“Finally something good from Marvel” were my first thoughts about Netflix´ new show “Daredevil”. It’s the first production from the publisher’s cinematic universe that I actually like because it is dark, serious and has a great villain. Normally in other Marvel productions like “The Avengers”, “Iron Man” or even “Guardians of the Galaxy” the only goal is to entertain and stop there. I guess because this is the way to sell the most tickets and the way the common folk likes it. But not me or any other true cinema fan I know. These kind of movies can be fun for a while but generally you want something different from the superhero universe. This is where “Daredevil” comes in:
It tells the story of a blind lawyer by the name of Matt Murdock who starts to fight crime in the area of “Hell’s Kitchen” in the city New York. The series reminds me of the Batman movies of Christopher Nolan like “The Dark Knight”. The atmosphere of the city is very dark and the hero is a profound person. Like Batman Dardevil has no supernatural superpowers, only his senses are superhumanly enhanced. Because of this he is a more interesting and relatable character. Definitely the best (comic themed) show of the last year.
Saul Goodman was always good for a joke in the ground breaking TV series “Breaking Bad”. In the spin-off “Better Call Saul” on the other hand we get to see the other side of the later successful lawyer, it tells the story how a desperate man named Jimmy McGill broke bad. Some people may say that “Better Call Saul” is just a rip-off of “Breaking Bad” but it’s not. Because the spin-off does not destroy the original, it tells the story from a totally different perspective and actor Bob Odenkirk gives his character a new deepness. His life story may even be considered more tragic than Walter White’s. Because at least Walter had a family who supported him (at some point). Jimmy on the other hand has nobody but himself, a tiny office and his wit. For me the best drama series of 2015.
3. Mr. Robot
A TV show about a hacker who wants to fight capitalism and hates Marvel movies? With “Mr. Robot” I coulnd’t resist to watch the whole first season in a marathon. The series combines a lot of social and psychoanalytic themes of “Fight Club” with modern problems of our technological present. A masterpiece (and not only for nerds)! Because creator of the series, Sam Esmail, accomplished to reanimate the Occupy movement against the Wall Street (in spirit) by creating a cyber-thriller that combines nihilistic pessimism about technology with income inequality and capitalism. How protagonist Elliot already realised: “What I’m about to tell you is top secret. A conspiracy bigger than all of us. There is a powerful group of people out there that are secretly running the world. I’m talking about the guys no one knows about, the guys that are invisible. The top one percent of the top one percent, the guys that play god without permission.”
“Jessica Jones” is the second comic themed show in this list but like “Daredevil” it deserves to be here. Because the series continues Netflix´ ambition to show the dark and more serious side of superheroes. So who is Jessica Jones? The character was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos and first appeared in the comic “Alias #1”. In 2010 she also became a member of the “New Avengers”.
Now the adaption is not without mistakes. For example the rhythm of the show is sometimes not conclusive. But it is refreshing to see a series where the protagonist is a woman because let’s face it: In other famous drama series like “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men” the women are only shown as passive, one-dimensional characters and the men are the active heroes. But in “Jessica Jones” the women rule the city and have to save it. In the first season they have to save it from “Killgrave”, the most evil villain in the Marvel universe so far. Killgrave is obsessed with Jessica not because of her looks (like it is the only purpose of women in most Hollywood productions) but because she is a powerful and intelligent person. We need more shows like this!
People who are addicted (in the truest sense of the word) to TV series will love this show. “Narcos” tells the story of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar and the people who want to catch him. The series shows the myth of this famous, historical character who was loved by the poor of his country and also hated for his crimes. The first episodes show his life from the late 1970s when he started manufacturing cocaine. Later in the first season the show chronicles his various escapes and other main events of Columbia and his relationship to them. With Wagner Moura they also found the perfect actor to play Escobar (no matter what people say who criticized him for his Brazilian accent). He carries the myth on – at least until the next season.
6. Show Me A Hero
“Show Me A Hero” is the only mini series in this list and it deserves to be considered as one of the best shows of 2015 because it has an important subject: racism in the United States. The story is about mayor Nick Wasicsko who has to deal with the serious subject of the building of public housing in the white, middle class side of the town Yonkers. As producer of the show, David Simon, said it best in an interview with Indiewire: “There’s nothing wrong with violence or sex or dragons, but every now and then it’d be nice if we actually argue about what ails us.” And no story is better than the one that is based on true events.
7. Ash vs Evil Dead
“Shoot first, think never.” – This is Ash vs Evil Dead. I don’t know what else to say about this series, other than it’s great and you have to watch it! I only recommend not to watch the trailer because it already spoils the best jokes of the whole season. Nothing left to say than: enjoy!
8. Into The Badlands
After the first episode of “Into The Badlands” I was not hooked. But later the story of the show became as good as its fighting sequences. It is about a mighty warrior by the name of Sunny and a gifted young boy who search for a better life outside a ruthless territory controlled by feudal barons (so technically the series should be called “Out Of The Badlands”). One of those barons is “The Widow” who is the leader of female warriors. So thankfully “Into The Badlands” is not one of these shows that is a boys club and only concentrate on strong male characters. The series found the perfect balance of power. I hope in the next season it will continue like that.