Netflix’s newest Marvel adaptation isn’t exactly new — it combines four existing Netflix/Marvel shows (Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Luke Cage) to form a team so dysfunctional and chaotic that only the great New York City could accommodate them. Of course, this series comes in the wake of a pretty disastrous premiere season of Iron Fist and a lackluster second season of Daredevil, meaning Marvel TV fans have been left with a sour taste in their mouths. On one hand, this makes pushing The Defenders a lot tougher for Netflix because they’ve struggled recently with carrying an interesting story through an entire season, but on the other hand this is exactly why The Defenders is a good idea.
What The Defenders has going for it is the simple fact that if we get bored in one story at any given time, we have three others to chose from. And by “we” I mean, of course, the production team. By combining these characters who are all so unique, independent, and strong-willed, it creates a series that can nearly stand on character moments alone. The interactions between these characters will be the most interesting part of this show, and there’s a lot of room for the writers to work there because the characters are so different. Plus, the action scenes that combine these four different fighting types will be really fun to watch.
But some banter between superheroes won’t be enough to make an excellent show. They will have to actually encounter some sort of villain or problem, and this villain will have to be dynamic enough to affect all the characters equally, yet individually. This is no easy task, but as fans know, the hero is only as good as the villain; In this case there are four heroes, so the challenge becomes how to create a menacing villain.
Another concern is that the four characters won’t balance out as far as fan interest or involvement in the plot. I see the main issue in this matter being Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist. The stand alone series was destroyed by critics and hated by fans, and the biggest problem seemed to be the character himself. I’m not sure how The Defenders will be able to solve this inherent flaw in one of their core characters, but if I had to guess I would say they will just push him to the background as much as possible.
Coming up with more individual seasons for these respective shows was going to be a huge challenge for Netflix — not to mention a huge financial overhaul. The stories already work well together as it is, so it makes a lot of sense to combine them. However, the shows are so different stylistically that stitching them together may seem like a last ditch effort salvage some online traction for Marvel TV adaptions.
Overall, I predict that The Defenders will be… good. And truly just that. I don’t think the show will be anything spectacular, and by design it won’t be something we haven’t seen before. BUT, these are all (well, mostly) very interesting characters that have a story to tell in their dynamics alone, so I think the series will be worth a watch. I definetely won’t be surprised if trying to combine these shows turns out to be much better in theory than in practice, but I’m willing to give The Defenders the benefit of the doubt.
The Defenders is available August 18th on Netflix.
Tell Us: Will you be watching The Defenders? Which has been your favorite Netflix/Marvel adaptation?