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.