Marvel Studios and Netflix took everyone by surprise when the two companies joined forces in the production of the new series Daredevil. The marvel series, produced by Drew Goddard, who also directed Cabin in the Woods, created the show specifically for Netflix. According to the executive producer Steven S. DeKnight, working on a project that was not being made for the film studios or television gave them an extensive creative license, and it allowed them to push the boundaries of the Marvel universal. Although many of the reviews and viewer comments regarding the new Daredevil series seemed promising, there were just as many displeased viewers left baffled, not because the show failed to entertain, but because of Netflix’s fail to make the show accessible to the visually impaired.
Daredevil casted British actor Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, an uncompromising attorney who lost his sight in an accident at a very young age, but walked away with senses that could only be described as superhuman. With these heightened senses, Cox’s character is able to see the world on a completely different level than those who can literally see the world, having all five senses intact. This enables him to enter the seedy underbelly of Hell’s Kitchen to fight against the ruthless criminals that lurk within the shadows of the city.
When Daredevil made its debut on April 10, the viewers took to social media to voice their bewilderment and anger towards Netflix’s total disregard for the visually impaired by not providing access to audio description. Audio descriptions are audio tracks in which there is a narrator describing all visual actions aligned with the accompanied audio actions. This type of aid is a well-known way for making visual media easily accessible for those who have a visual impairment. No one seemed to understand how Netflix could have a show in which blindness plays such a key role, but failed to take in to account the blind individuals who also would be tuning in for the premiere. Considering Daredevil is based on a visually impaired superhuman vigilante, viewers were quite peeved with Netflix regarding the oversight.
Marvel has always had the ability to attract audiences from all walks of life, no matter the age, race, or background. The movies and television series that are attached to the Marvel name have had great success by implementing relatable elements into their projects, offering a good deal of entertainment value to just about anyone watching. With the new series, audiences everywhere expected nothing less than the best from Marvel, but Netflix’s inability to provide any audio descriptions left viewers quite dissatisfied, saying that the irony of it all was not lost on them.
After a few days of Daredevil criticism and negative comments shared among baffled and upset viewers within the world of social media, Netflix wasted no time correcting their major fail. Yesterday, Tracy Wright, Netflix’s Director of Content, made an announcement stating audio description was currently made available to all viewers and could be found from the language options menu in the settings. She also made it a point to let the public know that Netflix is making a strong commitment to provide all levels of accessibility to aid in impairments that restrict viewers from fully enjoying their shows.
By Kameron Hadley