Though one of the defining characteristics of “The Golden Age” of television is that standout serialized storytelling no longer belongs exclusively to cable providers, it’s hard to argue that HBO hasn’t maintained its status at the top of the class. With a reputation forged on the critical acclaim of David Simon’s The Wire, hardened through six seasons of The Sopranos, and now emboldened by the most successful fantasy adaption since Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, HBO has gone from strength to strength.
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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.
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.
Though Game of Thrones is obviously the poster child for mainstream fantasy television, the genre has been prevalent in TV for decades, albeit as one almost exclusively aimed at younger audiences: Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, Beastmaster, among others. HBO’s series was able to successfully shift itself out of this niche by casting its fantastical elements alongside more universal ones, like family drama and the perils of holding power.
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story made its debut during the midst of the post-Twilight craze of serialized-supernatural dramas (True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc.). The program was a startling in its change of tone to those who followed Murphy, fresh off the success of Glee at the time. The series was conceived as a highly-serialized anthology that would essentially reset its setting, cast, and focus each season.