Marvel’s Disney+ TV shows might be more well-known, but the best comic book adaptation TV shows are made by streaming rival Netflix.
netflixThe comic book adaptations are actually better than the mcu‘s. The success of Iron Man in 2008 not only gave birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it also led to a renewed interest in comic book adaptations. The biggest names are undoubtedly Marvel and DC, with an ever-growing lineup of superheroes coming to life on the big and small screens. Every studio and streaming service is eager to mine comics for potential blockbuster hits.
Netflix has been in the game for a long time. In 2013, the streaming giant struck a deal with Marvel Television that led to a slate of Netflix Originals – daredevil, Jessica Jones, iron fist, Luke Cage, The defendersand The Punisher. Even Netflix was relatively new to the “original contentgame in 2013, and they needed strong brands like Marvel for name recognition. By 2018, that was no longer the case, and over the next year, the relationship between the two companies broke down. It didn’t take long for Netflix to demonstrate they didn’t need Marvel, launching their own popular comic book adaptations, including The Umbrella Academy.
Now, Marvel and Netflix are effectively direct competitors through the popular MCU TV shows on Disney+ and the streaming stream of Netflix Originals. But, while the various MCU Disney+ TV shows demand a lot of attention, the reality is that Netflix shows are much better. It always has been – and it still is.
Daredevil is still the best Marvel TV series
daredevil is still the best Marvel TV series – even in the age of Disney+. When season 1 came out in 2015, it was unlike any other Marvel superhero show that had come before it; dark, edgy, atmospheric, and decidedly R-rated. Charlie Cox’s Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin were essentially co-stars, meaning Kingpin became an unusually three-dimensional Marvel villain at a time when Marvel Studios was routinely accused of underdevelop its villains. Secondary characters such as Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson and Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page also had their own compelling story arcs. daredevil was not perfect; it suffered from pacing issues that have become typical of Marvel Netflix shows. But it shines beyond anything Marvel has done since, and the second and third seasons are equally strong – with other compelling casting decisions such as Jon Bernthal’s Punisher, which impressed Netflix so much it’s is signed up for a spin-off.
Other Marvel Netflix shows have attempted to follow the daredevil formula, with more or less success. The shows continued to explore mature themes, but unfortunately the flaws in the Marvel Netflix formula became increasingly apparent, especially in iron fist season 1. Third-party analytics revealed that Marvel Netflix viewership has been declining for years, with only The Punisher and daredevil resist the downtrend. By 2018, Netflix had learned everything they needed to learn from their partnership with Marvel, and they began to end that relationship.
Netflix Comic Book Adaptations Avoid Disney+ MCU Mistakes
The comics publishing industry is dominated by DC and Marvel, but there are actually a number of other publishers – and Netflix has taken advantage of this, even acquiring Mark Millar’s Millarworld company in 2017. was The Umbrella Academy it proved that Netflix didn’t really need the Marvel brand; it did not depend on a shared universe but on a relatively moderate marketing campaign followed by strong word-of-mouth. And it was followed by a host of other comic book adaptations that were just as good, including the likes of Raising Dion and locke and key. This new wave of superhero shows is tonally different from anything in the MCU, so much so that superhero fans only used to Marvel and DC properties wouldn’t necessarily even realize they were based on comic books. They give a healthy degree of diversity to the whole genre.
Plus, they completely avoid the mistakes that are starting to bring MCU TV shows down on Disney+. The first wave of MCU Disney+ TV series built on the shared universe, spinning straight from Avengers: Endgame; even the best of them do not stand up. Worse, this emphasis on the shared universe means that each series is more about setup than anything, and in danger of becoming a formula. Every MCU Disney+ TV show so far has had a villain twist at the end; “It was Agatha from the start” in Wanda Visionthe energy broker of The Falcon and the Winter Soldierswivel in Hawk Eyeand he who dwells in Loki. The pattern makes sense, as such a villain twist helps ensure the show contributes to the overall MCU narrative, but it becomes predictable.
It doesn’t help that, so far, only Wanda Vision really felt unique. Wanda Vision was a superhero sitcom unlike anything seen in the MCU to date, consciously drawing on all the best tropes from other sitcoms. It felt like a promise from Marvel that their shows would be bold and experimental, but unfortunately that promise has yet to be fulfilled. By contrast, many of Netflix’s comic book adaptations seem bold and innovative – from the unique style and tone of The Umbrella Academy goosebumps locke and key and the coming-of-age story at the heart of Raising Dion. The lack of a shared universe means Netflix can allow each series to be its own thing.
Moon Knight Could Be Marvel’s Opportunity To Catch Up
Right now, therefore, Netflix’s comic book adaptations are better than the MCU’s Disney+ TV shows. But all that can change with Moon Knight, the first of Marvel Studios’ shows to feel like it could exist on its own terms; the first trailer didn’t even emphasize its connection to the shared universe. It makes sense for Moon Knight to be a more experimental show, simply because it draws inspiration from comics that have often strayed from the rest of Marvel’s books, with unique narrative and stylistic choices. Moon Knight could finally fill Wanda Vision‘s promise, offering the mcu an opportunity to catch up with Netflix – not only in terms of brand recognition, but also in quality and diversity. This means that competition is intensifying for netflix – and viewers will be the winners, as this competition will lead to increases in quality.
More: Locke & Key: How Season 3 Will Be Different From The Comics
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release Date: Jul 08, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: November 11, 2022
- Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: July 28, 2023
Reacher’s Audience Higher Than Fellow Amazon Series Wheel of Time
About the Author