Daredevil’s success (and indeed its quality) has always felt somehow quite hard to believe. Perhaps it’s something to do with the existence of the feature film, one of the all-time worst Ben Affleck vehicles that doesn’t star Jennifer Lopez (less a subcategory, more a circle of hell) but seemingly everyone who went into the 2015 Netflix joint brought expectations so low they were practically subterranean. The shock and surprise of the balletically violent first season is that it managed to leapfrog good and land feet first in solid great and won a solid fan-base that included plenty of viewers who wouldn’t usually touch a Marvel product. Whilst gritty has been a watchword for superhero media since Christopher Nolan first directed Christian Bale to bellow like a dying boar, ‘brutal and realistic’ seems an odd descriptor for a show about a blind lawyer who beats criminals into frappe by night but somehow that’s just what the series accomplished. At first.
Some worrying developments in the last few episodes involving mysterious conspiracies and vaguely racist ninjas started to put some wobble on Daredevil’s previously dead-on aim but not enough to truly cause any serious concern. It was in the second season where (after an admittedly stellar beginning involving an incredibly uncompromising take on The Punisher) the series doubled down on the whole ‘demonic ninja conspiracy’ angle and some of the bloom came off the uniquely grounded yet vicious nature of the first season. The newly announced third season should be arriving sometime in 2017 and regrettably for those who find demonic ninjas to be slightly less than compelling will presumably focus on setting up the upcoming Defenders series: An Avengers style joint series that will combine the stars of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the yet the be released Luke Cage and Iron Fist to fight The Hand (effectively a social club for evil ninjas to plot world domination). It’s a shame that the principle of ever closer union that governs the Marvel Cinematic Universe has cut into part of what made Daredevil so compelling in the first place, but for a well-made, dark take on street level crime fighting Season 3 is unlikely to find much to challenge it. Until the new Punisher series comes out at least.