Marvel’s new series Daredevil doesn’t look like the company’s other television offerings, like Agents of SHIELD. The violence is bloodier, the palette murkier, the humor darker. But what convinced me this was something way different was the second episode — when the show avoided my least favorite trope.
At the start of the second episode of Daredevil, we find the Man Without Fear in a dumpster, beaten within an inch of his life. And if this were a network TV show, we would probably linger on that terrible situation for a beat, or a whole scene, and then a caption card would come up that says: “24 HOURS EARLIER.” This is one of the most overused devices on television, and at times it feels like you see it on The CW at least once every week.
But instead of taking your hand and leading you, like a small child, through the series of events that led to Daredevil being beaten up, the show lets you reach the obvious conclusion: He had a fight, and he lost. No need to show us that, because we can see the effects with our own eyes.
To make matters even better, an episode or two later, the show actually lampoons this device. There’s a moment where a thug is rousting a bowling alley, and the caption card pops up to show us the events of 48 hours earlier. Are we about to see how the thug came to be at the bowling alley, and why he’s hassling these guys? Nope. It’s just the set-up for a hilarious, Tarantino-esque joke.
You can sort of tell that Daredevil is written by veteran TV writers, who are enjoying getting to tell a story without all of the network restrictions, and every now and then they throw in a laugh at the expense of those usual constraints. Thus letting us know that this really isn’t your regular CW adventure, or ABC Marvel show.
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