Despite an air of uncertainty over the recent Marvel/Netflix cancellations, Daredevil’s latest season delivers a powerful reminder of its importance to the streaming service.
The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’s third season is one of the most engaging pieces of television this year, with Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio putting in world class performances alongside a slew of magnificent supporting roles (both old and new) which will have you praying for more.
With a critically praised return to form, season three begins where ‘Defenders’ left off - Marvel’s ‘Man Without Fear’ recovers in his childhood church having been crushed under rubble yet is still presumed dead, Wilson Fisk is behind bars, Foggy Nelson and Karen Page are continuing their lives with a small strand of hope that Matt Murdock is alive, and the FBI are continuing to probe Fisk for information about the other criminal enterprises.
New Showrunner Erik Oleson intricately explores the highly impactful, superbly humanised themes of relationships, faith, power, trust, and delivers the most captivating storyline of any Marvel television show to date; a wondrous tapestry of intrigue, mystery and character building, tearing down Daredevil to his core only to build him back up again, stronger than ever.
Although this season has been given the critical seal of approval - with Rottentomatoes revealing an average critic score of 92% and IMDB having 7 of the 13 episodes scored above a 9.5 star rating - the cast and crew have been vague about the future of the series, stating on their press tour that they don’t know whether it will be renewed.
The Disney streaming service reacquiring their Marvel IPs has been speculated a lot online recently, with Luke Cage and Ironfist (if renewed) most likely to be among the first Marvel property to be available on that platform, alongside new mini-series shows Loki and Scarlet Witch, starring Tom Hiddleston and Elisabeth Olsen.
Despite the impending streaming service juggernaut lurking in the background, there are two important factors which argue against Netflix rolling over and allowing Disney to take Daredevil: viewership and tone.
With Ironfist having a much stronger second season, yet still being cancelled, the pre-season viewing speculation for Daredevil was marred with skepticism but data from Parrot Analytics has exposed those fears to be false, with the Marvel original being the United States number one most wanted series in the week spanning from October 14th to October 20th - just one day after its October 19 release.
*image taken from Parrot Analytics
On the back of its one day spike of 41% (compared to the previous week), the critical buoyancy and positive social media fervour, Netflix cannot ignore the attention this draws to its service - both for existing consumers and newcomers.
A big part of that attention is the tone set for the series, achieved partly thanks to Netflix’s precedent for dark and gritty drama. Although there is no solid evidence to support a Marvel defection from one streaming service to another, if something does materialise of the rumour, an honest appraisal of where Daredevil would be most suited must be debated.
If Disney’s streaming service was to tow the same line as its movie universe, there would be no room for the viscerally bloody, emotionally dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen. Considering the clean and polished nature of Disney, Daredevil would seem to be the outlier and if it were altered or repositioned tonally, it very well could lose interest among fans.
Speculation aside, Marvel’s Daredevil was one of the original founding members of the Netflix superhero genre, one which (much like its character) will not go quietly into the night, be ignored or give up the fight for dominance.
Whatever the outcome may be, season three of Daredevil has solidified its importance to Netflix, regaining its place as a critical show of intelligence, dark realism and character-driven action, embodying what the streaming service is for many viewers.
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