Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pilot Review: Daredevil

Daredevil (Netflix)
Premiered April 10

It’s hard to determine which are more prevalent these days: new shows on Netflix or new shows about superheroes. This one has both covered, the first major foray for the streaming service, which is churning out show after show at the moment, into partnership with Marvel and its legion of comic book characters. Just as with the Flash for DC Comics, Daredevil is someone whose story and general saga I’m not familiar with at all, but like all such personalities, he too can become endearing and compelling. This pilot is very much a pilot, in that it offers only a glimpse of who Daredevil is before Matt Murdock takes on his secret identity on a regular basis. The only thing I knew about this show and its cast going into it was that Charlie Cox, who was great in his recurring role as Nucky’s loyal lieutenant Owen on “Boardwalk Empire,” was putting on an American accent to play Murdock. I was pleasantly surprised to see Deborah Ann Woll, best known for playing Jessica on “True Blood,” in what I thought was a guest spot as this episode’s framed murder suspect, and I was delighted to discover that she’ll have a more prominent role as a regular player. This show is darker than a lot of other Marvel offerings (it’s TV-MA), but it still doesn’t have swearing and isn’t quite as intense as grittier fare on the likes of FX or HBO. It’s clear from the ending scene in which Murdock’s boxing practice is interspersed with snippets of a lot of different crime forces at work in the city that there is more than enough in the way of dastardly behavior for Murdock to monitor. This show needs a bit of time to develop, but I’m eager to see where it goes.

How will it work as a series? Daredevil’s legacy is still a mystery at this point to those villainous elements of the city, and so part of this story is going to be his growth into legend, while the building of his practice with Foggy and Karen will take up another portion of the storyline. I think there’s plenty to feature here, and this show should have no shortage of material.
How long will it last? Netflix is pretty gung-ho about reviewing its popular series, granting second seasons even to “Marco Polo” and “Bloodline.” If this show hasn’t already been officially renewed by the time this review goes up, I’d expect it to be picked up before a full week is up.

Pilot grade: B

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