Following news last month that Marvel was shopping around a 60-episode TV package that includes a mix of four new drama series and one miniseries to cable channels and outlets like Netflix and Amazon, the package has quickly found a home.
In a press release from The Walt Disney Company, it was announced that Netflix has landed the unprecedented TV deal with Marvel that will feature live-action adaptations of Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones, all multiple years of original programming (13-episodes for each character) set in Hell’s Kitchen, New York and leading to a miniseries event of Marvel’s “The Defenders.”
The programming run will be led by and kick off with the Daredevil series beginning in 2015. Much like how Marvel innovated the film franchise world with a series of films that led to The Avengers, they’re doing the same thing on TV, and with one of the biggest innovators of distribution and content today. This is a huge deal for Netflix and makes them an irrefutable star player in television. Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says:
“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.”
Meanwhile, Marvel Entertainment president Alan Fine is just as thrilled adding:
“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. 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.”
This kind of deal isn’t really surprising since Netflix already has a huge deal in place with Disney as the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run, live-action and animated movies from the Walt Disney Studios, including titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Disneynature and Lucasfilm. (That begins in 2016.) In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if Star Wars ended up sending some TV action to Netflix sometime in the future as well.
But for now, we’re left wondering how Daredevil will tie into “The Defenders,” besides the obvious location connection. And we’re also hoping that without the boundaries of primetime network television, Marvel will be able to cut loose with some edgy, less family friendly programming. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC has been entertaining, but it lacks depth, weight, and a lot of what makes the Marvel movies so great, and we’re not just talking about problems that arise from a smaller budget. Hopefully Marvel has something a bit more promising up their sleeve with this huge new endeavor.
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