Netflix is hoping to replicate the success of the Marvel cinematic universe on the small screen. Today the company announced that it has partnered with Marvel Entertainment to create four new live-action series based on four different Marvel heroes.
Marvel is digging deep into its superhero roster for the shows, which will feature Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. The serialized shows will run over multiple years (probably in that order), beginning in 2015.
All four shows will have the same setting — the gritty underworld of Hell’s Kitchen, New York, populated by both heroes and villains. These characters are “street-level” heroes, known more for fighting everyday crime than tackling super-powered villains or invading alien forces. The four shows will culminate with an Avengers-esque miniseries event, titled The Defenders — which “reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.”
Of the characters, Daredevil is the highest profile — having been featured in his own (mediocre) movie back in 2003. Ben Affleck starred as Matt Murdock, the blind attorney who uses his other enhanced senses to fight crime. The film grossed an estimated $179 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
Jones is a former superhero turned private detective, and is married to Luke Cage — who has an impervious skin. Cage has often been paired with Iron Fist, who (as advertised) has the power of an “iron fist.”Each show will get 13 episodes, with the possibility for more down the road. With the miniseries, that’s an upfront commitment of some 60 episodes of programming in what Marvel and Netflix are calling an “unprecedented deal.”
“This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling,” Marvel Entertainment President Alan Fine said. “Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel’s specialty. This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what’s sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure.”
Marvel’s TV presence in the current era has been mostly limited to ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which started very strong in the ratings but has seen its live viewership cut in half since September. (DC Comics, meanwhile, has Arrow on the air and four more network shows in development.) But Netflix’s business model fits in very well with the DVR and online viewing that is popular with the younger, male-skewing demographic.
The company is likely to follow its current pattern for original scripted series, releasing an entire season at once and letting customers watch at their own pace.
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