Daredevil and the Marvel Universe 

Daredevil on Netflix might be the best Marvel television show[1] (of the three that have currently aired—Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, and Daredevil). It’s a darker, grittier, more violent, more realistic Marvel universe, but very much a part of the ongoing universe.

What it brings to light is something quite obvious, but that had never occurred to me before: Marvel can pretty much fill the airwaves (and movie theaters and internet) with different genre shows and appeal to as broad an audience as possible.

Iron Man (and IM 2 and 3) are sort of your typical anti-hero, Indiana Jones movies. Thor is your British, Shakespearean tale crossed with your fish out of water. The Captain Americas have been a war movie and a political thriller. Avengers (and Age of Ultron) are big action movies. Ant-Man looks to be a heist movie.

On TV, Agents of SHIELD is sort of a mish-mash (which is why I think it’s been hit or miss). It doesn’t have a standout genre. Agent Carter was noir. Daredevil is your modern day, gritty crime drama.

The upcoming shows on Netflix (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones) can spawn across genres. Jessica Jones could be another female-lead show (like Agent Carter), maybe Marvel’s Law & Order (or Scandal). Luke Cage and Iron Fist could cross many genres,

It’s a brilliant strategy by Marvel. They can attempt to bring in almost every demographic, every type of fandom. They can continually broaden the appeal of their characters, getting new types of fans engaged and bought into the Marvel storylines.

Meanwhile, the rest of us, who would watch pretty much anything with the Marvel logo on it (well …. within reason) get to live in a world where there’s pretty much a never ending series of reasonably well put together Marvel TV and movies.

(And, every year, one of those movies comes out right around my birthday … )

  1. Daredevil is really good. It’s not good “for a comic book show”, but really good. It’s written by people who’ve worked on good, pulpy TV shows in the past (Buffy, Angel, Alias, Lost), and they understand how to put together serialized TV. It’s well written, well acted, doesn’t require any knowledge of Daredevil to understand the plot. If it were called “Blind Fighting Guy”, it’d still be a good show.  ↩