By Hannah Bernabe
Continuing my Netflix timeline, the first one you can find here. These are a few more of the shows that I’ve come to love. Hopefully, you’d like to check out these shows as well!
I am a Marvel fan through and through, so when Netflix announced that they would have Marvel original shows as part of their catalog- and the Defenders series at that- I was beyond excited for it. However, I’m going to be completely honest: Ben Affleck ruined Daredevil for me. But Charlie Cox’s portrayal of Marvel’s urban superhero completely turned it around. Season one has introduced us to the amazing backstory of how Matthew Murdock became the Daredevil. Charlie Cox effectively executes Murdock’s quest to protect Hell’s Kitchen, but to never cross the line. Vincent D’Onofrio is absolutely chilling and stellar as the villain Kingpin, even making us feel sorry for him for a quick second with his backstory.
Season two introduced the Punisher and Elektra, played by Jon Bernthal and Elodie Yung respectively. These characters added another layer of darkness in Hell’s Kitchen’s world, pushing our Daredevil to really come to terms with his issues of his ethical code. Daredevil paved the way for the other Defender’s series: Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and the upcoming Iron Fist series. It shows me that Marvel is in good hands with Netflix, and Netflix is showing itself as a major contributor to the evolution of television.
Season 1 and 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil are up on Netflix today.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Since we’re on the topic of honesty, I didn’t know a lot about Jessica Jones until they announced the series’ production in 2015, other than she used to be a superhero and became a detective in Hell’s Kitchen. But when I started watching the show, I knew right off the bat that this show is a little different compared to other superhero shows. From the noir tone to the predominantly powerful female cast, Jessica Jones is set to show audiences a different side of the Marvel television universe.
The show’s villain, Killgrave (played menacingly by the amazing David Tennant), torments our super anti-hero not with brains and brawn, but something more sinister: Jessica’s inner traumas. Jessica Jones is an anomaly because it tackles issues that are real nightmares to women everywhere. Issues such as rape and emotional abuse are not necessarily topics presented in general audiences, much less the male-dominant comic book industry. What Jessica Jones brings to life is the humanity of people who save us, even the darker side of that humanity.
Season 1 of Jessica Jones is available on Netflix today, and Season 2 is set to be released in 2017.
Marvel’s Luke Cage
If there is a show that reflects our current socio-political landscape, it would be Marvel’s Luke Cage. Luke Cage expands the trope of “not all men wear capes,” with the idea of a neighborhood crusader rather than an Avenger saving the day. The show goes further, contending the preconceived notions of the black man behind the hood being a savior rather than a danger. Carrying on the theme of vigilante vs. hero, Luke Cage is the prime superhero of the masses. Michael Coulter thrives as the show’s titular character, backed by amazing performances by Simone Missick (Misty Knight) and Claire Temple (role reprised by Rosario Dawson).
Luke Cage is riddled with issues that matter to America today, such as “Black Lives Matter” and the climate of the streets in American inner-cities. And with a great hero comes even greater villains. Luke Cage has a powerhouse of antagonists, from the dangerously charismatic Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and the mysterious Shades (Theo Rossi), to the formidable Black Mariah (Alfre Woodard). The villains of Luke Cage share the humanity of the show’s protagonist. This makes their roles as villains carry much more depth and power.
Season 1 of Marvel’s Luke Cage is available on Netflix today.
Master of None
I have been a fan of Aziz Ansari from the minute he was Tom Haverford in Parks & Recreation. That said, I am guilty in second guessing if Aziz can carry that leading man type of role. All of my hesitation completely went away after I watched Master of None. As an Asian female of color, representation in the media is very important to me. To finally see a Southeast Asian actor have a leading role and portray material that is relevant not just to our age group, but to our demographic, it’s so amazing and exciting to witness. Of all the episodes, the one that struck me the most is the episode about immigrant parents. A child of an immigrant myself, the episode is a gentle reminder of the sacrifices that parents do in order for their children to have a better life. Ansari and his co-creator Alan Yang have covered the issue so simply and beautifully, and brought out a breakout star in Ansari’s father (Shoukath Ansari).
Besides more personal issues, Master of None tackles other issues of representation, such as the whitewashing found in Hollywood and popular media in general. Before I open a whole can of worms about representation in the media, the biggest take-away that I got from Master of None is that minorities can take the lead, and we have no qualms grabbing it as much as we can. Netflix has done an amazing job being a platform not just for compelling stories, but for folks that need to be represented when Hollywood disappoints them. As a young female creative of color, Master of None gave me the courage to pursue something that was previously closed for me.
Season 1 for Master of None is available on Netflix. Season 2 will be available April 2017.
And that’s all, folks! Well, for now. The beauty of Netflix and Netflix Originals is that they are leading the pack in revolutionizing television, how we watch it and what content is more relatable to folks.
What are your favorite shows that you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!