On Friday, Netflix debuted all 13 episodes of Marvel’s Daredevil. It is a sad reflection of what an absolute couch potato I am, that I have to confess that as of about 9:30 pm on Saturday evening I had finished watching the whole series. I did manage to play golf, go for a wonderful bike ride along the Gordon River Greenway, spend some time in our pool and hot tub and pack for our return home tomorrow. So for those of you who are wondering how someone can manage to watch all that TV and still function, I must honestly reply, I don’t know how I do it!
As for whether Daredevil was worth the time investment, I would say absolutely yes. The series stars Charlie Cox (a British actor previously known best in North America for his role in Boardwalk Empire as Owen Slater, henchman to Nucky Thompson) as Matt Murdock. Blinded in a chemical accident since the age of nine, Murdock has become a lawyer and opened a practice with his friend Foggy Nelson. Together, they decide to take on cases of innocent people who need their help. They recruit a client as their secretary and begin the process of mounting a case against a huge conglomerate run by a shadowy figure. The real pleasure of this show is the time it takes to paint a portrait of all its characters. Along the way, Murdock becomes a masked vigilante by night, confronting villains only with his fists and amazing ability with martial arts. Charlie Cox is mesmerizing in the role, his partner played by Elden Henson (best known for Hunger Games Mockingjay) is immensely likeable and their assistant Karen Page (played by Deborah Ann Woll from True Blood) is wonderfully appealing. The cast of characters includes Rosario Dawson, as Claire Temple, a nurse who tends to Matt’s many injuries after his battles; Vincent D’Onofrio as the villainous Kingpin/Wilson Fisk; Toby Leonard Moore as Wesley, Fisk’s loyal henchman; Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich a crusading reporter. Each actor is perfectly cast and despite the limitations of the genre, they all manage to be convincing in their roles.
What makes this series so different from the many others in this superhero genre is its darkness and the incredible vulnerability of its lead character. In its many beautifully choreographed martial arts battles, Murdock takes tremendous beatings and is grievously injured again and again. These scenes are far from cartoonish and the audience must suspend disbelief that Murdock’s flying fists and acrobatic fighting skills can triumph over bullets and other lethal weaponry. We really root for the good guys in this series. Even the bad guys are painted in more than one dimension as we see how Fisk became the monster he is revealed to be, and we see his gang of confederates as fully realized human beings.
There is a real thread of humanity that runs through this series so that it is far more than a mythic superhero story. Murdock is relatable in his vulnerability and Cox’s subtle portrayal of his development as a hero keeps us watching and cheering for him to survive and conquer.
This type of show may not be your cup of tea (I admit to a fondness for Arrow, Gotham, The Flash, etc.), but I urge you to give it a try if you have Netflix. I loved it!!
While I am in recovery from this recent bout of TV addiction, I have set my PVR for my Sunday selections: CBS Sunday Morning, Fareed Zakaria, Game of Thrones (which makes its season debut tonight along with Silicon Valley and Veep on HBO), Call the Midwife, The Good Wife, Wolf Hall (which I think I snoozed through last week), and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (I am still reeling from his interview in Moscow with Edward Snowden last week).
I won’t be watching much TV this week as our next few days will entail 12 hours a day of driving, and a couple of days of sightseeing in Charleston, SC as we make our way back to Toronto. It’s been a wonderful winter here in Florida, but it’s high time we hightailed it back to the north and reconnected with our family and friends whom we have really missed. See you soon!!