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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Review: Daredevil Season 1

One of the challenges of a superhero series is the expectation built up over the years from having some really great stories. For Daredevil, there's Miller & Mazzucchelli's Born Again. That story, however, stood in context of a long series, while the TV show (for whatever reason) feels obliged to tell the origin story, recasting it in a different fashion.

TV shows get much more room to deal with their subject matter: tension can be added to scenes, and longer stories get a chance to play out. With series on streaming video like Netflix, shows don't even need to have a 3 act structure to give room for commercial breaks. Towards the end of the season, the producers and directors take advantage of this to deliver 55 minute episodes instead of 45 minute episodes, which allow them to derail expectations in certain sequences while heightening the climaxes.

The chief villain in this season is Wilson Fisk (known in the comics as The Kingpin, but never gets that label here). The actor does an amazing job, portraying Fisk as a man with genuine goals and ideals and viewing himself as a good guy.  The show spends about as much time on him as it does on Matt Murdock. Daredevil himself never gets a name until right at the end, nor does he wear a costume for most of the series.

The storyline is reasonable, and the action sequences are justifiably praised by critics. The entire thing was done on a budget, but done well. The show even takes advantage of its ability to depart from the comics by killing off characters that were long standing actors in the books, adding more shock value to those who read the comics.

Is this the best superhero show on TV? I haven't watched enough shows in recent years to be able to tell you. But it's pretty good, and with the holiday discounts, enough to justify the microSD card storage space I had devoted to it while I watched in 15 minute chunks during the holidays. Recommended.

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