Welcome back to The Collider Pop Culture Review, in which Collider’s weekend editor Vinnie Mancuso wakes up only slightly hungover on a Saturday to rate the week’s biggest stories in film and television on a scale from 1 to 10. (1 is soul-crushingly bad, 10 is mind-blowingly incredible.) This week: In a Very Special Episode of the Collider Pop Culture Review, we give our first 0 rating and dive deep into the despair that is Netflix canceling Daredevil after three seasons like a bunch of no fun-having jerks.
‘Daredevil’ Canceled After 3 Seasons
Rating: 0, or “My World’s On Fire, How ‘Bout Yours?”
First they came for Iron Fist, and I said nothing because, to be honest, while season 2 was an improvement the sight of Danny Rand throwing kicks with all the fury of Bran Stark was still low-key hilarious. Then they came for Luke Cage, and again I said nothing because while Mike Colter is seriously charismatic and pitch-perfect in that role, that show never learned how to actually tell a 13-hour story without resorting to several scenes per episode of Luke sitting in a barber chair and staring at a wall.
But this week, they came for Daredevil, sweet, sweet blind mopey Matty Murdock Daredevil, and still I can say nothing, because of course this happened. Disney—a company so focused on having a stranglehold on the entertainment industry it would straight up buy the moon if it was possible to build a monorail to space—is developing its own streaming service. We were fools, fools, stupid naive Foggy Nelson season one haircut-ass fools to think Disney would let one of its characters live on a competing streaming service while Mickey Mouse still draws breath.
But still, gah! Just one, unending, despairing gahhhh toward this news. Fire up Daredevil season three, skip to the finale, and fast-forward to the 31 minute and 10 seconds mark; Charlie Cox—the only Daredevil we recognize in THIS house—lets out a noise of pure bloody-nosed fury and despair that I can only compare to a black bear with laryngitis sitting on his own testicles. It’s actually hilarious. It is also the exact same noise I made when I read the words “Netflix Cancels Daredevil After Three Seasons.” This news both sucks and blows, like Vincent D’Onofrio‘s nostrils after he stands up too fast in one of those velvet white suits.
There wasn’t anything in the live-action superhero world like Daredevil, which is saying a lot in an age where live-action superhero stories have more sway in the world than most politicians. When it debuted back in 2015—a simpler time in comic book movie fandom when not a single person had yet thought of fucking thicc bae Thanos—Daredevil singlehandedly ushered in a new way of doing this nonsense. I will always remember watching my fourth screener in a row and sitting there slack-jawed as D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk decapitated another man with a car door. It was all that highfalutin maturity that Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight rightfully gets credit for but roughly 1000% less self-serious. Daredevil season one is the first time a live-action superhero story had pathos and humanity and heartbreak and a soul but didn’t also feel, at least a little bit, embarrassed to be a superhero story. The homie Matt Murdock shows up at the end dressed like Satan in an S&M club and you knew this was the fun you had reading a marvelous Stan Lee book for a nickel mixed with something undeniably real.
Season 2 is…not a masterpiece. Like gluten and Kraken spiced rum there’s only so many faceless ninjas I can tolerate before I need a break from that particular party. But it did introduce the world to Jon Bernthal‘s Frank Castle, a Punisher so perfect that you didn’t even stop to think about how funny it was that a violent ex-Marine with crippling PTSD is so good at stenciling spooky faces on to clothing. I like to imagine there are several Netflix executives huddled outside Jon Bernthal’s residence as we speak, all like “No you tell him.”
And then came season three, oversaw by the show’s fourth showrunner, Erik Oleson, the last season of Daredevil we’ll ever see in this form. What a thing season three is, man, a near-perfect blend of aching human pain mixed with downright wacky comic book shenanigans. There wasn’t a fight scene on any screen, big or small, better than Matt Murdock’s first face-off with the man who would be Bullseye, Wilson Bethel‘s Benjamin Poindexter. It’s a testament to Oleson, Bethel, Cox, the stunt choreography, and director Stephen Surjik that a fight that consists mostly of someone just violently lobbing desk supplies around like the world’s most drunken office Christmas party. Until this scene, I’d never yelled “Look out Matt he has safety scissors!” before, but here we are.
I’ll miss these characters, these performances. Charlie Cox is an actual superhuman for making some of Matt Murdock’s Hot Topic-ass self-pity sound reasonably okay and for making the rest of the show’s stellar writing soar. When Disney inevitably re-casts, like, fucking Joel Kinnaman as Daredevil sometime down the road, I’ll be straight up rioting in the streets.
Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, God, you are such a terrible journalist. Just terrible, terrible, that’s not how leads work, Karen, you’re burying the important information. But besides that, Woll worked magic as Karen; a character that became a murderer in the first season was still the light of a show so consistently steeped in darkness. Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, too, a performance that made you believe you could stay buddies with a blind psychopath who was only fluent in lying.
Vincent D’Onofrio, I’m sorry for making fun of your very heavy breathing before. Netflix’s Wilson Fisk is the best Marvel villain of all time, full-stop, and the fact I’ll never get to see him tussle with Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man is the only real crime here. Besides all the murder. That is also a crime.
True, there is a chance Daredevil—along with Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and the yet-uncancelled Jessica Jones—moves on over to Disney+. But considering Woll’s words and the fact the writing staff was let go mid-meeting, it’s not sounding likely.
So we’ll see. We’ll see. Until then, so long and thanks for all the fists.