Where are all the black people, differently-abled and (other) women in the Marvel Universe? Netflix, as it turns out. Today’s big news: The ubiquitous streaming service will follow-up it’s year of turning the TV drama game upside-down with the breakout mega-success of “House of Cards” and “Orange is The New Black” by getting into the superhero game with Marvel/Disney.

The plan is produce four seperate series (each with a 13-episode initial run) based on Luke Cage (black guy, really strong) Iron Fist (white guy, does kung-fu) Jessica Jones (former superhero, now a private detective) and Daredevil (blind, also a defense attorney); and a team-up “miniseries event” that will bring the four together as THE DEFENDERS (the name is borrowed from a hodgepodge 70s/80s Marvel group that randomly tossed together Doctor Strange, The Hulk, Ghost Rider and Silver Surfer for no particularly sensible reason.) The rational for all this is almost certainly to be that these are all regular/”street-level” heroes who
So, basically it’s “The B-List Avengers” as a streaming content-dump. But it’s also a canny move that makes the Marvel brand immediately part of the huge story that is the rise of the Netflix model as a viable platform for serial television – they’re now the streaming action-show brand. The characters are all well chosen, since none of them generally have the kind of adventures (on their own) that would befit a singular big blockbuster but might work better handling 13 smaller-scale scenarios an hour at a time.
Presumably they’ll rope one or two of The Avengers into a walk-on for the publicity at some point (Devin at BAD thinks it’s plausible that Jones might debut as her superhero self “Jewel” on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” first, which makes a lot of sense) but I wonder if this might start to work like a franchise farm-system; where if (for example) Luke Cage is the breakout hit we’ll see him called up to the majors for “Avengers 2” (or 3)?
Sounds interesting, at least. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to light a candle for whatever unfortunate mid-level guy at Warner Bros/DC is currently dodging office equipment thrown by a boss bellowing “WHY DIDN’T YOU THINK OF THIS???”

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