Fascinated Fridays: A Look at Netflix’s Daredevil

For today’s Fascinated Friday, I wanted to talk a little about Netflix’s original series, Marvel’s Daredevil.  First off, the heritage.  I really feel that HBO changed the nature of entertainment with their stable of original programming.  They combined the advantages of serialized, ongoing story-telling with the freedom of content you normally only found in movies.  And surprise, surprise.  it worked really, really well.

So naturally, others followed suit.

When I heard that Netflix was going to do an original Daredevil series, I was excited.  I had always liked the character of Matt Murdock, lawyer and vigilante, blinded in a freak accident, but given amazing other senses.  The street level Marvel heroes have always been interesting to me (especially Moon Knight.  love that crazy bastard).  I was curious though, what it would look like.  What the feel and tone would be.

Then, I started seeing some of the names attached to it.

Doug Petrie is an alum of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my all time favorites, as is Steven S. De Knight.  De Knight also was one of the main figures for the “so nuts it’s awesome” Spartacus series.  And then Drew Goddard, yet another Buffy alum, and co-writer and director of Cabin n the Woods.

There are few bits of television that I hold as dear as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I loved the Spartacus stuff.  And Cabin in the Woods is brilliant.

Ok, solid pedigree right there.  I am intrigued now.

When Daredevil debuted on Netflix, the whole season released at one time, I started watching.

And I love it.

There are three main reasons why.

1)  The Cast

The casting I think is pretty spot on.  Charlie Cox (who Joe and I last saw in the criminally underrated Stardust) is perfect as Murdock. Deborah Ann Woll, who I developed a major crush on while she was on True Blood, is fun to watch as Karen Page, and Vincent D’Onofrio is a really menacing Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime.  But the real surprise is Elden Henson as a pretty pitch perfect Foggy Nelson, Murdock’s law partner.  And that is not even taking into account the amazing work being done by Vondie Curtis-hall as reporter Ben Urich.  So solid performances all around.

2)  It’s smart.

There is a moment in the second episode that I have seen a number of other people write about, and it hit me in the exact same way.  The second episode starts with Murdock cut up and unconscious in a trash can and immediately, I was prepared for the obligatory fade to black, and the titling of “Two Hours Earlier.”  But it doesn’t do that.  Instead, it rolls from there.  Simple, but powerful.  The show executes.

3)  It is brutal.

Admittedly, this is one of the main things that make me a little hesitant about blatantly recommending the show to anyone and everyone. The fights are visceral in a way I haven’t felt in a lot of entertainment.  They are fast, and vicious, and everybody involved takes a beating.  And you feel it.  The combination of the cinematography, the fight choreography, and the sound design all combine to make the violence in the show very, very real feeling.  I think this is one of the strongest aspects of the show to be honest, but it might honestly be a bit much for some.  Strangely enough, even people who cut their teeth on the bat-nuts crazy slaughterhouse that is Game of Thrones may blanch a bit.  Maybe not.  But it is what makes the show for me.

I would recommend watching the first two episodes.  The first gives a great overall feel, but the second episode is brilliant, especially the hallway fight scene that you WILL hear people talking about.

Until next time, keep finding stuff you love.  I will.

-Mark

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