Following Thor, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers, Marvel superhero Daredevil is leading the way for four new live-action shows based on Marvel characters -- and they're only on Netflix.
Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage will each star in their own full 13-episode series beginning in 2015, leading to a mini-series where they band together to batter and bludgeon bad guys as super-team The Defenders. The new shows will be available to Netflix subscribers in the UK and around the world.
Blind lawyer-turned-man without fear Daredevil has appeared in live action before, played by Ben Affleck in a disappointing 2003 movie. He's joined by near-indestructible hero for hire Luke Cage and supernatural martial-artist Iron Fist, both created in the early 1970s, and superhero-turned-private eye Jessica Jones, who was invented in 2001 and retconned into the Marvel comic universe.
Like their big-screen counterparts the Avengers, the heroes operate in a shared universe and will combine to form a superhero team at the culmination of their series. But the Defenders are a more street-level team than Black Widow and the Hulk et al, instead tackling hoods and hooligans on the gritty alleyways and rooftops of Hell's Kitchen, New York.
The marriage of Marvel and Netflix makes sense: after decades of botched adaptations, Marvel set itself up as a studio to finance its own movies and TV shows, while Netflix has begun financing shows outside of the world of broadcast television.
The Marvel deal represents Netflix's most ambitious exclusive project to date after dipping its toes in the water with Arrested Development, Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black and the Emmy Award-winning House of Cards. But Netflix doesn't do this stuff on a hunch: unlike regular telly channels, which only have a hazy idea of ratings, Netflix has precise data on who's watching what -- and who's going to watch the new stuff.
Marvel, owned by Disney, is quite the multimedia juggernaut these days. TV show Agents of SHIELD crosses over with Thor: The Dark World, in cinemas now, with Captain America sequel The Winter Soldier and X-Men prequel/sequel Days of Future Past on their way to a theatre near you.
All Disney films released from 2016 will be first shown on Netflix when they leave theatres.
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