Friday, March 18, 2016

Daredevil (Season 1)

I finally got around to binge-watching the rest of season one in anticipation of the new season dropping today. I had started watching nearly a year ago when it first came out, but like a lot of the more serious, dark television fare lately (Walking Dead, I’m looking at you) I kept finding excuses to not come back.

It is one thing to sit down for a couple of hours to take in a hard-to-swallow movie with dark themes. But TV (or Netflix) series ask us to devote multiple visits back to the agony. And the way things are with streaming, it isn’t really meted out in manageable doses every week.

So what was off about Daredevil that made it such work to get through? After all, I was able to make it through two seasons of Fargo last year, and it was a similar universe. I think Daredevil was simply too serious. It was skillfully made and had well told, important-for-today stories. But it as to uniformly serious. It lacked moments of humor. It’s moments of tenderness or humanity were still seasoned with a certain melancholy—a lack of hope—that pervaded the series.

One hopes that the new uniform, unveiled in the season finale, will bring a little fun into season two. (That said, the new uniform looks pretty stupid compared to the black outfit he wore most of the season. And, while we’re at it, the introduction of the Punisher will not lighten the mood at all. Sigh…)

I remember when I was a kid and had already begun my life-long fandom of the Batman through television rather than comics, a friend introduced me to my first Marvel Comics. I didn’t really get the X Men, but this crazy blind guy in the devil suit, acrobating around the cityscape fighting bad guys with a baton seemed pretty cool. I decided he would be my second favorite hero.

But the comics had a similar problem to the series. Every time I looked into his stories, he couldn’t seem to catch a break. I didn’t know it at the time, but these things called comic books tend to be little more than soap operas.

Here’s hoping that season two, along with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, will find a way to be fun while still telling compelling, relevant stories for our day.

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