DAREDEVIL Season Two
Crime And Punishment
released OUT NOW! 2016 | Available to stream
Showrunners Doug Petrie, Marco Ramirez
Cast Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Jon Bernthal
If Battlestar Galactica ( Ronald D Moore version) was the science fiction series for people who don’t like science fiction, then Netflix’s Daredevil is the superhero show for comicsphobes. When it debuted in 2015, it seemed to have been made more for connoisseurs of Breaking Bad and Mad Men than for fans of the likes of Arrow.
Season one certainly wore its superhero clothes lightly. With limited SF elements and a protagonist who only suits up in the final episode, it was barely a superhero drama at all. Season two at least feels less ashamed about its identity as a Marvel series. Introducing some light fantasy to the show, as well as some proper costumed heroics, this feels a little bit further away from The Wire ( season one showrunner Steven S DeKnight’s main inspiration) and a bit closer to Agents Of SHIELD.
Much of the pre- publicity focused on Walking Dead alumnus Jon Bernthal’s Punisher, a comics favourite who’s proved notoriously difficult to get right in three dimensions. Thankfully, the testosterone- drenched Bernthal proves heaven- sent casting. Even with little dialogue, he crackles on- screen, with the actor making us ache with empathy for this man whose life was ripped apart by three stray bullets. Sadly, after a Frank Castle- centred first half- season, the series then takes a narrative lurch towards a group of mystical- headed drug smugglers named the Hand; after the gut- punch of the Punisher, they’re a disappointingly faceless and indistinct threat.
Élodie Yung proves similarly note- perfect casting as Elektra Natchios, a character also previously screwed- up on- screen. Having another leg- chopping, asswhupping vigilante by Daredevil’s side has upped the choreographed beauty of the fight scenes, certainly – though there’s still nothing here that trumps season one’s celebrated hallway scrap.
Structurally, there wasn’t a dropped stitch in season one. Season two, however, feels awkwardly paced and unfocused. Not only does the narrative take a few jarring swerves, but the season’s two showcase characters – the Punisher and Elektra – don’t share a single scene together, or even reference each other. The show is still seductively brooding and tough as nails, but new showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez lack Steven S DeKnight’s sureness of touch and clarity of vision.
There’s still much to love though, including some pleasingly underplayed references connecting this series up to Jessica Jones, and ( minor spoiler) a welcome appearance by the reliably scene- stealing Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk. Season two isn’t a stinker by any means, but it struggles to stand as proud as its debut season. Steve O’Brien
Jon Bernthal is the fourth actor to play the Punisher on screen, after Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson.
Despite the new library guard, noisy customers persisted.