*Contains spoilers for season 1*
Also disclaimer: I don’t watch the violent bits. I hide behind pillows, under duvets and beneath blankets. I just can’t deal – so this list isn’t about realistic blood spatters or gore. That said, much like Game of Thrones there is still a hell of a lot of show beyond that.
1. Matt’s voice.
A few episodes into watching this show I feel completely head over heels with Matt’s voice. That aside the way we hear and connect with his voice (rather than say his view point) forms our understanding of the world. The way we hear the environment, the city, how he fits into it shapes our attachment to his character and story. It was interesting for instance that music wasn’t used much early on in the series in favour of sharp sound design that immerses your senses beyond what you see. It makes you focus much less on what you see and more on what you feel. For me Matt’s voice is the key to that.
2. The Art.
That White Wall. “Rabbit in Snow Storm” – not really my type of art, but the way it was used in this series was fabulous. It is a brave decision for a show about a blind man to invest a lot of meaning into visuals but it worked kind of neatly that the main antagonist would gain strength from what he could see. Also the dramaturg in me actually had conniptions with the final shot of Fisk. I was a very happy bunny. That’s the thing with good visual writing – it’s not separate from what you see and it feels so right.
The core friendship between Foggy and Matt was a continual delight. It was a great way for us to invest in Matt as a person beyond his vigilante/hero persona and the drama that was explored when Foggy found out about his dual life was a massive strength of the show. I think the freakout and how they were able to move forward was pretty realistic and demonstrated how lost they were without each other and how much they need each other.
Side note – Jessica Jones and Trish = also awesome friendship!
4. The Talk-y Bits.
Matt is smart. Karen is smart. Foggy is smart. Clare is smart. The priest is smart. Therefore the script is smart. This show is smart and the writers clearly relished both building the world and the way it is talked about. I’ve heard a few people suggest that the show got a bit too chatty but mostly I think it worked really well and the pace wasn’t too interrupted. At no point did I feel that I was being talked down to by watching this show – in fact the only character that didn’t kind of fit into the talk-y greatness was the villain.
5. The Costumes.
Yeah, so we all obsess about ‘the suit’ but the evolution of the ‘man in black’ was actually much more interesting, so much so that I actually found myself missing the black when the new costume was unveiled. It was cool to see the sparks fly off the new suit during the final big fight scene though.
Costume reveals so much about characters – the details here were really nice. When he’s healing mid-season and confined (for a ridiculously short period of time) to his flat Matt’s in trackies and his hoodie. No shirt, he probably wouldn’t have been able to raise his arms to put on something over his head. Nice, huh? It the little things that push my costume buttons.
Also, I loved Karen’s work dresses. Her wardrobe was gorgeous! I covet!
6. The Opening Titles.
These actually grew on me – the theme wasn’t instantly in my bones (hello Game of Thrones), but much like the slick dripping of paint into pools that form the imagery of the sequence by about mid-season I felt it really worked.
I would say though, it would be nice for Clare to just pop up rather than know she’ll be featured in a particular episode. Come on people! It’s in the titles of the episode – just give a recurring role credit to her and be done.
As someone who hasn’t had direct experience with blindness I felt the show dealt with Matt’s blindness in a really interesting way. It didn’t feel ‘magic’ or ‘other’ it was a part of this world. His experience is embedded into the fabric of the world and also how we experience it. A lot of this was due to the sound design.
I was not a fan of the glasses, but the shifting focus Matt has with his eyes when we see them is really well done. It was also refreshing not to dwell too long on computer generated interpretations of how he experiences the world although I did enjoy Foggy’s
Also the two occasions when he threw away his cane and ran up to the rooftops were totally thrilling as unlike Superman/Clarke Kent where the glasses are all that changes – the way Matt conducts himself physically as Matt vs. Daredevil is very different. It will be fascinating to see where the show goes next with all this.
Oh Ben! We knew you were doomed. But your face was incredible, your motivations exemplary and who doesn’t love a dogged old school reporter? In the end I was a bit surprised at how long he lasted, but relished much of his tense screen time. It was nice to see a parallel to Matt’s decisions about where his life was going reflected in what Ben was going through.
9. Fight choreography.
See disclaimer, although I can’t watch really violent gore I think a well choreographed fight scene is essential in shows like this. How someone fights is part of who they are, therefore more you see them do it, builds character. Some of the set sequences in this series were just glorious. And nearly all of them felt real. Ouch! But they were crafted in such a way you also feel the adrenaline and rush that Matt gets when he is fighting - you get to see in action how he can enjoy the anger and the violence of his burning world.
10. The Nelson and Murdoch sign.
Since when was TV tactile enough that I am attached to the outline of words?
The new season of Daredevil drops soon on Netflix. Bring on March 18th!