tl;dr version: More like Dare-MEH-vil, amirite???
My wife and I finished the last two episodes of the first season of Daredevil Friday night. It took, oh, two and a half, maybe three weeks from watching the first episode to get to the finale– which for us implies a fair amount of dedication, as no adult TV happens when the boy is awake and after that literally every single other thing we might wish to do with our lives competes with watching fictional white dudes punch each other on TV. So I can’t claim I roundly disliked the show or anything like that; I didn’t. But on the whole, having watched the whole season, I’m not super excited about watching more of this.
Let’s start with good stuff:
- Casting, at least to a certain point. I don’t remember dude’s name and I’m in no mood to look things up, but I liked the dude they’ve got playing Daredevil, and the casting for Foggy Nelson and Karen worked for me too. Racebending Ben Urich was a good call, and Vincent D’Onofrio certainly looked the part of the Kingpin, but more on him later. I loved Rosario Dawson but we didn’t see enough of her. Madame Gao was also fantastic. In general the acting was effective.
- Mood/Direction: Excellent, especially early on. Daredevil was a hard show to watch at times, and I mean that as a compliment; when the show wanted to fuck with your head, your head was gonna get fucked with, and the grit and grime of Hell’s Kitchen left me wanting a shower after a few of the episodes.
- Fight scenes. At least early on; the hallway fight in the second or third episode was outstanding and the fight with Nobu later on was a standout as well. That said, all the flippy stuff got annoying after a bit and sometimes the fight scenes got a bit repetitive.
- Stick. I loved Stick.
- Matt and Foggy’s relationship. The highlight of the series to me, in a lot of ways.
All that said, I have some issues:
- Kingpin. There’s lots of folks praising Vincent D’Onofrio’s take on the Kingpin to the high heavens; they didn’t watch the same show I watched. Hell’s Kitchen didn’t need Daredevil. It needed Zoloft. Supervillains shouldn’t be in need of antidepressants, and I expected this dude to end every single conversation with a sigh and the words “I’m sad.” There was also enough portentous speechifying to fill a Lord of the Rings film. I kept expecting to find out that Wilson’s middle name was actually Lenny, too.
- Vanessa. Related to the Kingpin issues; Vanessa did not help. Their relationship made no Goddamn sense at all and just served to remind me repeatedly that this Wilson Fisk is a twelve-year-old in an oversized body, which could work with certain villains, but not with the Kingpin. And this show had Madame Gao in it! They didn’t even need to put Kingpin on screen in the first season. Make Gao the villain, keep Kingpin offscreen, and use Wesley, who was way more interesting, instead.
- Karen. For the last two or three episodes, I kept yelling “You’ve known them for two weeks!” at the screen. No one could hear me. I know Karen’s a character from the comics and all and so she has to be there, but she’s totally passive-aggressively worming her way into both of the guys’ backstories by the end of the series, acting like they’ve all been friends for years and that their friendship as a group is The Most Important Thing Evar. No. You’ve known them for a month. You don’t get to pretend that you’re part of a we yet. Go ‘way. Also, I swear her hair was a different color in every scene, and for most of an episode it was green. Not actually a problem, but super distracting once I noticed it.
I dunno. If you’re interested in checking the show out and you haven’t yet, go ahead; it won’t kill you. But that’s about as excited as I can get about this show right now.