The premise is fairly simple. Matthew Murdock is a blind lawyer by day, and superhero by night. Set in New York neighbourhood Hell’s Kitchen, he and his friends become increasingly tied up with the city’s underbelly.
First off, the show looks absolutely fantastic. The cinematography is amazing, and I feel like I could just take some stills from the series and put them on my wall. Comparable to other Netflix-produced show Hemlock Grove, the backdrop is gloomy and often filmed with a greenish filter.
What I appreciate most about the series is how the narration is handled. Marvel movies tend to be rather cliched (sorry) and a bit tame. They tend to follow a safe pattern, and make every point in the story as accessible and clear as possible. In this TV series, the viewer isn’t coddled. We’re given hints, bits and pieces, but it’s up to us to piece it all together.
One instance made me marvel (ha) at the attention of detail that went into this series. A nurse helps Matthew, and because of safety reasons goes into hiding. An episode later, two completely unrelated characters have a chat. I’m so busy, the woman says, because we have a measles outbreak and our best nurse has been on leave for days. It was said in such an off-hand manner, only the attentive viewer will notice it. I love it when engagement with the series is rewarded in such a way.
I have to admit that I love the character of Foggy, the charming partner-in-business of Matt. What could have just been a foil, is given extra depth by having some incredibly sweet interactions with Karen, the assistant. I’m also quite happy with how female characters are handled in the series. Especially Karen has an identity that is not determined by her male acquaintances, and her side of the plot is growing more interesting every episode.
The only aspect of the show I’m not sure about is the violence shock factor. On one hand I appreciate how the violence isn’t glossed over. Although it’s quite low on blood, the repercussions for the characters are taken seriously. Matt is out of breath after fighting, and the wounds are dealt with consistently. On the other hand, I feel like some of the violence only serves the purpose of shocking the audience. This is a rather cheap tactic to let people talk about your show, and I hope Daredevil won’t fall into this trap.
All in all, a fantastic start to a promising new series. Will definitely continue watching it.