Is the “Geek” era of television too good to last?
Between returning shows like The Flash, Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil, as well as new ones like Jessica Jones and Supergirl, it’s going to be hard to watch TV without watching a superhero show soon. It’s a great time to be a comic book nerd, because the knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years can finally be put to good use, explaining ideas like Speed Force or how Daredevil is related to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For fans in India, the good news is that the shows are picked up by the channels here with minimal delay, which means you can stay up to date with the latest episodes without a problem.
But while it’s starting to look like superheroes are here to stay now, the genre hasn’t been without its problems. For example, just about everyone would agree that Gotham – essentially the Batman prequel – is one of the most boring shows around. Agents of SHIELD has been a hit and a miss for two consecutive seasons now – it sets up one of the biggest storylines in the MCU now, but the story has been sidelined more than once to keep it from happening. stepping on the toes of its big cousins, the movies.
(Also see: Today’s Seven Superhero TV Shows Ranked From Worst To Best)
Small references to Ultron and Thor take away the promise of this show – that it would bridge the gaps between the movies and show us how the MCU worked. Instead, we get a “villain of the week” show whose narrative format seems at least a decade out of date. The series gets better every now and then, but it still struggles despite having some of the more interesting characters.
Arrow and Flash were more successful – the former had a rocky first season but pulled itself together pretty well, and the latter got off to a good start. But these two shows also risk sometimes turning into soap operas – frankly uninteresting. The Flash’s weakest moments have been when the show gets stuck on the relationship between Barry Allen (Flash) and Iris West.
But perhaps the most interesting example right now is Daredevil, which was the vanguard of new shows from Marvel and Netflix. This is all going to tie together, and it’s confirmed that Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson, will also appear in the upcoming Jessica Jones and Luke Cage series.
Daredevil hasn’t aired on any Indian channels yet, but if you know how to set up a VPN, you can sign up for Netflix and watch. Most people will also agree that this is probably the most gripping superhero show around, with excellent acting and a plot that doesn’t stop for a minute.
It’s also probably the most disturbing sight to watch, and the relentless violence can be hard to digest. There is a scene early in the first season when Kingpin brutally beats up a Russian gangster with his bare hands. Kingpin then traps the mobster in a car door and continues to slam it until the skull shatters and pieces of brain fly all over the screen. The show continues to beg the question of whether Daredevil hurts people because he has to or because he likes it. The same question could honestly be asked of the directors and writers of Daredevil.
In short, the “golden age” of geek television is made up of a list of flawed shows that all have the potential to go off the rails at any moment and completely lose audiences. And if newer shows like Supergirl don’t do well, then all the momentum that was built with a few good shows will quickly die out as well.
And chances are that is exactly what will happen. The Batman and Green Hornet TV shows were a lot of fun during their runtime, and also included crossovers. The Incredible Hulk was a phenomenon, just like Wonder Woman. While these shows had a huge cultural impact, few lasted longer than two years, and it took decades for superheroes to return to the same scale.
Right now, between movies and TV shows, there’s a lot of interest in the genre again. But that doesn’t mean they’re here to stay, and a few missteps will be enough to see them disappear.
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