A man stands alone, wearing a designer suit and a shit-eating grin. An anonymous skyline occupies the backdrop behind him, imposed on a green screen. On occasion, some scuzzy-looking dude wearing a bikini top pops into frame. For over ten years, that has been the vehicle that delivers bite-sized pieces of TV at its trashiest right into your home, sealed with a snarky one-liner and a kiss.
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Shonda Rhimes’ How to Get Away With Murder is a show with a lot of hype behind it, and rightly so. It’s hard to deny the series’ first season didn’t make a strong impression. It threw together an awesome and diverse cast, a fun episodic formula, and a serialized mystery that definitely hangs with the best of them.
That said, it was How to Get Away With Murder’s blend of contemporary college drama and sprawling murder-mystery that stuck with me the most, because it evoked a fascinating set of similarities to Donna Tartt’s seminal campus-murder novel, The Secret History.
By now we know that there have been several “self-styled” kings, and many that have claimed the rights to Game of Thrones’ kingdom of Westeros. Whether you have read all of George R.R. Martin’s books to date, or are only a fan of the television series, we have been subjected to a parade of aspiring leaders that all feel they have a claim to the Iron Throne.
But of these wannabes, which of these actually would make a good ruler? Which of them actually has a true and valid claim? Which of these people would avid readers and watchers of the Game of Thrones universe actually like to see sitting atop the Iron Throne?
Last Friday, Marvel Entertainment released Daredevil, their first of four Netflix-exclusive series. Like other Netflix-exclusive releases, all 13 episodes of Daredevil were released at the same time, which means it was ripe for binge-watching. As someone who is an avid comic book fan, and a proponent of any live-action comic book adaptation, I really wanted to immerse myself in Daredevil once it was released. So, like many Americans this weekend, I binge-watched all 13 episodes of Daredevil in basically one sitting (I took a few breaks in between episodes). During my marathon viewing session, I live-tweeted my spontaneous reactions and unprocessed thoughts on the show. What follows is the Storification of my tweets that, when compiled, work as a real time review of Daredevil.
Netflix really put their chips on the table by releasing Daredevil the same weekend as the Season Five premiere of Game of Thrones, and in the eternal war of watercooler-ready cultural capital, the only reason they’d be so bold is because they feel that they had something special on their hands ... and they do indeed.
Landing at a curious time in the television landscape where DC Comics is starting to pick up good will with their character-driven efforts Arrow and The Flash (although the less said about Gotham the better) and Marvel’s own Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is starting to pay off after finally breaking through the predictable “monster of the week format” part way through its first season, Daredevil is cut from a different bullet-resistant cloth altogether. Starring Boardwalk Empire‘s Charlie Cox as blind lawyer Matt Murdock, the show follows Murdock and his friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson of Mighty Ducks fame) as they start up their own law firm in Hell’s Kitchen, although Murdock, whose other senses have been trained to near-superhuman levels, goes out at night and seeks vigilante justice all his own, often fighting back the forces of ruthless business magnate Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in a struggle for the heart of the city. (Note, this character is best known as the Kingpin, but in one of the show’s several well-thought-out decisions, he is never referred to as such.)
This may sound very by-the-numbers (and, to neophytes, remarkably Batman-esque), but the show carries off the premise remarkable style. Created by The Cabin in the Woods helmer Drew Goddard with Steven S. DeKnight serving as showrunner (both alums from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), let us now break down the three absolutely extraordinary ways that Daredevil managed to become not just the hands-down best superhero drama on TV, but also one of the best new overall dramas this season.