Marvel is no stranger to powerhouse collaborations — look at next month’s Avengers: Age of Ultron — but its most promising, game-changing partnership this year has nothing to do with Iron Man and Captain America. Instead, it kicks off tomorrow, when its new TV series, Marvel’s Daredevil, debuts on Netflix. As I wrote at Quartz,
Bringing together Marvel and Netflix, Marvel’s Daredevil, which debuts its thrilling 13-episode first season on Netflix April 10, ushers in an Avengers-level teaming up of Hollywood titans. In the past few years, no two companies have changed the entertainment landscape as much as Marvel (now every studio is pursuing its own version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Netflix (which between pioneering binge-watching and creating groundbreaking shows like Orange is the New Black, has knocked every other network on its heels). Now they are at it again, devising an exciting new path for the crowded TV superhero genre.
And the series — the first of five Marvel/Netflix shows that will culminate in Marvel’s The Defenders, an Avengers-like teamup of its “street-level heroes” — is fantastic:
Unlike the other TV superhero series, Daredevil is aimed at grownups—or, at least, not the kids who watch much of Netflix’s other superhero fare. Karen Paige (Deborah Ann Woll from True Blood), the firm’s first client turned secretary, notes that after the violent events of the first episode, “I don’t see the city anymore. All I see are its dark corners.” And that is where Daredevil lives: the show employs a very dark palette (after all, Murdock doesn’t need lights). While Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Agent Carter are glitzy and glossy, this one is gritty and grimy. An early episode features a brutal, gruesome decapitation; not something you’d find on any broadcast TV show.
But where Daredevil—which erases all memories of the mediocre 2003 film with Ben Affleck—really shines is in its inventive action sequences, particularly an ingeniously executed, prolonged fight sequence late in the second episode. It feels real, and brutal. You can see superheroes fighting back guys all over TV, but nowhere else does it feel this visceral.
Marvel and Netflix still have a long road ahead, but they couldn’t have asked for a better start to their partnership than Daredevil. Don’t miss the series when it debuts tomorrow!