On April 10, Netflix released the first season of Daredevil, a series created by Drew Goddard, who has worked on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost and Angel. It’s based on the Marvel Comics character Daredevil, and is set in the same universe as the Marvel films. The first season has thirteen episodes. The show stars Charlie Cox as the titular character, Matt Murdock, along with Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, and Eiden Hensen as Froggy Nelson.
People may know Charlie Cox from movies Stardust and The Theory of Everything, and Deborah Ann Woll from True Blood. I wasn’t too familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the only Marvel movie I had seen being The Avengers, so I was hesitant to start the show. However, upon hearing all the critical acclaim it received as well as praise from people who I knew also didn’t know much about MCU, I decided to give it a shot. I am very happy that I did, because it has become one of my favorite shows.
The first episode starts off with a flashback scene of a nine-year-old Matthew Murdock becoming blind from a chemical accident. In present day, Matt and his friend and partner Froggy are starting a new law firm after just being out of law school. They have no funds and no clients, but an opportunity comes their way in the form of Karen Page, who has just been framed for murder. Karen wakes up in an apartment covered in her coworker’s blood and is immediately arrested. She is skeptical when Matt and Froggy approach her, who were told about her case through bribes, but since she has no other options, she lets them take her case.
As I was watching, the show actually reminded me a lot of Arrow, though much better quality; it has the same dark, gritty atmosphere. The last scene in the pilot is one of my favorites. It is a powerful scene and sets up the plot points for the rest of the season very well. The show gets better as the episodes go on, and more interesting characters are introduced, such as Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson, and Wilson Fisk, played by Wilson D’Onofrio. All the characters thus far are very well-written. Matt is definitely my favorite, and it is especially great that the main character is a blind man. His disability and the way it affects him is constantly emphasized, as are his heightened senses and how they contribute to his being a powerful superhero. Karen and Claire are both great female characters who are radically different in some ways, but both are strong-willed, interesting and well-developed. Karen’s character took a few episodes to come into her own, but I eventually ended up loving her. Froggy is also an endearing character, though I do wish that he was treated as more than just comic relief at times.
The dynamics between the characters are also fleshed-out and fascinating. The friendship and partnership between Matt, Froggy and Karen is great, and so are the romantic dynamics between Matt and Karen as well as Matt and Claire. The interactions between the villains are also well done. The antagonists are three dimensional, though the various schemes can get hard to follow at times.
I did find myself bored at certain parts. Some scenes drag on for too long and can be extremely confusing and difficult to follow. The pilot was strong overall, but it did take me a couple episodes to truly get invested in the show. I did end up really loving it though, and the widespread acclaim is certainly earned. The plot is interesting and engaging, the characters are well written, and the acting is especially strong. I think Matt’s character is definitely one of the best parts of the show, as are Karen and Claire. I didn’t expect to enjoy Daredevil as much as I did considering my not being familiar with Marvel, but it’s something anyone would love, regardless of their knowledge of Marvel or their genre preferences. The Netflix model can be frustrating since it will definitely be difficult waiting a year for the next season, but I know the wait will be worth it.