Television

Netflix Binge: Daredevil Season 2

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Daredevil1This blog is primarily for posting book reviews and other reading topics, however once in a while I will deviate to talk about other things I am passionate about – mostly movies and TV. One thing I am currently obsessing over is the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix.

Last year I broke down the entire first season into a week-long series of blogs reviewing every episode. (If you’re interested, you can find them all here, under the ‘Netflix Binge’ tag.) Unfortunately, I do not have the time for that kind of review this year, even though season 2 is just as deserving of that kind of attention. However, I did want to share some thoughts I had as I was watching the season.

Once again Daredevil has proven how well this format can work for Marvel. I love the tightness of the storytelling and the way the episodes flow into each other. My viewing of Daredevil is near compulsive – at the end of every episode I had to hit play on the next one, because I couldn’t just stop it there (and I was really disappointed when I got to episode 13 and could not hit play on a new episode). Like the first season, this felt like watching a 13-hour movie, though there were several mini-arcs throughout the season that brought a little bit of closure periodically during the season so it didn’t feel like there were too many strings left dangling until the very end (although it did still feel like there were quite a few balls in the air going into the season finale).

After Vincent D’onofrio’s performance as Wilson Fisk last year I really didn’t know how Daredevil was going to top Kingpin in the villain department. D’onofrio was absolutely brilliant and brought so much depth to his performance – he actually made you feel sympathy for Kingpin. Fortunately, the writers and producers of Daredevil didn’t even try to top Kingpin, instead going for a completely different kind of story. Instead of one Master Villain, the Punisher and Elektra storylines were separate but weaved together throughout the season. I think this worked well and the change in pace in that way prevented too much comparison to the previous season as to cause disappointment at the lack of Fisk this season.

Daredevil2The entire principal cast is excellent. I know I sang the praises of Charlie Cox, Elden Henson, and Deborah Ann Woll last year, but they are just so good in these roles. Henson in particular steals the screen as Foggy Nelson in nearly every scene he is in; he is just fantastic. The addition of Jon Bernthal and Elodie Yung this year only increased the excellence of the cast. Both put in stellar performances, and I was particularly impressed with Bernthal’s Punisher. While I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of Bernthal’s work, from what I have seen this may be his best performance. I would love to see each of these characters show up again elsewhere, either in another season of Daredevil or one of the future series coming to Netflix. They are both very interesting characters, and very well-written.

I am a huge fan of all things Marvel, particularly the MCU. However, I think what Marvel is doing on Netflix may be some of the best storytelling they’ve done. First Daredevil and then Jessica Jones, each show has really nailed the characters and has been extremely well-written and compelling. Everything about each of these shows has been fantastic and I can’t wait to see what they do with the rest of the Defenders universe.

It’s hard to review an entire season of a TV show in just one blog post, but I can say that if you were a fan of season one, you will not be disappointed. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s better than season one – simply because Fisk made the first season so epic, and each season is different enough to make an equal comparison unfair – but it’s at least as good. And if you’re a fan of the Daredevil comics, but haven’t yet watched any of the series on Netflix, I definitely recommend you making the time to binge the show as soon as possible. They’ve really done justice to the characters and the comics.

So if you’re looking for a dark and gritty superhero drama done well, spend some quality time this week with the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

CJ Reacts: Sherlock and Doctor Who at SDCC

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This is the time of year when I become very jealous of all the nerds who are fortunate enough to be attending San Diego Comic Con. I got just a taste of the Comic Con experience when I traveled to NYCC last year, and attending SDCC at least once is a bucket list item for me. I WILL do it someday. Hopefully that someday is sooner rather than later. As an introvert the crowds and lines are very intimidating to me, but I survived NYCC and it was actually one of the best weekends of my life, so I have high hopes that I would enjoy SDCC just as much.

Since I am not actually in San Diego, I – like many of my fellow nerds all across the country – am glued to the internet for any information, videos, annoucements, etc. coming out of SDCC. Yesterday we were given several videos from two of my favorite British programs.

Doctor Who

Last year the first trailer for Doctor Who season 8 – featuring the first actual footage of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor – was unveiled at Comic Con, but the BBC refused to release it to the rest of the public for what seemed like forever. There was a lot of fan backlash for that decision, and they must have learned their lesson because this year the trailer was released for everyone yesterday.

There’s a lot going on in that trailer, and it pretty much just makes me wish it were September already. Do we really have to wait that long? Why can’t it come back in August this year? There’s also a lot of speculation about who Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is playing. Most centers around Missy A.K.A. The Master. Could she be a younger version of Missy? Time Lords age much slower than humans, so if she is indeed Missy, how long has The Master been in this regeneration? I guess we’ll find out.

Sherlock

As always, it seems like we’ve been waiting forever for a new episode of Sherlock (18 months is a very long time, and we still have five more months just until the Christmas special). Fortunately, yesterday some footage from the Christmas Special was released for fans.

The special is set in Victorian England, giving it a more classic Sherlock feel, and it’s set completely outside the world of Sherlock as we know it in this series. But I can’t wait to see what they do with it. And I’m really looking forward to it being a period piece – it’ll be a nice change of pace. However, I really can’t wait to see what the new season has in store for us.

Speaking of the new season, here is a video shared at Comic Con from Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, and Benedict Cumberbatch, all of whom could not make it to San Diego this year. It contains a teensy tease for the new season:

As fans know, the season finale ended with the reappearance of Moriarty. I had been thinking it may be just a red herring, and some other new villain was using his face to get to Sherlock. But could Scott’s last words into the screen be a hint that he is indeed coming back to the series? I have no idea how they would explain Moriarty being alive, but to be honest I don’t really care. I loved Scott as Moriarty and would love to see him back.

So there’s some of what I’ve gleaned from Day 1 of SDCC. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store for us.

“I kept it secret to protect you!” A.K.A. The Worst Excuse Ever

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If you’ve read my blog at all in the last six months you may have noticed that I am a big fan of comic book shows. There are some that I love more than others (the fact that Gotham will outlive Constantine is a horrible injustice) but I give them all a chance, and usually love them.

The FlashTwo of my favorites at the moment happen to be The Flash and Arrow, and I’ve become quite a fan of iZombie in the past couple months as well. I love these three shows and wouldn’t think of missing an episode, but that doesn’t mean I love everything about them. In fact there’s one thing that all three had in common this season (aside from being based on comics) that I find incredibly frustrating – even more so with every show that uses this trope, which is common among this genre of television. I really, really hate the “I’m lying about [insert really big, possibly life-altering secret here] because it’s the only way to keep [insert unfortunate clueless character here] safe” plot device.

Lying about secret identities is expected in comic shows – a superhero needs to keep his real identity secret after all. However, I feel on each of these three shows this season, keeping whatever secret the main characters didn’t want to share was taken to the extreme – to the point where it became extremely frustrating to watch what was happening to the characters being kept in the dark. Also, in each case keeping the secret meant ultimately creating causing more harm to the person they were trying to protect than if they had just been honest in the first place. It’s one thing when keeping your secret is just a small part of the story, but when it becomes a major plot point, it’s starts to get annoying.

Note: The following discussion assumes the reader is up-to-date on all current episodes of Arrow, The Flash, and iZombie. There will be spoilers. If you are behind, you may want to catch up before reading. if you’re not concerned about spoilers, continue reading after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

CBS’ Supergirl Pilot, Or, 101 Ways Not to Say Superman

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Supergirl

I may have already found my favorite new series for Fall 2015.

When I heard the Supergirl pilot had been leaked I was immediately intrigued. This is one of the new series I’m most excited about next fall, and I can’t wait to see what the show is like. I tried to be patient and respect the cast and crew by waiting (as I’ve done before for similar leaks of Game of Thrones, Teen Wolf and Doctor Who) but ultimately I couldn’t resist – I needed to know if the show was going to live up to my hopes. I justified my curiosity by promising to still watch the episode live when it premieres in November (that’s 6 months away! I’ll definitely need to refresh my memory by then) and encourage as many people as I can to give it a chance when it finally premieres.

A few weeks ago when the first trailer for Supergirl was released, there was a lot of positive feedback, but also a lot of criticism. I personally was very excited after the first trailer – I cannot wait to finally have a superhero show starring a female superhero. I think The Mary Sue argues my thoughts better than I could when it comes to the criticism and all the people who are comparing the original trailer to the Black Widow Saturday Night Live sketch. I honestly don’t understand why people think a female superhero can’t be the least bit girly. I love Black Widow; I love that she’s strong and independent and not girly – but that doesn’t mean that strong independent women should never be girly. I appreciate that Supergirl is a girl and occasionally acts like one. She freaks out about what to wear on dates, she gets a little tongue-tied when meeting her hot new co-worker for the first time. We all do that at some point, it doesn’t lessen who we are or diminish our strength. I’m hoping maybe Supergirl will be able to show us that you can be a girl and awesome at the same time.

But enough of that soap box. Let’s get to what you really want to know – what did I think of the pilot?

I am going to make this as spoiler-free as possible, because I don’t want to ruin it for the five people who haven’t downloaded and watched already. (By the way, if you’re waiting until fall to view it, I admire and respect your willpower.) I really enjoyed this episode, and it made me even more excited about the series. It’s definitely a pilot in that there’s a lot to introduce and set up, but I think they did a fairly good job of balancing things out (and I’ve definitely seen far worse pilots that have gone on to become great shows). Also, for those who hated the trailer (though I still don’t understand why) you may be relieved to know that most of those type of scenes were what you saw in the trailer. The rest of the episode has more substance to it.

I enjoyed Melissa Benoist as Kara. She may be a little dorky and awkward, but so am I. The fact that Kara is a bit of a dork, but is also a superhero made me love her even more because I can identify with her more human qualities. I also loved that while she’s beautiful, she looks like a normal girl, not an anorexic supermodel, the way so many female superheroes are depicted in comics. This is definitely someone younger girls can look up to and with whom older girls can empathize.

The supporting cast and characters were enjoyable as well. Kara’s best friend Winn seemed a little bit of cliche (the one time when I can see arguments about the series being rom-com-esque being valid) so I’m hoping to see more character development there. Calista Flockhart was terrific. She may have been one of my favorite aspects of the pilot. I also really liked Jimmy – I mean James – Olsen. I was worried they would immediately try to set up a a romance between Kara and James, but it wasn’t left that way at the end of the pilot and I appreciated that.

I was also really excited about the final scene. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but if they’ve done what I think they have, it could potentially be awesome (though I’m sure countless fanboys everywhere will immediately and vehemently disagree).

If I had one complaint about the episode it would be the extraordinary lengths they went to in dialogue not to say the word “Superman.” He is very much a presence throughout the episode, with glimpses of him in the beginning and frequent references made to Metropolis’ hero, but never once was he actually name-dropped. He was referred to as the Man of Steel, but never Superman. I don’t know if this was a decision, or if they just cannot say his name, but I would think if it was because of the films there would have been a lot more restrictions, such as the use of “Kal El” and “Man of Steel” and other direct references. But no, just Superman appears to be embargoed.

The frequent use of the emphasized “HIM” (which was literally emphasized every time, to make sure everyone knew to whom they were referring) or “my/your cousin” when it wasn’t really natural in conversation became a little distracting (to the point where I considered counting how many times it happened). The emphasis also made it feel like Kara was constantly being compared to her more famous cousin – as though she couldn’t exist independently from him. Hopefully this isn’t a trend that continues – I expect her journey will include breaking out from her cousin’s shadow.

Update: It was brought to my attention that “Superman” was used once in the beginning of the episode, so I went back and rewatched and indeed, during Kara’s monologue she states that her cousin had already revealed himself as Superman before she arrived on Earth. However, this just makes me more annoyed with how far out of their way they went to avoid using Superman throughout the rest of the episode. If they could use it once, why not again? Not that I expect them to use it all the time, but one or two more times would have made it a little less awkward. I mean, if I’m talking to a friend about their cousin I use their cousin’s name; I don’t say “your cousin” unless I have absolutely no other name by which to refer to them. And the frequent Him still makes it sound like they’re emphasizing his gender or putting him on a pedestal above Kara. While my statement that they never use Superman may be technically inaccurate, I stand by my opinion that the constant avoidance was distracting and irritating.

Overall I think this was a solid start for the series and I can’t wait for fall to see where it goes from here. It’s not perfect – there a few things to smooth out (namely that rom-com feel that so many are concerned about and for crying out loud, if you’re not going to say Superman, then at least find more natural ways around it!) but keep in mind, Greg Berlanti‘s other DC creations, The Flash and Arrow, each had their own bumps in the first season, so I’m going to remain optimistic. For those waiting until fall to see the pilot, I think it’ll be worth the wait (and I hope you agree when you see it). For those who are as impatient as I am, and enjoyed the pilot as much as I did – don’t forget to watch again in the fall. The show won’t last long without ratings to back it up.

If you have already seen it, what did you think? Let me know in the comments! (Try to avoid spoilers for those who are patiently waiting until fall!)

And for those few who haven’t even seen the trailer yet, here you go:

Building a Comic Book Universe

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avengersOne of the things you may have noticed while visiting this blog is that I love Superheroes. In just about any shape or size. I’ll watch any film or TV show about them, and though I haven’t had the opportunity to do a lot of comic book reading, I am currently working my way through quite a bit of Marvel’s back catalog via their Unlimited service (which I highly recommend if you’re interested in reading a lot of the older comics).

One of the things I love most about Marvel films is the joined Marvel Cinematic Universe. When I first started realizing it was happening, I was so excited about the originality of the idea. To take so many different franchises and combine them into one universe – it was unheard of, yet made so much sense. I loved watching the films and picking out all the Easter Egg-type references to the other characters and movies. It also amazed me how long Marvel must have been planning this in order for it to work.

The world building within the MCU is one of the reasons large team movies like The Avengers are able to work. The audience has already been introduced to most of the characters in their separate movies (except for Hawkeye and Black Widow; when is that happening Marvel?) so there isn’t a lot of time needed to explain who these people are and where they’re coming from. Under normal circumstances putting that many stars and that many characters together shouldn’t have worked so well, but it did.

This is also one of the reasons I’m so nervous about the DC Universe films. They’re attempting to build their Cinematic Universe the exact opposite way and throw as many characters as they can into Batman v Superman and see what happens; the cinematic version of throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Even Suicide Squad could benefit from having a few of those characters show up in other films before all coming together at once. That’s a lot of stories to explain in just a two-hour period. I have some definite concerns about how it’ll all balance out.

flash arrowHowever, while I have concerns about DC’s big screen universe, they’re small screen universe on the CW has been expanding and appears to be doing everything correctly. While the MCU is definitely winning at the Box Office (in my opinion) I think they could learn a thing or two from DC as far as television goes. Don’t get me wrong – I love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, but I love them in a completely different way from the way I love The Flash and ArrowS.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, while good shows, don’t necessarily feel like comic book shows at all while The Flash and Arrow are terrific examples of a comic book show done right. With the introduction of Daredevil on Netflix, I think Marvel is finally starting to learn what makes a good comic book show, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the Netflix shows fit together, and how they interact within the larger MCU.

I love The Flash and Arrow, because they understand the concept of how building the stories separately makes it that much better when the heroes do come together. One of my favorite aspects of these shows is how connected they are – and I’m looking forward to seeing the overlap with Legends of Tomorrow next year as well. So often when a show is spun off from a series you can easily forget that they’re technically still a part of the same world. I think there was one three-way crossover between CSI, CSI:NY and CSI: Miami in the entire time they were all on the air together. That’s boring. I want to see these characters talking to each other once in a while, consulting on cases, etc.

The team behind CW’s DC Universe understands this. There’s frequent reference to each other, and frequent crossover, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. I also loved the episode of The Flash when Joe and Cisco went to Starling City. That rarely happens in other crossovers. In the CSI franchise, on CSI the Miami team would come to Vegas and then on the next episode of CSI: Miami, just Grissom would go to Miami. I’ve never seen any of the Chicago shows, but I suspect they have a much better understanding of the crossover than CSI did as well. When shows are from the same world, you want to see them interacting and living in that same world, not just going through the motions.

With the introduction of Legends of Tomorrow, they will probably be going in reverse and taking already existing characters to create a new show, but that’s okay. Because those characters have already been introduced individually elsewhere, so like Avengers the show will most likely be focused on te team coming together. I suspect we’ll be seeing even more groundwork laid for the show throughout next fall, before the series premieres midseason.

I haven’t heard anything yet about crossover potential for Supergirl and the CW DC shows, but since they’re all DC and produced by Greg Berlanti you have to consider the possibility (also, CBS and CW are owned by the same company). I think it would be fun to see Barry Allen show up in Supergirl, or vice versa. I’m also extremely disappointed we’ll never see that Arrow/Constantine crossover that was supposedly being discussed by producers and writers. I think Gotham should remain it’s own entity, however. Partly because I was extremely disappointed in that show and felt it didn’t live up to it’s potential. It’s probably the weakest of the DC properties on television, in my opinion.

If DC took it’s time and built their Cinematic Universe more like they’re building the television universe, I would be a lot more excited about their upcoming slate of movies.

Where Has All the Creativity Gone?

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Full HouseLast year, shortly after NBC announced it’s intended revival of Heroes, I wrote a column about shows I thought were much more deserving of a revival than one which peaked in its first season. One of the shows on that list, Twin Peaks, is now scheduled for its own revival as well. This is something I can get behind. However, it seems like within the past year all networks have been doing is announcing revivals or remakes in one form or another.

It’s not that remakes have been unheard of until now. The Hawaii Five-O remake has been doing fairly well for years. Other attempts – Knight Rider, Bionic Woman, Charlie’s Angels – haven’t been so lucky. I suspect H5O‘s success had more to do with it’s cast than nostalgia.

It seems like remake plans are everywhere these days. CBS just launched an Odd Couple remake starring Matthew Perry, and plans are in the works for revivals of Coach, Full House, and The X-Files, not to mention that Heroes reboot. MTV just announced last week they plan to revive their claymation program, Celebrity Deathmatch.There are also reports indicating a TV version of Galaxy Quest is in the works, which just seems like blasphemy.

I’m not saying every remake or reboot is a terrible idea. I’m actually looking forward to Shadowhunters, mostly because I think television will be a much better medium for telling that story than a two-hour film. Twin Peaks and The X-Files also aren’t necessarily bad things – and there are a lot of other shows that I’d like to see get limited revival series, either to catch up with where those characters are, or just to offer closure we may not have gotten previously.

What I am saying is, why does it feel like every single series lately is a remake, reboot, revival or reinterpretation? How many different versions of The Wizard of Oz are currently in the works? And at one time, three different networks had plans for a Beauty and the Beast inspired series, though only the CW has actually produced theirs. Has Hollywood really run out of original ideas?

I don’t have a real answer, but the obvious one seems to be ‘yes,’ and this issue doesn’t just affect television. Take a look at films being released this year (or the ones currently in development). You will find a number of familiar titles: Star Wars, Jurassic World, Mad Max, Terminator, The Crow, and the list goes on. These aren’t just one-off films that someone has decided it’s time to remake – these are large movie franchises being completely rebooted or extended.

Star WarsNow don’t get me wrong, I completely geeked out over the new Star Wars trailer last week, and am as excited as any other lifelong fan. I’m not quite as excited about Jurassic World, but seeing as Chris Pratt has been added to my list of favorite action heroes, I’ll be going to see that too. But the question is, where is this generation’s Star Wars? When was the last time there was a truly original mega franchise like Star Wars? Why are we building onto the ones already in existence and not coming up with something new? I’m not talking about a film series based on YA novels, but something completely new and original.

You could perhaps make an argument for the Marvel Cinematic Universe attempting to be this generation’s Star Wars – and in some ways you’d probably be correct – but those films are still not entirely original, as they are based on the comics. That’s not to say that a television show or movie based on source material isn’t as good as something original. I am a HUGE fan of the MCU and everything associated with it, plus a lot of what I consider the best shows on television right now were adapted from some sort of source material – Game of Thrones, Daredevil, Arrow, even Justified was based on a novella by Elmore Leonard.

One could possibly argue someday Avatar and its sequels could fill this void, but it’s taking so long just to get one more movie made, let alone three more. And let’s be honest, how original is Avatar really? Sure the effects were great, but we’ve all seen Pocahontas and Fern Gully.

Which then brings up another debate: How original is anything anymore? Even the stories that may seem the most original to us are built using elements of storytelling dating back centuries – the Hero’s Journey for example, which can even be found in Star Wars. There are no truly 100% original stories anymore, as everything is inspired by something, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be as unique as possible.

So where is all the creativity in Hollywood? Why are they just remaking films from our childhoods? At this year’s Oscars the two front-runners for Best Picture – Boyhood and Birdmanwhich ultimately took home the prize – were both original screenplays, showing creativity and originality can be rewarded. However, neither one of those were box office hits like Star Wars is expected to be. Are they falling back on the tried and true popular films because they were so popular the first time around that it’s less of a risk? Fans all over the world will tell you how bad they thought the Star Wars prequel trilogy was, and yet there were still people waiting in line for every film.

I don’t have an answer, and probably never will, all I know is that I cringe a little more every time one of these remakes is announced, and a little piece of my childhood dies every time there’s a bad remake of something I once loved dearly.

Netflix Binge: Daredevil “This is the part where law meets reality.”

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Daredevil castI love superheroes. When I was younger I was a big fan of the X-Men. While I wasn’t able to subscribe to many comics myself, I had a friend who had subscriptions to nearly everything and he was kind enough to keep me up-to-date on what was going on in the Marvel Universe. Gambit and Rogue were always my favorites. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read through each of their solo titles from the early `90s.

While most of the popular superheroes tend to be the mutants, or the aliens, or the ones with some sort of special powers and abilities, what I love most about Daredevil is how human he is. It’s that humanity – and the strengths and weaknesses associated with it – that this series focuses in on, and it’s what makes it so compelling.

I love the opening scene of the season finale. No words, no action, just mourning. This was an appropriate tribute to not only the character of Ben Urich, but Vondie Curtis-Hall’s performance as well.

Daredevil14Our heroes all seem to be in a dark place at the start of the finale. Karen and Matt are each blaming themselves for Ben’s death – Karen for dragging him into the story, and Matt for not stopping Fisk before he had the chance to hurt someone else. Karen is also terrified Fisk will learn that Ben wasn’t alone when he visited Fisk’s mother. Foggy is conspicuously absent from the funeral, though he later finds Matt venting his anger on a punching bag at the gym.

In this scene we see Foggy and Matt finally finally come face to face and agree to try to work past their differences. It’s good to see them working together again, especially now that Foggy knows the truth. Foggy, however is a terrible liar. He and Matt are really going to have to work on keeping their stories straight if they plan to keep the secret from Karen for much longer.

Matt, Foggy, and Karen work together to track down where Owsley was keeping Detective Hoffman hidden, as insurance from Fisk. Matt pays Hoffman a visit, saving him from Fisk’s men, but forcing him to turn himself in and tell the police – the good cops – everything. This leads to a massive amount of indictments and the FBI finally coming to arrest Fisk.

Of course, nothing is that simple, and Fisk’s men mount a large – and very public – escape. Fisk’s speech about the Good Samaritan parable just before he is rescued may be one of my favorite Fisk scenes in the series. Vincent D’Onofrio delivered that perfectly. I also loved the shot of him walking away from the armored car – he is triumphant and has so much confidence; he doesn’t hurry, or look over his shoulder to see if anyone else was coming for him. At this time, he believes he still reigns over the city.

Daredevil - red suitAnd here is where we get what all Daredevil fans have waited 13 episodes for – Matt Murdock puts on the red suit. The moment was definitely worth waiting for. Throughout this entire season you can see how he struggles with his mission, and how his fighting style and technique evolves. Matt doesn’t become Daredevil overnight, and by this point in the series if feels like he has truly earned the right to wear the suit. He fought his way from the ground up, and now he is Daredevil.

In his new suit, Daredevil tracks down Fisk one last time, but he does not cross that line he’s been wavering on all season. Fisk lives, and Daredevil turns him back over to the police.

This episode had a little less action than I was anticipating, but I think it was well-planned and executed, and it was a great ending to a brilliant first season. The final confrontation between Daredevil and Fisk was very well done and yet it didn’t feel final – especially when Fisk sat down in front of his cell wall. The ending left plenty open for a second season, and I really hope we get one sooner rather than later.

Other random thoughts:

I love Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I think Daredevil has proven how well the Netflix model works for shows like this. While S.H.I.E.L.D. floundered a little in it’s first season, and didn’t really find it’s footing until Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, Daredevil feels focused in a way S.H.I.E.L.D. did not. Every little detail of this show has been plotted out – even little comments that Foggy might make, which have no bearing on the overall arc, will pop up later in the series. For example, how much he loved the free bagels at their internship, or the story of his mom wanting him to be a butcher, or the avocadoes. There are very few throw away plot points in this series. Charlie Cox described it as a 13-hour movie during the panel at NYCC and he was absolutely correct. All the detail and careful plotting really does make it feel like one big long film.

Speaking of very few throw away plot points – what’s the deal with that last scene with Stick in episode 7? I’m sure if I were more familiar with the comics I would already know, but in the series we never found out who he was speaking to, or what they were talking about. Since every little detail has been carefully planned, I can only think that this is a setup for either a second series, or for The Defenders or one of the other Marvel series coming to Netflix. (Edit: I’ve done some research and apparently this, as well as Gao’s further than China comment, are all allusions to Iron Fist. Since I know nothing about Iron Fist, it’s no surprise I missed that.)

I have watched every episode of this series twice, and it wasn’t until yesterday I realized I missed an Elektra reference in episode 10 both times. As I was reading The Man Without Fear for the first time I was wondering whether or not they would ever introduce Elektra in the series, if it gets more seasons, and would they make her a college acquaintance of Matt and Foggy? That’s when it hit me – that is exactly what they did. In one of the flashbacks in episode 10 Foggy accuses Matt of only taking Spanish because of that “Greek girl.” That is one reference I should have caught, even with my limited Daredevil knowledge, but it went completely over my head. It also took two viewings to finally catch Stan Lee’s “cameo.” I was disappointed when I didn’t see him on the first viewing. I’m still a little disappointed he wasn’t actually in the show, but since his cameos are usually humorous it probably would have felt a little out of place. What other Easter Eggs were planted in the series that I missed?

As I mentioned above, I have now watched every episode  twice (my excuse is that it was necessary in order to write these reviews) and it was just as good, if not better, the second time around. I have always been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with Daredevil they have really stepped up and created a near-perfect superhero show. The bar has definitely been set high for the other series they have planned with Netflix and I’m looking forward to seeing how those turn out, but at this point I’m mostly just hoping there’s more Daredevil in the future.