Marvel’s Daredevil features a beautiful red opening title sequence. Red is Daredevil’s signature color, so you think the entire show would be drenched in it, but excepting the opening titles, it’s not. The color palette of the show is a base of blue and black, with highlights of sodium yellow and bilious green. Shadows are deep and stark, often creating frames like comic book cells, with what little is revealed by the stark lighting cast in sickly, sallow tones. Hell’s Kitchen is not a welcoming place—this is not Tony Stark’s sun-drenched Malibu or the gleaming, bright world of the Avengers. The streets Daredevil patrols are murky and darkness looms around the edges of the frame, obliterating what little light trickles down to the street.
Now that we’ve talked about Daredevil as a television show, let’s talk about Daredevil as a person. Or rather, let’s talk about Matt Murdock, because over the course of the show we see that Matt and his vigilante alter ego are one and the same. Matt Murdock is inspired to don a mask and become a vigilante because he sees injustice and fear oppressing the good people in Hell’s Kitchen, but when he is “in character” as Daredevil, he’s no less Matt Murdock than he is when he’s arguing for justice in a court of law. Throughout the show we see Matt struggle with his conviction not to kill, and ultimately he upholds his morals, turning Wilson Fisk over to the police. Matt’s morality, and his Catholic faith, are important parts of his identity which he does not subsume in order to fight crime.
Last Friday was the long-awaited premiere of Daredevil, the first of Marvel’s Netflix series which will ultimately culminate in a Defenders miniseries along about 2017. The first of the “street-level” superheroes, Daredevil is charged with essentially being the Iron Man of the Defenders, responsible for setting the tone and style for the whole team. And man, did Daredevil ever deliver. Taking advantage of Netflix’s native binge-watching environment, series creator Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) and showrunner Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus) offer a tightly plotted, highly serialized season meant to be consumed in large chunks. With all 13 episodes available at once I wondered how best to review Daredevil, and ultimately decided to tackle it in three parts, with this first review concentrating on the overall tone of the show itself. If you’d like episodic recaps, here’s a good set.
Last night was the two-hour premiere of Marvel Studios’ latest TV venture, Agent Carter, a spin-off series starring Captain America’s main squeeze, Peggy Carter. It’s the second network show for Marvel, following last year’s Agents of SHIELD, and since there are only eight episodes in what is being billed as a “limited series”—aka, “we’re not planning on renewing this unless it’s REALLY popular”—I’ll be recapping episodes each week. Let’s start with this two-hour premiere, which set up Peggy’s post-World War II, post-Captain America life in New York.