deconstructing DC vs MARVEL: TV shows

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NETFLIX will hit us with a new DAREDEVIL show on April 10th. The impressive trailer signifies a shift in the television landscape. DC has always been the more dominant on the small screen, while MARVEL owns the silver screen. DC has several shows with a devoted fanbase, while Marvel only has AGENTS OF SHIELD to draw television viewers.

Things are about to change with NETFLIX. The future looks bright.

This article will debate DC vs MARVEL on the small screen. I’ll talk about the current shows and what’s on the horizon. I’ll get into which shows are worth watching, which ones suck, and which ones jumped the shark already.

Stay tuned for more MARVEL vs DC coming soon…

Now let’s start this off with GOTHAM vs AGENTS OF SHIELD.

GOTHAM missed the mark. It’s uneven tone and forced characters buried a simple premise. This series was to tell the backstory of BATMAN’s dark and grimy hometown. GOTHAM should have been BOARDWALK EMPIRE with superheroes.

The series focuses on the early career of present-day Police Chief / Commissioner GORDON (played by GARY OLDMAN in the Christopher Nolan movies). Right away, I was discouraged by the casting. I’m not familiar with ??? and his work on the teen-drama THE O.C. but he is so bland and boring in GOTHAM.

The PENGUIN seemed like an intriguing choice for lead baddie. The actor portraying him did a good job conveying the slimy character in the first few episodes. However, the scenes were just so heavy-handed and poorly executed.

The producers also included a young SELENA KYLE before she put on a costume as CATWOMAN. She’s portrayed as a young street thief. There is a certain air of mystery here in the early episodes, but most opportunities are wasted.

The show continued to add so many references to the BATMAN universe that it buried itself in the process. The story never moved along because it was too busy winking at itself in the pop-culture mirror.

I stopped watching GOTHAM when they had the Balloon Baddie. It was just so ridiculous. There was a huge opportunity to ground the show in reality by creating a criminal antagonist who runs Gotham like he was Al Capone or something. Instead, they have a villain who ties balloons to people so they will float away. Wow, that’s terrifying… And that was sarcasm.

GOTHAM jumped the shark by Episode 3. And I never went back.


I made it a bit further into AGENTS OF SHIELD – about half way through the first season. I really liked AGENT COULSON. I like the idea of witnessing the clean-up of the AVENGERS movie. I like the concept of SHIELD Agents managing the chaos of a superhero world. Unfortunately, the series has no superheroes. This is the largest flaw of the show.

Instead we follow a new recruit into the Agency. She partners up with an action hero and two techie nerds. While there is some good humour from these more traditional spy sidekicks, it isn’t enough to keep the show entertaining. The bland wooden characture of the lead agent didn’t add any intrigue either.

Our main character could have been another ALIAS-type ass-kicker. She uses her beauty to sneak past the baddies and infiltrate important events. I suppose watching her get in and out of trouble adds enough excitement to get you through a few episodes. Sadly, the mystery driving her forward wasn’t engaging enough. Ditto, for what happened to Coulson. I just didn’t care enough to get these answers.

Maybe SHIELD picked up some steam in the next episodes, but I never made it that far. I would have liked to see these Agents handle new superheroes more. And deal with keeping these heroes secret. It would have been better to see them fight to keep secret identities and eventually tie in to the larger CIVIL WAR storyline.

I would also like more guest-stars from the MARVEL Movie Universe to show up on SHIELD. Having THOR or IRON MAN show up occasionally would have made this show infinitly better. It just didn’t have enough to keep my attention.

MARVEL followed up SHIELD with AGENT CARTER. This prequel spin-off starring HAYLEY ATWELL was well done. I enjoyed the combination of dry humour, mystery, and action. Atwell is charismatic as the lead. Her supporting cast is sprinkled with a few enjoyable characters like JARVIS (Stark’s butler) and the Russian Agent in hiding.

CARTER actually connected to the cinematic universe with Stark, the Howling Commandos, and CAPTAIN AMERICA references scattered throughout. I hope MARVEL continues to experiment with these spin-off one-shot shows.


DC has quite a few shows with devoted fanbases. I’m thinking of ARROW and THE FLASH. I haven’t watched either of these but I’m aware of the hype behind them. ARROW looks like another anti-hero project with the renegade bad-boy saving the day.

THE FLASH plays a little young for my liking. I’d prefer to see the Forensic Detective version (ie: adult) of this character. The previews I’ve seen don’t seem to highlight any humour either. Part of the fun of THE FLASH is how funny he can be while he’s fighting crime.


The most exciting and promising new shows will be featured on NETFLIX. First up is DAREDEVIL on April 10th. The trailers were impressive. This show looks dark. It looks like it’s drawing inspiration from the comics. I love the alternative costume. It looks like this show will deliver on the action, unlike GOTHAM.

DAREDEVIL has some good casting working in its favour as well. ROSARIO DAWSON, VINCENT D’ONOFRIO (as KINGPIN), and DEBORAH ANN WOLL co-star alongside CHARLIE COX (THEORY OF EVERYTHING) in the lead role as Matt Murdock, blind lawyer by day, ass-kicking superhero by night. From the look of it, this series will follow the comics drawn by JOHN ROMITA. I’m staying spoiler free here, but if that’s true we are in for a show. 

DAREDEVIL is followed next by JESSICA JONES a crime fighter / lawyer – like Matt Murdoch. KRYSTEN RITTER portrays the titlular hero. She works with LUKE CAGE, her own Man of Steel. His show will come after, and be followed by IRON FIST – a martial artist / crime fighter.

Netflix has made a bold decision ordering several series at once, especially since they’ll weave into one another. I hope this is a sign of how good the writing is. 

Krysten Ritter is an intriguing choice to lead JESSICA JONES. She was great in her brief role on BREAKING BAD as Jesse’s girlfriend. She almost stole the show in those scenes. Because of this relationship, the twist in her storyline weighed so much.

Ritter’s eyes are so expressive she can emote so much without saying a thing. 

Ritter has a mysterious aura to her which could come in handy for the internal conflict of dealing with PTSD. It always seems like something is brewing under the surface. Here, it will be something dark. I’m interested to see how she pulls of the more action oriented requirements of this character. I know from some of her other earlier work that she can handle comedy, so let’s hope JESSICA JONES tosses some one-liners like an 80s action-hero.

Each of these Marvel Netflix shows will combine into THE DEFENDERS series – a Hell’s Kitchen version of the AVENGERS. The Netflix platform allows viewers to binge watch the entire series in one night should they choose. This allows for immediate immersion into the fictional world. I wonder if these series will be one season stand-alones or if they will continue their stories into further seasons?

I think MARVEL has the upper-hand in the TV world, even if DC probably has the most viewers today. I’m thinking when DAREDEVIL premieres in a few days the audience will shift. I hope these NETFLIX shows deliver and get a lot of hype from the fanboy community.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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