the character has been adapted to the screen—Rex Smith played him in the 1989 TV movie “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” (it’s on Hulu) and Ben Affleck wasn’t bad in the otherwise misjudged 2003 film (VOD from iTunes, Amazon, and others)—but this incarnation seems to draw its sensibility from Frank Miller’s dark interpretation and the Brian Michael Bendis run of stories of the past decade, all set in a world of urban street crime and non-super-powered criminals. Fans take note that comic book fan Rosario Dawson plays Night Nurse.
Netflix is working to be the streaming service for superhero shows. It currently has the first two seasons of the CW series Arrow and locked down the streaming rights to the pre-Batman Gotham before the first episode even premiered (expect it to appear before the second season debuts in the fall), plus a number of animated shows featuring both Marvel and DC characters. Daredevil is the next step in their domination.
All 13 episodes are let loose at once so expect plenty of binge-watching in the Netflix quadrant of the Marvel Comics Universe this weekend. Cue it up at Netflix here.