Should Marvel’s Netflix Shows be Limited to One Season to Stave Off the Sophomore Slump?
When I wrote about Marvel’s Jessica Jones being renewed for a third season on Netflix, my feelings were very firmly meh, as its second season left much to be desired. Come to think of it, the second season of Daredevil left much to be desired, too. Perhaps Marvel has been thinking about these shows all wrong. Maybe Marvel should treat them less like episodic television and more like mini-series.
As I mentioned in my previous piece, season one of Jessica Jones was brilliant. It was tightly written, had a clear conflict for its protagonist, and had a clear antagonist in Kilgrave. Jessica’s relationship with Trish struck a perfect balance between best friend and budding superhero sidekick. The storytelling was focused and compelling.
By comparison, season two Trish went from being awesome to being the most annoying character on the planet, and the storytelling seemed all over the place and took its sweet time getting between those places.
The same thing happened on Daredevil. Season one was compelling and tightly-written. The relationships made sense, the story was focused … then Matt Murdock went off the rails in season two, Karen got annoying (is it a Marvel rule that the supporting female character has to become obnoxious in the second season?), and while it might have had had an intriguing antagonist in either Frank Castle/Punisher or Elektra, they were each done a disservice by being shoved into the same season, which watered both storylines down.
None of the other Marvel shows have had second seasons yet, and I almost prefer it this way. As it stands, Luke Cage, while I loved it overall, suffered from the same problem in its first season that Daredevil had in its second. Luke Cage should’ve ended with Cottonmouth. Instead, what should’ve been the end of the season was the halfway point … and then there was more show and a new villain.
It’s as if these writing teams are trying to write their seasons as if they’re runs on a comic book—with one story arc ending, and another beginning mid-season—and it doesn’t work. I haven’t bothered watching Iron Fist or The Defenders, because neither word-of-mouth on Iron Fist, nor actually watching the other existing single-hero shows, have compelled me to want to watch all of them work together.
My suggestion? Keep bringing Marvel heroes to live-action by giving them each a Netflix miniseries.
On their own, the first seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage were great. Imagine similar takes on Spider-Woman, America Chavez, or Hawkeye … the Kate Bishop version. One great, tight, focused season—a mini-series—each. They could go on and on through Marvel’s huge library of characters and create a near-endless amount of quality series.
What do you think? Would you enjoy one-off mini-series starring your favorite heroes? Or, do you think there’s hope for the existing shows and formula as-is? Tell us what you think below!
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