With the news that Netflix is canceling Daredevil after three seasons, it appears that the writing is on the wall for that corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We've witnessed Charlie Cox's rise, fall and triumphant return as the Man Without Fear since 2015, but with viewership reportedly declining, the streaming service has pulled the plug, just as it did with Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
However, while those shows suffered considerable issues on their own -- from casting to overall narratives -- Daredevil never really suffered from those problems. Instead, it appears be collateral damage. Looking back at how the show kickstarted the Netflix/Marvel partnership, there are actually a few reasons why, given the timing, this decision is actually a huge mistake.
THE SHOW'S RECEPTION
Daredevil has been well-received by critics and fans alike, earning more than 90 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes. Those kinds of numbers are hard to come by, and even at their best the other Netflix shows would struggle to live up to such a high bar, especially due to the impact of Daredevil's debut season. Cox has been consistently phenomenal, but so too has the rest of the cast, with Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin and Deborah Ann Woll's Karen Page standing out and drawing fans in just as much as Cox did.
Those actors helped cement Daredevil as the grounded face of the Netflix/Marvel union, so much so that whatever happened in the other series, Daredevil stood on its own merits, as seen in Season 3, which moved away from the events of The Defenders within the opening minutes without anyone caring or asking questions. It's all about Daredevil, and that'll always be the case -- something fans appreciated fully.
It was expected some fans wouldn't return to watch the series after Luke Cage and Iron Fist's respective second seasons received lukewarm praise, but Daredevil had emotional depth, epic action sequences and drama, not to mention a solid showrunner in Erik Oleson, who cares about maintaining the high standard initially set by the series. If it's one show you could bet on to rebound, it's Daredevil, and we witnessed a creative team picking up the pieces in the wake of The Defenders, trudging on to craft a third season that was dynamite to say the least, and one which, really, you'd have to nitpick hard to find flaws in.
THE STORY NEVER DISAPPOINTED
Season 1 focused on Matt's origin as he became the protector of Hell's Kitchen, while Season 2 stripped him down and sent him to a dark place after meeting Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle. Season 3 then saw Matt undergoing a rebirth in an adaptation of the "Born Again" storyline, which felt like his overall origin was now complete. That journey made him a complete hero, with the supporting cast being just as intriguing and tormented as he was, all combining to help mold the story of light versus darkness in Hell's Kitchen.
From gangs and politics to mystical adventures, Daredevil had it all, and it felt like no matter which story was being adapted, it would be done competently. Even the change in Bullseye's history felt natural against the grimy underworld of the show's New York City, allowing fans to ignore how far it landed from the books.
And that's the strength this series had, and still has -- whether it's Matt, Karen of Wilson Fisk himself. Fans buy in and are invested in whatever change the writers want to make (heck, we were even cool after they killed off Ben Urich). That kind of trust is not an easy thing to achieve with diehard comic lovers, yet Daredevil's story always kept us hooked and accepting of what the creative team envisioned.