I'll keep this as spoiler-free as possible. The Daredevil series on Netflix is worth the investment in a Netflix membership. It's richer and more powerful than any cinematic superhero story, and while it is dark, it is not the trendy kind of dark. It's the kind of dark a good storyteller uses so that when we get light, the light is blinding and brilliant.
The story of Daredevil goes well beyond what's actually in those 13 episodes, and I'm not talking about what's coming next season. The very existence of that story, in that format, on Netflix, is the beginning of a much broader narrative about the future of entertainment.
Finished Netflix's Daredevil. If this model for episodic programming survives we are in for a story-driven entertainment renaissance. — Howard Tayler (@howardtayler) April 23, 2015
I'll stand by that statement.
Back in 2013 Kevin Spacey said similar things when he talked about how House of Cards couldn't be the show they wanted it to be without Netflix freeing them from the "shoot a pilot episode" business model of the networks. Here he is, saying those things.
I got chills when I first watched the excerpted version of Spacey's speech back in 2013 (full version is here.) I watched it again last night after finishing Daredevil and I am convinced that Kevin Spacey has correctly prognosticated the future of the entertainment industry. House of Cards (which I don't much like, but that's irrelevant) and Daredevil serve as proof that Netflix can provide a superior business model for episodic storytelling, and that by so doing they'll give us better stories.
We talk about storytelling quite a bit over at Writing Excuses. Brandon, Dan, Mary, and I have recorded well over fifty hours of discussion in bite-sized chunks, and one thing we keep coming back to is the power that can be wielded by storytellers who know what they're doing, and who have the skills and the space in which to do it. Episodic television has gotten much better in the last twenty years, and it will get far, far better once it finally breaks the shackles of legacy network business practices.
That doesn't mean that all the stories will be great ones. It means that the great ones are going to amaze us. I'm really looking forward to this.