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What do we call these Marvel mini-series events that have been announced?
They're not movies, of course, but they're not conventional TV projects, either. They're small and self-contained and also part of a larger plan that builds to a brand-new group for Marvel, the Defenders. Netflix is planning to release them, and I assume that means we'll get each of the programs in a batch so we can binge-watch if we want. It should make for a very different type of conversation than we're having week to week about "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." I'm sure they want these to land in a very different way, and a big part of that is going to be what sort of talent they attach to each of the shows.
Sign #1 that they're doing it right: Drew Goddard will be writing "Daredevil," set to run for thirteen episodes. They're looking to do series of the same length starring Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones, and then they'll do a cross-over event with all four of them together. It sounds like all of the shows will be set in the same corner of the Marvel Universe, New York's Hell's Kitchen, and I like the idea of painting in some of the grittier details of what's happening in this world using these characters.
Goddard is an exciting choice for so many reasons. He's a damn fine writer, and he has proven time and again that he understands how to use TV and the specific type of serialized storytelling that it represents to maximum effect. More than that, though, he's a rabid "Daredevil" fan, and I suspect that combination of his innate talent and his passion for this character are going to give him at least a shot at getting it right.
I didn't write about the Netflix/Marvel deal when it happened because our own Greg Ellwood and Dan Fienberg covered it so well, but the characters they've chosen here seem very carefully calibrated to work on a smaller scale in a way that should pay off well. Daredevil on the bigscreen almost seems like a losing battle. If you tell a good focused small-scale Daredevil story, it isn't big enough for a movie, and if you pump the story up too much, it loses much of what makes Daredevil so interesting in the first place.
I consider this very good news, and a hell of a start for this particular next step in them bringing their characters to life the right way. The shows won't start airing until 2015, and there's no word yet which order things will air.