With less than forty days to go before Marvel’s Daredevil returns to Netflix, it’s high time to start looking forward to the second season – and revisit the first. Before getting to the latter, I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about some of my own expectations, hopes (and fears!) going into this next chapter. As always, I’m looking forward to hearing from you guys in the comments. Agree or disagree? Let the rest of us know!
Is there room for improvement?
Daredevil’s first season got rave reviews; there’s not doubt about that. It impressed the critics, won the title character new fans, and even managed to satisfy most of the old ones. This is no small feat. My own opinion of the Netflix series changed dramatically between my first and second viewing. I’ll admit it: After sitting through almost twelve solid hours of television on the day of the premiere, I was emotionally exhausted and nursing a massive headache. I didn’t realize until then just how much I had been holding my breath for this, and just how worried I had been that the show wasn’t going to be to my liking. I’m obviously very emotionally attached to this character. And, during the first viewing, I was bound to be excessively vigilant when it came to spotting any flaws which pretty much set me up for disappointment. Me being me, I let things like the poorly conceived “world on fire” effect, or the inexplicable scene of Matt sensing the contents of a box across the room in episode six, overshadow all the good stuff.
The second time I watched the series, which was later that first weekend, I was able to relegate these minor nuisances to their proper place. All things considered, this really is an impressive show. Having watched the show more than half a dozen times now, I’ve even come to consider its portrayal of Matt Murdock one of the very best interpretations of the character. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement, which brings us to this post. While one might argue that it’s more difficult to repeat the success of a first season than make just that one successful season, there are many examples of television shows that have taken longer to hit their stride or even continued to outdo themselves over several seasons. In the case of Daredevil, I think there are a couple of key things that should lead us to expect more.
Beyond the origins
I love a good origin story, and I think most of us agree that Daredevil needed that story to be told. In the case of superheroes, the origin tends to matter a great deal and almost takes on mythical proportions. The origin is a big part of what makes the hero; what inspires him (or her) to do what they do. In the case of Daredevil, the origin story is a massive trauma delivered in two stages. First there is the accident which cost him his sight, and gave him heightened senses, and next we have the death of his father. In the Daredevil show, these two events take place in short succession, unlike in the original story from the comics, but that’s not important. The important thing is that these two events are central to who Matt Murdock is. I think that season one got it right by putting these events right at the very beginning with Matt’s accident happening in the very first scene, while the second shows him talking about his father in confession. And, I loved the portrayal of Jack Murdock. Loved it.
Still, it’s a very good thing to have this crucial development out of the way for season two. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love another flashback to Matt’s childhood (if only to get another chance to see John Patrick Hayden in action as Jack) – and we know for a fact that there will be flashbacks to Matt’s college days, so that we can be properly introduced to Elektra – but the fact that we already know what Matt Murdock is about going into season two is a very good thing. Not only that, we will actually have Nelson & Murdock already up and running, Foggy finally being wise to Matt’s secret life and heightened senses, and Matt’s journey to fully becoming Daredevil completed. These developments all made for good stories during season one, but having all these pieces in place bodes well for season two.
One of the, albeit minor, issues I had with season one was the pacing. While good overall, there were slow patches here and there. We’ve already learned from the new showrunners that the coming season will be moving along a bit faster, and I think that’s a great thing. I’m hopeful that the almost twelve hours of entertainment ahead of us will also have plenty of room for some legal action and great character moments.
The new players
As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve never been a huge Punisher fan. That does not, however, mean that I’m not over the moon excited to see Jon Bernthal tackle this character in the coming season. While there’s also Elektra (more on her below) and the reappearance of Stick (in three episodes this time) to make sure that the more mysterious realm will also be touched on, the inclusion of Frank Castle is a sure sign that this show stays grounded and close to the streets where Daredevil belongs. Having the Punisher on the scene will also help the main character, and his audience, get a better sense of who he is. Or, in this case, get a better sense of who he is not. I fully expect this to bring out new aspects of the character.
Speaking of which, we’re bound to see some developments in Matt’s love life. Not only is Elektra showing up and shaking things up – though, of course, she is so much more than just Matt’s old flame – we’ve also seen the people behind the show tease a romantic relationship between Matt and Karen. I know that this probably leaves a lot of people cold, but I actually look forward to seeing this side of Matt, regardless of who happens to be on the receiving end of his attention. Why? Because it humanizes him.
In the comic book, Matt Murdock has been the poster boy for serial monogamy. I know he’s been called less flattering things – “man-whore” being one such epithet – but he’s really more of a relationship type than someone who chases one-night-stands. During season one, Matt spent a lot of time being closed off from his friends, because of his internal struggles and his secrets, and I would love to see him let his emotional guard down a little bit. I’m hopeful that acquaintances, new and old, will let him do that in season two. In between the turmoil, and the heartache, of course. This is Daredevil, after all. 😉
All images © Netflix