Published on April 13th, 2015 | by gareth0
Is Daredevil A Knockout Punch To Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
This weekend Marvel’s Daredevil made its debut on Netfilx as part of a new deal which will show future super hero series come to the streaming and rental service. The first 13 episodes dropped the eager anticipation of fans and the response has generally been very favorable to positive.
At the same time on broadcast television, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is now in its second season but seems to be suffering from an identity crisis.
Despite some shaking ratings in the first season, the show rebounded well and recently posted as the #1 show in its time slot amongst the coveted 18-49 year old demographic.
But as anyone who watches the show will tell you, it does seem to be still trying to feel its way along. Last year the show started out as a super powered bad guy of the week and retooled to become an ongoing storyline about Coulson and Sky as well as their backstories with some supernatural of the week elements thrown in.
This season we have seen a greatly increased cast and additions such as Edward James Olmos and Lucy Lawless but sadly many of the characters remain bland and fairly interchangeable to the point where the loss of one of them in the finale last year really did not register that much with fans.
Despite the issues, the show manages to attract over 3 million viewers a week but the failure to really hook fans with the characters and storylines has been an issue. The recent run of Agent Carter on the other hand showed what strong characters and a cohesive storyline could do and as such has been the strongest Marvel offering on broadcast television to date.
The challenges of trying to do 22 shows a year while appealing to the fickle television audiences is showing and combine that with the mega-budgeted and star-studded Marvel movies, it is hard for S.H.I.E.L.D. to stand out, in fact their best episodes where when they followed up the events of the recent Captain America film and gave a greater depth to the Hydra takeover.
Enter into the picture Daredevil, where brutal and realistic fighting and combat enter into the dark and deadly world of Hell’s Kitchen New York and Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), who leads a double life as a defense lawyer by day and a masked vigilante by night.
The show is able to capture the essence of the character by not being constrained by the restrictions of broadcast television. If bones need to be broken, a bad guy brutally killed, or something else of a darker nature, it is no problem at all for Netflix and they have eagerly given the show a dark intensity that should make fans very happy. This is not the “Biff” “Pow”, “Sock” of the old Batman series, this is a life and death struggle played out before your eyes in each episode.
With three other shows and a serial in the works for Marvel at Netflix, it seems clear that the studio has seen the advantages of offering their televised shows via the service, but what remains to be seen is if the success of Daredevil will make them rethink their broadcast plans.
One advantage the studio has is that by owning ABC, they do not have to split the lucrative rerun, DVD, and streaming rights with anyone so it only makes sense for them to ensure some content stays on the airways, but will a more chaste Marvel Universe continue to appeal to fans with the other options available to them?
Gotham has been a hit for DC over on the FOX Network and The Flash and Arrow have worked well on the WB which underscores the appeal and viability of super hero based shows, the biggest question for me is if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can find it’s grove before becoming an afterthought.