With a critical darling and audience favorite like Daredevil getting the axe, the writing’s on the wall for the Netflix/Marvel Studios partnership. It seems that with Disney eyeing Netflix’s dominance of the streaming market, they’ve decided there’s no point in having their own IPs in competition against the parent company and have begun to wrap up these shows. We’ve already lost Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, and while there are still seasons of The Punisher and Jessica Jones to come, it’s likely they’ll be the final chapter for the street-level Marvel heroes seen on Netflix.
As this deal falls apart, we’re beginning to hear about behind the scenes clashes between Netflix and Disney about their approach to the shows and one, in particular, feels very important. One of the common criticisms of the Netflix lineup was that each show laboriously dragged out its plotlines over too many episodes. This affected even the jewels in their crown like Jessica Jones season 1, and made getting through Iron Fist and The Defenders a genuine chore.
Now, we’re hearing that Netflix recognized this and campaigned for shorter and more concise seasons. The information comes from former head of strategy for Amazon Studios, Matthew Ball, who tweeted the following:
“Netflix reportedly wanted to shorten the seasons, thereby reducing total spend and improving retention and quality (Netflix’s shows, especially the Marvel ones, are famously bloated). Reportedly from 13 eps to 6-8.”
He’s absolutely right. I think 6-8 episodes a season would have been perfect for pretty much every Netflix show and would have assisted with the mid-season doldrums that every single MCU TV show seems to get bogged down in. It’s interesting that the Marvel TV division (who were presumably adamant that every season must be 13 episodes) seem to be where Disney sticks the Marvel creatives they can’t sack, but don’t want them interfering in the movie projects. Perhaps the Disney+ shows being produced under Kevin Feige will avoid this pitfall then? We can only hope.