Marvel, Netflix join forces - but will anyone watch?

20:31, Nov 14 2013

If you've been following the geek media elite* at any point in the past week, you'll probably be aware that Marvel Studios have teamed up with Netflix on an unprecedented production deal: Marvel Studios will create four different live-action television series, and a mini-series that brings together the main characters from each, for the online streaming giant. The first of the shows will debut in 2015. Each series will apparently have thirteen episodes.

As for the characters, the shows will focus on a character which hasn't yet been seen anywhere else in the Marvel cinematic universe - Daredevil (a blind superhero whose other senses are heightened by exposure to radioactive materials), Jessica Jones (a private investigator with superstrength and flying abilities, who has ties to Peter Parker/Spiderman and The Avengers), Luke Cage (a former juvenile delinquent with superstrength and unbreakable skin) and Iron Fist (a kung fu master who can concentrate his "chi" in his fist, and who has ties to Luke Cage) - while the mini-series while bring the four together under the banner of The Defenders.

Reports this week have Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, The Cabin In The Woods, Lost) taking charge of writing Daredevil, while Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter, Twilight) will scribe Jessica Jones. It's likely one of those shows will be first out of the gate; I'm no expert, but it seems like Jones and Daredevil are two of the most popular unused characters.

I was excited as all this was unfolding over the last week; the sheer scale of the deal between Marvel and Netflix was something to admire, even if I was unfamiliar with their chosen characters.

But then another thought started to take over. A dark, sad thought. A thought that I wanted to file away as utterly ridiculous so that I could go on refreshing websites and salivating over every little tidbit of information I could find out. But like a certain stand-up comic I love so well, it turned into an "of course ... but maybe" (link NSFW) moment:

Of course ... of course the Marvel-Netflix deal is exciting and unprecedented, Netflix's production methods are leading the industry right now, and Netflix's track record (House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, most of Arrested Development S4) has been fantastic so why would these four shows be any different.


But maybe ... maybe we're all going to be sick to death of superheroes by the time the first show even gets to us. Maybe the current fascination with superheroes will have come to an end by the time we get through even the first season.

Seriously, just think about it. We've already got Arrow and Agents Of SHIELD, and an upcoming series about The Flash - made by the guys who made Arrow - is debuting in 2014 as well, with a backdoor pilot airing during Arrow's second season. We've got a slew of Marvel movies arriving in the next twelve months: X Men: Days Of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Amazing Spiderman 2. We've already had a slew of Marvel movies this year (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, The Wolverine).

We've already had a Superman movie this year, Man Of Steel. We've got a Batman vs Superman movie coming in two years that seems set to feature Nightwing, The Flash and Wonder Woman, and about which there are numerous stories appearing every week (the latest involving Girls' Adam Driver starring as Nightwing). And, by that point, we'll have a second Avengers movie - The Avengers: Age Of Ultron - hitting cinemas and setting up the next phase of the Marvel cinematic universe, which seems like it will involve Ant Man, Dr Strange and Hulk.

Those are just the high-profile superhero projects hitting television and film - and most of them will be here before anything from the Marvel-Netflix deal gets started.

Is there a point at which we all just feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content? Numerous films and a stack of television shows mean that not every viewer will get to se everything, even though most fans will try - and a plethora of different characters, many of whom share some of the same powers (superstrength is pretty common, for example) - mean that there will come a point when people just throw their hands up and stop trying to follow it all.

For the sake of Marvel and Netflix, I hope it doesn't happen before they get to launch their new project. But I do think its going to happen. I'm starting to feel it already.

Do you think people will eventually get sick of superheroes? Is there a point where there is simply too much on our screens, both big and small?

(*) My personal favourites: Den Of Geek, Collider, Topless Robot and Vulture.

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