Netflix’s Daredevil and Writing

I was recently in an exchange about the upcoming television show Supergirl which premieres on CBS in November. Six minutes of annoying substanceless cinema in the trailer which convinced me to stay quite far away from that show. But seeing it reminded me of another series that I had yet to do a post on.

There has been a plethora of superhero-type shows hitting television and the big screen lately. A few weeks back, Netflix debuted its version of the urban crime-fighter Daredevil, forever putting to death that awful debacle that starred Ben Affleck in 2003.

What was special about this show is that all thirteen episodes were released at once. Netflix was upfront in their desire to have people binge on the show. Though I binged in moderation (saw every episode in three days), the show had me hooked from episode one.

The writing for this show was very good for the most part. They did their research and you can tell. They stayed pretty true to the source material making him more in line with Frank Miller’s 1980s Daredevil, updating it for 2015.

Upfront, the weakness of the writing is the profanity. I’ve mentioned before that I hate it. I believe it’s lazy writing and it devolves literature with base words. I think it does the same thing to film as well. It degrades the art form. I’m not sure I’ll assault myself with season two if it’s full of that again.

That being said, that is the worse part of it because they really nailed the drama and grittiness of an urban street-fighter. Foggy Nelson was the comedy relief but was serious when it called for it. The tone is dark and human and the characterization is done superbly. So well in fact that you begin to empathize with the antagonist, Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin). Now, whether this was a part of the writing or whether it was Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal (love him as an actor) or both—which I believe is the case—it still showcases the general mood that the writing inspired in the very least. That can only happen if the character was written well from the beginning.

There are so many moments that are impressive. One of them is when Matt is sitting down with a Catholic bishop and asks him whether he believes in the devil as a person. It is one of those conversational exchanges that hooks you. This is not mindless banter (Supergirl comes to mind). This is deep stuff and particularly relevant to the plot. The answer is good and happens to be theologically accurate as well.

I’ve seen a fair share of superhero television series (Arrow, Smallville, Gotham, and some older ones as well). This is the creme de le creme when it comes to the most recent ones. Nothing on the CW can touch this (Arrow is the closest thing). They could take out the profane language and it was be near perfect. High thumbs up for this.

Have you seen Daredevil? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Netflix’s Daredevil and Writing

  1. This is a great breakdown. I’m on episode 6 right now and I’m in agreement. I don’t find profanity annoying because I like when writers use dialog in a way that people actually talk. Of course, you don’t want to go too crazy with it, but I don’t it should have been avoided in a show like this. It would have come of as somewhat unrealistic.
    But I do understand you preference for no profanity.
    Excellent review!

    1. Thank you sir. Welcome to the party in my small corner of the vast reaches of cyberspace.

      I’ve written a couple times about profanity. Can’t stand it. Don’t hang around folks who use it.

      That being said, the show is just rock solid. The writing is top notch. Surprise moments, climaxes, drama, comic relief, all in the right mixture, not taking away from the seriousness of the story. I will watch the next season which has already been given a thumbs up. But I’m also looking forward to Luke Cage and Iron Fist when their series comes out. Fun times for a superhero writer and fan.

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