Marvel’s Daredevil sets new standards for TV shows

Published: April 16, 2015

Its quality rivals that of Marvel Studio’s best films and it should be watched by anyone and everyone who enjoys great television. PHOTO: DAREDEVIL OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

Marvel has been on a bit of a roll recently, and by recently I mean the last seven years. While Marvel has gone from strength to strength on the big screen, the same cannot be said for their small screen ventures, and after the middling Agents of Shield and their work in progress, that is Agent Carter, Marvel is all set to expand its television universe as well.

Marvel and Netflix have planned to release four stand-alone super-hero shows in the next three to four years. The shows are DaredevilAKA Jessica JonesLuke CageIron Fist and then a team of all of them in ‘The Defenders.’

Daredevil is the first amongst these to be aired. What is surprising is that why Marvel took so long to secure its rights from Fox, considering the lamentable Ben Affleck version was released way back in 2003.

Created and adapted by Drew Goddard and executive produced by Steven DeKnight, Daredevil is something that is very much out of Marvel’s comfort zone. It is dark, brooding, gritty, and unlike anything Marvel has ever done before. For those unfamiliar with the comics, Daredevil follows the story of Matt Murdock, a man who was blinded by a freak accident as a boy but witnessed his other senses enhanced to super-human proportions. Eager to stand up and protect his Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood, he takes up the role of a hard-working yet fledgling lawyer by day and hard-nosed masked vigilante by night.

Photo: IMDb

Daredevil goes to great lengths to establish itself as a crime-drama first and a super-hero show second and it succeeds in doing so. The show is driven by stupendous performances, as well as a thought out and tight plot which functions perfectly, along with unrelenting violence.

Photo: IMDb

Daredevil is a bold step forward for Marvel and something they should be very proud of. The writing is impeccable and the writers present us with a complex, tightly-woven plot which sets the tempo for everything that follows.

Unlike other super-hero shows, which make use of the ‘case of the week’ formula, Daredevil presents an intricate, multi-layered and well-structured story that develops steadily and manages to keep us engaged throughout. The atmosphere plays an integral part in capturing the dark and ominous tone, and the Hell’s Kitchen backdrop sinks in wonderfully with the show.

Photo: IMDb

As far as pitch-perfect casting goes, this show has managed two such castings, Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/ Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk. Cox is perfect and nails every aspect of his role to precision. For someone who is known for his smaller supporting roles, such as in The Theory of Everything and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, he is someone you least expect to pull off something like this. He brings just the right level of vulnerability and charm to Murdock and the perfect mix of toughness and intimidation to his by-night alter-ego, Daredevil.

Photo: IMDb

And then of course, there is D’Onofrio, a well-known actor and supporting player in Hollywood, best known to people for his performance in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. Here, D’Onofrio steals the show as Wilson Fisk. His complex and at times deeply disturbing turn is mesmerising to watch. Much of the show’s success can be attributed to his performance.

The supporting performances are consistently great.

Toby Leonard Moore and Vondie Curtis-Hall are the standouts as James Wesley and Ben Urich respectively, but Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson and Rosario Dawson are also great to watch. The show never shies away from violence and brutality; rather, it excels at it.

The action sequences are superbly choreographed and expertly directed. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I saw such fluent and effective on-screen combat scenes in any movie or television show. It is also stunningly well-shot and the distinct visual style reflects the darkness and sombre nature of the story.

Photo: IMDb

All in all, Daredevil is an excellent show that sets a new standard for all TV shows to come – not just comic-book ones.

Its quality rivals that of Marvel Studio’s best films and it should be watched by anyone and everyone who enjoys great television, regardless of the person’s preconceived notions towards super-heroes and comic-book shows.

Khalid Rafi

Khalid Rafi

The author enjoys writing and is passionate about Pakistan Cricket. He tweets @TheKhalidRafi (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Meh

    Comparing Daredevil to other superhero TV shows is like comparing Godfather to 2 Fast 2 FuriousRecommend

  • Criitcal

    I dont know if you had seen “Arrow”…it was head and shoulders above any superhero serials….. While Marvel are continuing their dominance in movies bringing even obscure 80s comics like Guardians of Galaxy and Antman to live cinema….

    DC shows its superiority in Animated movies and TV shows…CW’s Arrow and Flash and Fox’s Gotham are dominating the US TV charts….Recommend

  • HeyKojak!

    Excellent review! Makes me wanna watch itRecommend

  • Say My Name

    Nice review, agree with your assessment over just about everything. This show is in a completely different league compared to Arrow, Gotham or any other comic book/ super-hero showRecommend

  • Bilal

    ”Beware of the Murdock boys, they got the devil in them”Recommend

  • kled23

    do u mean daredevil as Godfather, in which case ur right at the point,Recommend

  • knightridrr

    Incredible show no doubt. This is the only TV show Marvel got right yet. I am eagerly waiting for Iron Fist, A.K.A. Jessice Jones, Luke Cage and of course The Defenders miniseries. Hope they are on the same level as well.

    Having said that I would say Arrow season 2 eclipses Daredevil in many ways.

    P.S. Daredevil red costume looked very cheap.Recommend

  • Khalid

    I disagree, the red costume was quite sublime the way it should have been.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    I have not watched it yet. Daredevil is one of my favourite supers in Marvel universe so I thought it better to just let this go than be disappointed , as i was after having to endure the movie. However having read this positive review I will be binge watching this tommorowRecommend

  • The Unexpected Virtue Of……

    Fisk was the best character on the show, best actor as well kudos to D’Onofrio and very impressed by Charlie Cox’s portrayal of DaredevilRecommend

  • The Unexpected Virtue Of……

    I’d also like to add that this is the best superhero/comic book show ever made, and without doubt one of the best shows iv ever seen aswell. Cant wait for Season 2Recommend

  • The Unexpected Virtue Of……

    Arrow season 2 is not that good tbh, eventhough its an improvement over season 1. Arrow imo lacks behind due to poor writing, forced humor. The villains are not that interesting and Arrow himself is not that interesting. Gotham is probably the next best thing after DaredevilRecommend

  • Furqan

    I really like daredevil but he really lacks behind when it comes to having good villains. I mean if u look at batman or spiderman they have really awesome villains. Daredevil has only one good villain, kingpinRecommend

  • Khalid

    Well not exactly, while Kingpin is his arch-nemesis so to speak he has more interesting villains as well. Bullseye is a great villain, he’s psychotic and they call him ‘the man who never misses’ as opposed to Daredevil’s ‘the man without fear’. Mister Fear is a great villain even though his persona seems very much like The Scarecrow. The Owl and Gladiator are also good villains who may be making the show soon.Recommend

  • Faizan

    I have literally gotten 2 hrs sleeps in the past 24 hrs, this show has me hooked, amazing binge-worthy televisionRecommend

  • Joe Smith

    Actually, DD has some of the best villains. Kingpin, Bullseye, Elektra (sometimes), Purple Man, the Owl, Mr. Fear, Gladiator, Death Stalker, Typhoid Mary, Kirigi and the Hand, Ikari, Lady Bullseye, and I’m hoping someone comes along and makes Coyote something great. Most of these villains aren’t house-hold names like Spiderman’s or Batman’s villains, but that’s because DD hasn’t had the exposure in cartoons/movies like those characters. However, the Hand will get attention now which means Kirigi, Elektra, and Bullseye are probably coming. The Owl most likely is on the way too now that his father (we assume) died in season 1. Potter/Gladiator got some screen time, and the Purple Man will be in Jessica Jones.Recommend

  • knightridrr

    You are kidding right? You are saying that Deathstroke isn’t a good villian? Well I question your judgement if you really think so.

    Plus DC fans ranks Gotham at number 3 after Arrow and The Flash respectively.

    Daredevil had a weak start. Only standout scene in the first 3-4 episode was fight scene in the end of episode 2. Episode 5 bombing picked up the show and from there on to episode 11 it is 9+. But last 2 episodes were bit of a let down after such a great buildup. The fight scenes (which made the show what it is) between Kingpin and Daredevil were either one sided or very short (especially in the last episode). All in all it is a 8+ show for me but not better than Arrow or The Flash.Recommend

  • The Guest Star

    Will surely be binge watching thisRecommend

  • The Unexpected Virtue Of……

    No. I dont think he compares to the Kingpin. Kingpin is more sadistic and realistic which makes him better.

    I respect you opinion but Arrow in no way compares to Daredevil, Daredevil is in a league of its own and tbh neither Flash nor Gotham are that great they are middling shows at best.

    Daredevil had a a great start everything in the story meant something, it was all connected and eventually led to bigger and better things, thats how TV Shows should be, wish I could say the same about Arrow. Also, the choreography in Daredevil is miles ahead of Arrow’s choreography, it is much better and exciting to watch.

    I dont think any episode was a letdown rather it was equivalent to my expectations, perfectly conclusion to some great build-upRecommend

  • Emme

    Daredevil lives true to its name and has thrashed and thrown out fans’ phobias of network studios cheesing/hamming up elaborate comic book adaptations over and over again. Throughout the viewing my attention span was divided and switching between its entertainment value and a recurring appreciation for the uncompromising grit and brutality that the show uses to the fullest advantage to develop an engrossing story. It’s no shocker that a show of such convictions arguably could only have been possible on Netflix, of all places..Recommend

  • The Guest Star

    Daredevil renewed for Season 2!!!Recommend

  • Fandemonium Network

    Daredevil is back, and he’s not the only one. The first teaser trailer for Daredevil Season 3 is released.Recommend