A Bit Late to the Party: Daredevil

dare1I’ve just started watching the Netflix series Daredevil, thanks to having received the season one Blu-ray set for Christmas. So yes, I’m rather late to the party with this one, as the show was particularly well-praised and a second season has already aired. I can imagine most people reading this thinking I’ve just come out from under a rock or something. Its a symptom of the bewildering fragmentation of the television industry these days-unless you are willing to pay for everything (Sky Atlantic, Netflix, Amazon, etc) you simply aren’t going to be able to access everything , not legitimately anyway. Years ago most of the best American shows aired on terrestrial channels, then eventually they started to migrate over to satellite subscription channels,  and now there’s the internet services (and even cable provider Virgin Media) competing with unique content.

Its rather unfortunate, as we are living in something of a Golden Age for quality television, that due to this fragmentation of the market, viewing figures are going down, not up.The subscription method largely offsets those diminished ratings, but it does have some effect on, well, the cultural impact of the shows themselves. How many people have seen The Man In The High Castle, or Outlander? What were the viewing figures for Daredevil? Sky TV seems happy for shows like Arrow to number viewing figures in hundreds of thousands, whereas such a show back in the late-70s/early-80s on terrestrial tv would have audiences in the millions.

So anyway, I’ve seen just the first two episodes of Daredevil, but already I can see why there was so much praise and fuss over the show. Its great. The cast are impressive with some great chemistry already, and the take on the character (going for a slow-burn introduction to the character and his origin/world) cleverly profits from the season-long arc and having plenty of screen time to get it right, showing the advantages of the episodic format over a short-duration film. And it’s clear that the artistic and technical maturity and sophistication of television production these days doesn’t necessarily reveal the huge gap between small-screen and silver-screen like it did in the  old days. Television holds up these days, and what television inevitably loses in pure bang-for-your-buck spectacle, it clearly trumps with character development and extended plot arcs.

And yes, binge-watching is clearly a bonus. I watched those first two episodes back to back and will likely do the same with the next two, the 13-episode series likely watched in a week or two, easy. As its my first Netflix show, I have to say I’m very impressed, and it has me considering that Jessica Jones set recently released.

Interestingly, Daredevil is very dark and very violent, and it is clearly showing how that can be done superbly well with a superhero character – a clear lesson that perhaps the DC movie division should have heeded with its Man of Steel/Batman v Superman properties that seem to be struggling with the darkness and ‘reality’ they are aiming for. Of course I’ve only just started the show and will need to see how the season unfolds, but so far they seem to have nailed it. Avoiding all those spoilers/reviews seems to have paid off.

dare2.jpgThe only thing that kept bugging me was where had I seen the actress who is playing Karen Page? Every scene she was in I was distracted by the “where the hell have I seen her before?” brainworm that kept burrowing into me. I hate it when that happens. Eventually, well into episode two I had to resort to a visit to IMDB. The actress is Deborah Ann Wolf, and I’d seen her in True Blood, a show I had watched a few seasons of before giving up on it several years ago. I remember she was one of the best things in True Blood, and it’s  great that she seems to be a regular in Daredevil.

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6 thoughts on “A Bit Late to the Party: Daredevil

  1. Pingback: A Bit Late to the Party: Daredevil — the ghost of 82 | Fantasy Gift your Source of Unique Product Items

  2. Daredevil‘s just about the best thing Marvel Studios have produced, for my money. Jessica Jones garnered a lot of critical accolades and worthy-type awards, not unjustifiably, and it certainly works as a superhero show for people who don’t like superheroes. But for all its good intentions, genuine female characters, and sensitive handling of serious subjects, I don’t think it’s got quite enough plot to sustain 13 episodes and runs around in circles in the middle. DD, on the other hand, does straight-up vigilante-superhero-ing very, very well indeed.

    1. I’m really enjoying it. Four episodes into it now, its THAT good that I’m avoiding the temptation to binge/race my way through it. It feels like something to savour, which is a bit contradictory in this day and age of devouring tv shows over weekends etc.

      The idea that a superheto tv show can hold its own against the Hollywood blockbusters of its genre is refreshing. Its great having something in the genre that feels intimate and that doesnt feel the need to orchestrate spectacular stunts/effects to distract or justify its genre credentials. Its something that bugged me with Deadpool- it was funny and violent and bucked many tropes of the genre, but still felt the need to end with a big dumb action sequence to ‘save the girl’. It just seemed to become the very thing it had gently took the piss out of throughout.

      1. I was the same about Daredevil (and several other quality shows) — rushing them just seems a waste.

        The advantages of TV having the same cinematic ambition as movies but not the same budget is that they have to fall back on things like character and story rather than elaborate action scenes, which is often what makes them more satisfying, especially as they have so many more hours to develop those elements. Even when it comes to action, having to use real-world stunts rather than CGI body doubles makes the fights that much more visceral.

  3. Somebody mentioned on a forum awhile ago, I think it was regards the UFO blu-ray that came out last November, that rather than binge-watch a single series, instead he would ‘programme’ a nights viewing, so, say, an episode of The Prisoner followed by an episode of UFO followed by an episode of The Persuaders or maybe Steptoe and Son, and continue this on a nightly fashion. You know, create an alternate nights viewing. It struck me as an elegant way of getting through box-sets, but I haven’t had the opportunity to try something like that out myself.

    I guess the trick would be to find tv shows from a common era or in a common genre, but its a fantastic idea. Imagine a night watching an episode of Daredevil followed by a season 6 episode of Game of Thrones, then maybe an episode of Penny Dreadful or old classic like Babylon 5. Then follow the same pattern every few nights. It’d certainly enable a box-set of Daredevil to last awhile while enabling older stuff to be revisited.

    1. It’s a very intelligent way of going about box sets without just binging a single series at a time, I agree. My viewing tends to be more scattershot and random, unfortunately.

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