Welcome to a new column called Channel Surfing, in which I sporadically look at current TV shows and talk about them. These are not ones that I care to write weekly recaps for and are instead reflections either on the episode, the series, or particular moments. This will hopefully help to share personal opinions as well as discover entertainment on the outer pantheon that I feel is well worth checking out, or in some cases, shows that are weird enough to talk about, but should never be seen.
It is hard for anything with the name Marvel nowadays to feel fresh. In a realm where there's countless sequels and crossovers happening in the cinematic universe, it feels like their worlds are already formed. Even when they try to develop new properties, like Guardians of the Galaxy, there's too much of a nod that comes to everything beforehand that draws away from making a wholly compelling experience. How can a film be fun if there's a lot of subtext that needs to be understood? yes, the characters are new, but as evident by a MacGuffin moment and an aerial battle, they have one trick that they keep playing over and over. Even their TV series, notably Agent Carter has a resonating sense of existing solely to please those who claim that they are not sexually diverse.
Which makes the recent deal with Netflix particularly interesting. It escapes the confines of family friendly ratings and enters a world where binge watching is the norm and it can get away with a lot of darker themes. Daredevil is the first one lined up. To summarize, it is a series that follows a blind lawyer who is a superhero by night. It is silly for sure. However, what gives the show an edge is the fact that despite being authentically a Marvel property, it is doing something new. It is a procedural that wraps around blood and solid choreography that unveils something mystical about the characters. The first episode isn't particularly new for those that have the vaguest idea of who Daredevil is as based on comics or the highly maligned Ben Affleck film.
In a sense, it also feels like another recent lawyer show spun-off from a popular franchise. Much like Better Call Saul, the protagonist gets by on his wit and ability to talk his way out of situations. There's few comedic moments, but you watch mostly for the chemistry and trust that something will pay off sooner than later. For the most part, the premiere is reliant on expository and doesn't get to the interesting stuff right away. This is both a pro and a con, as it allows for the series to evolve at its own pace. However, it also feels like superhero culture has become too rooted in a seriousness that takes away the fun. I am unsure if this will be the case, as it reflects both the highs and lows of what I would be willing to put up with.
However, what I admire most about the show as of now is that it feels true. It doesn't rely on the limitations of tying into other films or having the same bland cinematography. Even the score has a little bit of a personality to it. We barely see the actions of Daredevil on screen, but there's a sense of threat that runs through the entire episode. It establishes a lot of characters and gets us quickly associated with the character without bogging down with origin story. If nothing else, I hope that Daredevil will only get more confident in time and unveil itself to have as much action as it does plot.
In the grand scheme of things, I admire Marvel for attempting to expand the universe to be all encapsulating. However, it is too much of a chore and distracts from some properties the further into its own mythology things get. So far, Daredevil doesn't feel like a bunch of violent winks at the audience. Instead, it is a thought out story featuring some of the finer minds behind comic book adaptations nowadays. Based on the first episode, I like what I see and I hope that this isn't just a con like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to get us to love tertiary characters that don't actually matter. Daredevil seems much cooler than that.