Sunday, May 3, 2015

Television – Daredevil

We nerds have been waiting impatiently for the new Netflix Marvel shows—thirteen episodes each of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire and Iron Fist to binge on. The first of these series, Daredevil, premiered on April 10. Due to being out of town, it took me a few days to get though all thirteen episodes. Some thoughts:  

The Good: 
- The show is played straight, but has a sense of humor. The dark, dark themes are filled in by some appropriate humor that springs from the characters, not campy jokes or out of place one-liners. 

- The cast. Charlie Cox is wonderful as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, he springs right out of the comic book. Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page is not only one of the world’s sexiest actresses, but also gives an outstanding performance. The most welcome surprise is Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson. I thought they might use Foggy as comedy relief only (dances with lampshade on head, “Look at me, everybody! I have a lampshade on my head! I’m a law school graduate who never grew up! Wheeeee!”). They didn’t go that direction. Foggy was a nuanced character with a great sense of humor and keen sense of morality. And of course Vincent D'Onofrio tore up the screen as Wilson Fisk (playing villain the Kingpin, although never called that in the show). Great writing and performing. 

- The tone. Daredevil balanced perfectly between a superhero, crime and action show, while still being its own thing and something we’ve never seen before. Well done. 

The So-So: 
- The plotting. Not much really happened regarding the main plot in thirteen episodes. I realize they had a lot to do; introduce everyone, establish characters, make the world safe for an actual costume, etc. But I’d like to see a few more cameos from the Marvel Universe and a few more badass minions for Daredevil to fight. There were a few and they were extremely well done. But I’d like to see the show grow in personalities and characters, both hero and villain—they have 50 years of comics history from which to cherry pick ideas. 

Rex Smith as Daredevil
- The costume. I liked, but didn’t love the final costume. Cox’s first black costume (reminisicent of Rex Smith’s Daredevil costume in the 1989 TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk) was used way too long. Nothing about it said “Daredevil.” When the more traditional costume was unveiled, I’d say they got it about 80% right.
All-red Daredevil from the comics
First of all, Daredevil’s costume in the comics, and the Ben Affleck movie, was 100% red. Why is the TV costume red and black? The black isn’t necessary and goes back to the fact that all live action designers dress heroes in black ninja crap. They’re so afraid of color and sticking to the source material! The black parts aren’t necessary, there is nothing wrong with adhering to the comics here.
TV Daredevil's "beak"
Also, they gave the cowl a beak. I really hate that. Batman does have a kind of beak, where the cowl sticks out to cover his nose. Daredevil doesn’t, and his mask/cowl looks much better in the comics, or his first movie. I hope this changes, as to me it makes the entire costume look weird. Not bad though, we’re getting there! 

A possible "no-beak" cowl look

The Bad: Nothing really bad about the show, just a few minor nitpicks. 
- Episode pacing. Between episodes five and seven or eight, some of the episodes seem to drag a bit in the middle. Are the writers just getting the pacing down? Would it be better to have ten episodes instead of thirteen? 

- Sound effects. During fights, when characters strike each other, it sounds like plastic fists dropping on bags of sand. Refer to the Indiana Jones movies for some striking fist-to-jaw noises. Make it sound like someone is throwing/taking a punch! I look forward to the second season (already renewed) to straighten out most of these nitpicks. 

Overall, an extremely enjoyable experience. I loved having one of my favorite comics characters being brought to the screen with so much care and professionalism. 

Rating: **** out of 5 stars


  1. You must really like this thing if you're going all the way down to the slap sound effects to find a bad thing. And, yes, a self-admitted nitpick. No judgement here. I even applaud them for an Opening sequence that is slow, methodical and sets the perfect tone for the show. I miss the Opening sequences that say, "Get ready for this type of show. Dark, Funny, Adventure. Whatever.)

    Suggest Agent Carter for another Marvel-run on a great character. Now why can't the House of Ideas get some of these folks to take a look under the hood at Agents of Shield?

  2. Oh, I do love me some Agent Carter. No company is perfect; I'd actually start to wonder if Marvel had done a deal with Mephisto if everything of theirs was this good. That sort of explains Agents of SHIELD. Have you watched Daredevil yet, Steve? Obviously well worth your while. And yup, I only have nitpicks. A great show.

    1. Watched the first two episodes and then got taken away by other things. Have to say - that show made me want a Netflix subscription. Which is what it was supposed to do. Make Mine Netflix.

    2. You have much fun--and Deborah Ann Woll--to look forward to!