Daredevil, a new series created through a partnership between Netflix and comic book giant Marvel, is offering superhero fans a unique adventure with a fallible hero in New York City. It is also an unusual business move, because it creates a niche market using only live streaming for audiences to view the show.
The show premiered April 10 on Netflix, only through live streaming. There are 13 episodes in the series, which utilize producer Steven DeKnight, known for television series Smallville and Angel. The venture between Netflix and Marvel, a company now owned by Disney, sets course into darker comic book settings. Daredevil is set in Hell’s Kitchen of New York, and production crews are actually filming scenes in the Big Apple to make the series more realistic.
The show Daredevil is based on a lesser-known superhero developed in the 1960s. The main character of Matt Murdock, played by actor Charlie Cox, is blinded by a substance in a Hell’s Kitchen incident. Even though he is a blind attorney, Murdock has other extraordinary abilities that help him put the bad guys away and protect his home. Although he can fight and win, Murdock can be injured, and often is left with scars. A 2003 movie with Ben Affleck also revisited the character, and did horribly at the box office. This is the first time a television series has been based on the storyline.
DeKnight said he was especially excited to be offered a job in this series. He and Drew Goddard, who was heading up the Daredevil project, are good friends, and DeKnight felt the series based on the unique adventures of such a fallible superhero would be well orchestrated. He also said he loved the first two scripts and wanted to be a part of it. Another key factor in his decision, was the agreement reached between those spearheading the show and the city of New York. DeKnight said the gritty look of the series needed to be slated with the New York backdrop, in order to guarantee the show’s success.
The series marks a first for the partnership with more similar shows in the works. The four shows being coordinated include the characters of Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and another miniseries project where the three join forces. The shows that utilize lesser known comic characters carries some risk in such a niche market, DeKnight admits, but is something that technology has made possible when traditional television show distribution was not an option. DeKnight said it would have been unfathomable to expect a premium cable channel to commit to several hours of similar programming with such a high risk.
The shows are not typical family-friendly fare because of the edgy context and urban setting. Producers of Daredevil said the feeling of the show is based on movies from the 1970s, like Taxi Driver, that showed the seediness of New York’s underbelly with evil predators at every corner. These shows are meant for adults to enjoy, and are intended to diversify Marvel’s audience, according to those involved in the project. Those who follow Marvel’s characters began talking up the Daredevil series long before it aired, providing support for the New York City native, and blind fallible superhero through his adventures. The audience is noticing references in the new show to Marvel’s other projects, such as The Avengers movie that came out in 2012, making it a fun romp for those in love with comic book heroes.
By Melody Dareing
Photo by Andreas Metz – Flickr license