Daredevil was a springboard for The Defenders on Netflix, and Jeph Loeb has discussed why the man without fear was so important for Marvel TV. It's not hard to see how successful the partnership between Marvel and Netflix has been. The fact that we're getting a team-up series next month is crystal clear evidence that fans are loving the direction that Marvel TV are currently taking. And whilst Netflix might be a little darker and violent than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or even the late Agent Carter, Marvel are clearly on to a winner.
It seems like the reason behind the Netflix success is the connective tissue between Daredevil, the MCU and other shows following it. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and later, The Defenders. Each one has slowly bled through to the next. It's created an interweaved story, similar to how the first phase of the MCU flowed across each film culminating in The Avengers. It seems like Kevin Feige and Jeph Loeb have created a money making formula.
Daredevil was the first of these Netflix shows that led the audience into a darker, grimier portion of the MCU that we hadn't really experienced before. But in an interview with Variety, Jeph Loeb discussed how he important Daredevil was for a mini television universe in a way that hadn't been paved out before now.
"It was a critical show for a lot of reasons — not just that we were on a different platform. Oddly enough, Netflix was a very young network at the time. It’s hard to imagine because their growth has been spectacularly high. Netflix believed in what we wanted to do, which was to do five series, four of which [“Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist”] would culminate in the fifth. And we’ve been fortunate enough to see other things happen, like “Daredevil,” season two, and “The Punisher,” which was not part of any plan. The other monumental task that we took on was to try to find a way to expand broadcast television into a world that hasn’t been done before."
Although, with the MCU already well established by the time Daredevil came around, Netflix weren't taking too much of a risk. They'd already proved that they could take classic characters and bring them with a sense of warmth and depth to the big screen. In fact it would be easier to explore characters on the small screen since they had more hours to dive into. The only bold part was the gritty nature of the series. But Marvel TV don't measure their success against their films, but how well the audience receives the content they're producing.
"We don’t tend to think in terms of how well we’re doing. We tend to think of how our audience is responding to the stories that we’re telling, and at least so far they seem to like what we’re doing."
Thankfully it's all worked out successfully. And like Loeb said, audiences seem to like the shows that Marvel are producing. Some series have received more negative receptions than others, but we're in a world where we're getting a live action version of The Defenders, we shouldn't complain too much. Hopefully Marvel TV continue their successful streak after their team-up series, and with The Punisher on the horizon - the future looks dark. In a good way.