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We knew that Marvel had been shopping around a mega-sized TV package to prospective networks but until today the details weren't known. Well, the deal has been struck and it'll be on Netflix where we'll see the next wave of Marvel TV shows. And based on the news that the House of Ideas issued today about their deal, the plan is to build a Television Marvel Universe to serve as a companion to the Cinematic Marvel Universe we've already got.
The four superheroes making their way to television on demand will be Daredevil, Jessica Jones (a.k.a. the original Spider-Woman, now a freelance sleuth for hire), Luke Cage (baby father to Ms. Jones) and Iron Fist. Netflix has agreed to finance and broadcast 13 episodes of each series, with events in all four leading up to a mini-series crossover also to be broadcast on Netflix, The Defenders. In essense, we're getting the street level Marvel superhero universe as well as the equivalent Avengers-like union.
No creative teams have been announced for the shows but Disney/Marvel and Netflix want to broadcast the first series in 2015. Likely these new Marvel shows will follow the modus operandi of Netflix today where the "channel" releases all episodes of the show/season at once. House of Cards, the new Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black have followed this example and have been well received by viewers.
Here comes the press release quote boilerplate:
"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. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel’s specialty," said Alan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment. "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 movies, such as Iron Man and Marvel’s The Avengers, are huge favorites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels," said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. "With House of Cards and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we're thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude."
Now comes my speculation and auguring: Marvel will need to annoit its own TV version of Joss Whedon. The Avengers director is now shepherding all aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as well as ABC's Agents of Shield, to marginal results). Figuring out how Daredevil's world interacts with Jessica Jones', and Luke Cage and Iron Fist, will be as important as figuring out which villains they have to face. All four Marvel heroes may work and live in the New York urban center but their worlds are subtly different from each other. For example, Daredevil knows and gets along with the other three characters, but Cage and Fist are supposed to be heroes for hire, and Jones is more of a private investigator these days.
Bringing out the magic is key to making lighting strike twice for Marvel and their new partner. Imagine if they can pull things off and we get four Marvel TV shows that are unconstrained by the policies of network television -- and their stories are written in a sophisticated, rich manner. These four shows could revolutionize what Marvel entertainment can be the same way the first Blade movie shook up the status quo.
What do you think? Can Marvel and Netflix make it happen?