The Other Team
It is hard to imagine a person in North America who isn’t familiar with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe or at the least aware of the films and their connective world. What many viewers may not realize is that Marvel also has a small screen universe that’s been building similarly as the movies did with The Avengers. Just because they’re both under the Marvel blanket though, don’t expect to see the movies and TV characters crossing over anytime soon. The Defenders stars Marvel TV Alums Mike Coulter, Kristen Ritter, Charlie Cox and Finn Jones with Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Avatar) playing the newest villain as part of a criminal organization. The show seems to constantly be trying to keep up with all the different character’s and stories, it forgets how to fundamentally tell a story of unlikely heroes coming together. Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is the prime example of how to do so and usually its not too hard to apply this narrative and derive what you need in order of telling a good story, many ensemble action/adventure films have done so from Star Wars, Ocean’s Eleven and The Avenger’s just to name a few. It would be an understatement to say that in doing so they would be in good company.
Netflix and Marvel’s newest outing The Defenders, a show that teams up Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Iron Fist- falls short of upping the ante from previous seasons as The Avengers had done in contrast to its cinematic predecessors. The Defenders is produced by Marco Ramirez, Douglas Petrie and Jeph Loeb. The three showrunners are no stranger to supernatural TV, Loeb serving as a key producer of Smallville and Petrie working as a producer on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. With all this experience and time to build up to the larger story, why was the end result anything short of the best season yet? Is it simply too difficult to manage 4 leads in a 8 episodes? The editing and general narrative seems flimsy while the technical and visual aspects are also not on par with what we’ve seen in prior seasons.
Each member of The Defenders had their own solo season with Daredevil having two seasons released prior to the team up. Each of the characters solo outings were met with favorable reviews by critics until Iron Fist season 1 was released April 2017, which was helmed by Scott Buck (Dexter, The Inhumans). The Marvel Netflix shows have always had the challenge of feeling over-produced and some of the acting coming off as stale; I suppose it is forgivable more so in Daredevil and Luke Cage than Iron Fist or even Jessica Jones because a few performances stand out and some of the choreography is astounding. What I’m trying to convey is that The Defenders is more of the same if not lesser than the previous Marvel TV shows.
If you’re looking for something to binge and not think about too much, this show could be perfect, although even the slightest slip in your viewing of previous Marvel shows and you could have no idea who or what is going on. If anything, this show begins to help me appreciate Marvel’s cinematic ventures more and more. Perhaps the final 4 episodes will prove to be more entertaining or generally good television but the first 4 episodes have not inspired much confidence in this writer.
Title: The Defenders (2017)
No. of episodes: 8
Created by: Douglas Petrie, Marco Ramirez, Jeph Loeb
Based on: “The Defenders” by Roy Thomas and Ross Andru
Starring: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Élodie Yung.