Luke Cage Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker on the style

Comic Book Resources have spoken to Luke Cage Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker about its tone. Luke Cage is the third series in a shared universe of Marvel Comics adaptations, following Daredevil (Showrunners: Drew GoddardSteven S. DeKnight and Marco Ramirez) and Jessica Jones (Showrunners: Liz Friedman and Melissa Rosenberg). Coker also elaborated-upon the way Luke Cage is influenced by hip-hop albums and his own history as a reader of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire – the serialised comic strip pamphlets in-which Cage first appeared.

For me, hip-hop has always been black superhero music. And now we have a black superhero that matches the music. When you think about Wu-Tang, when you think about A Tribe Called Quest records like Midnight Marauders, it’s deep in the culture, but at the same time, it’s become the new rock and roll. Everybody accepts it, everybody understands it. That’s really the vibe of the show, on one hand, we’re dealing with Harlem in ways that really haven’t been dealt with. But at the same time, it’s a superhero show. At the same time, you get to meet Luke Cage. You get to meet Misty Knight. You get to meet all these other characters. It’s these comics come to life with a hip-hop vibe. It’s incredibly fun. We go all the way back to the beginning in terms of the vibe, but it’s modernized. If you’re a fan of the comic, it will be a very familiar world. When I say this is a fantasy come true for me — it’s such an amazing opportunity. Just as a geek, I love this world. To be able to write in a serious way inside of this is really cool, as well. For our show — yes, we deal with serious themes. Imagine what somebody with bulletproof skin, how that could affect the neighborhood [sic] when it comes to crime. We deal, in a very realistic way, with how that influences the neighborhood [sic], without revealing anything. It’s grounded, but at the same time, the fantasy element of it also, I think, will attract people. We have something that’s very dramatic, but at the same time, we don’t run away from our comic book roots. We embrace them.

Luke Cage streams on Netflix 30th September.

Daredevil season one — television season review

Premièred by Netflix.
Episode one: Into the Ring by Drew Goddard
Episode two: Cut Man by Drew Goddard
Episode three: Rabbit in a Snowstorm by Marco Ramirez.
Episode four: In the Blood by Joe Pokaski
Episode five: World on Fire by Luke Kaltaux
Episode six: Condemned by Joe Pokaski and Marco Ramirez
Episode seven: Stick by Douglas Petrie
Episode eight: Shadows in the Glass by Steven S. DeKnight
Episode nine: Speak of the Devil by Christos Gage and Ruth Fletcher Gage
Episode ten: Nelson v Murdock by Luke Kaltaux
Episode eleven: The Path of the Righteous by Steven S. DeKnight and Douglas Petrie
Episode twelve: The Ones we Leave Behind by Douglas Petrie
Episode thirteen: Daredevil by Steven S. DeKnight.

It’s taken me so long, but I’ve finally finished Daredevil season one. And honestly, I think this was really mishandled. There are some very strong episodes, that zoom-in on certain aspects, but the rest are just kind of… meh.

This show is clearly an experiment. Marvel Television know that streaming is the future, and I’m glad they decided to distribute this via Netflix, because that prompted me to sign-up, and in doing-so I discovered a wealth of other shows. But the greatest flaw with this is the length. It’s much longer than it needs to be. The main praise point of this is the way it feels like a thirteen-hour feature with a chapter selection. But I say that’s where it drops-short. The best episodes are those that focus on one thing, like the way Murdock’s vision works, or how Franklin Nelson would react to discovering that Murdock’s the vigilante they’ve been trying to take-down. Because that’s the best selling point of television; that it doesn’t have to work like a film, it can be episodic. Instead, what Daredevil does is to tell a continuous story without the supporting structure of the individual episode. The season’s so eager to tell an overarching narrative that it forgets the most important element of television: the serial story.

It’s a myth that story arcs are popular, or that they sell. The story arc is just an excuse to tell a story. Have it happening, yes, and have it pay-off in the end for audience satisfaction, but remember that it’s only there to be with these characters. The best kind of shows blend these things together, so the audience can’t tell what’s part of the story arc and what’s part of that week’s episode. Because what they’re then responding to, even if they don’t realise it, is good storytelling.

Daredevil season one is not good storytelling. But it tries to be. Unfortunately, it tries so hard, so much, that it collapses under its own tedious plot-fullness. It focuses on so many characters in order to drive the plot forward that it races to the finish line, forgetting to enjoy the view out of its own window on the way. Surely Nelson could’ve discovered that Murdock’s Daredevil until at least next season? That would have given everything else more room to breathe. But instead, everything’s packed-in so close that I continued watching only to see where it was going, not because I was enjoying what was happening. I’d rather take the scenic route to the end, meandering around the fishing lakes, and have a good time than finish as fast possible and forget most of the experience.