Marvel TV is looking to expand their show portfolio with plans of developing series with more of a comedic approach. Since its inception in 2013 with their flagship project, the still running Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, the small screen division of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have significantly grown with now 14 projects across several platforms – including some upcoming ones like Netflix’s The Punisher, Hulu’s Marvel’s Runaways and Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger. With a growing library of programs – most of it well-received – under its belt, the TV franchise is looking to expand their reach more by dabbling in other genres outside of the usual superhero tropes.
Despite being mainly separated from the bigger and arguably more well-known MCU film branch (aside from quick references), the Marvel TV division is slowly gaining popularity on its own thanks to a riskier approach in storytelling particularly evident in its Netflix series. Their next big project, Marvel’s Inhumans is taking a technological leap in filming being partly shot using IMAX cameras. And they endeavor to continue trying out new things to keep their offerings fresh including one that could potentially give us a comedic Marvel TV production.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Thursday, August 24, which THR covered, Marvel Television’s senior vice-president of original programming Karim Zreik has revealed that they are actively looking for opportunities to delve into comedy describing the genre as “something we really want to go into,” “It took us time to dip our foot in the comedy pool,” he has said referencing MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy as somewhat their template. That said, despite being open to trying out new formats using famed Marvel characters, Zreik has warned fans not to wait for any office-comedy type a la Parks and Recreation or The Office as it is something that they would “never do.”
The Marvel exec has continued to explain that all of these different experimentations in terms of narrative development and various storytelling formats is a way for them “to target different audiences” and not just comic book fans. Dissecting the Marvel/Netflix shows, the demographics are different from each other: Daredevil appeals to male viewers, Jessica Jones draws female ones, Luke Cage has mixed watchers while Iron Fist attracts young fans. While this audience chart basically taps in almost all demographics, coming out with a universally appealing comedic show will arguably help Marvel TV achieve their goal.
Basing from Zreik’s comment, it appears that Marvel TV is trying to emulate what MCU has done and is continuously doing with their films. Despite being under one franchise, the individual films – especially the standalone ones, tend to vary in genres: Captain America: Winter Soldier is a political thriller, Ant-Man is a heist film while Spider-Man: Homecoming is coming-of-age one. This not only helps the massive film franchise to tap into various movie going audience category by keeping their narratives fresh but it also makes their sub-franchises distinct from one another.