It’s the million-dollar question: is a Marvel/Netflix series better served with eight episodes? Or 13?
The former template was applied to The Defenders, while shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage typically adhere to the 13-episode format. Another series to fall into the latter bracket is Steve Lightfoot’s hardboiled rendition of The Punisher, which stars former Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal in the title role.
And while The Punisher‘s first season was prone to pacing issues – as are all Marvel/Netflix series – Lightfoot swears by the 13-episode approach as it allows for a “slow burn show” with deep, compelling characters.
It’s an interesting thing, that. People have always said to me, ‘Do you wish you’d have had 10?’ and then I say, ‘Well then you would’ve had less story.’ I always wanted it to be a slow burn show. I always felt like we had the right amount for 13, and you’ve gotta have enough story for that but I like how slow burn and character-driven the shows are.
Lightfoot and his team certainly achieved that with The Punisher season 1, which involved a team-up between Frank Castle and Micro as they set about tracking down those responsible for the death of Frank’s family. It’s a quest which leads them to Billy Russo, a former ally of Frank’s who’s clearly ventured over into full-blown villain territory (i.e Jigsaw) in time for season 2.
With regards to the show’s opening season, though, Lightfoot explained how the audience’s reaction informed his approach to Frank’s next solo outing:
That’s always tricky because you get such a variation, some people love it, some people hate it, some people are in the middle. My personal opinion with that stuff is you just have to be true to the character and the story you choose to tell. You want them to love it obviously, but if you start worrying about the audience it can be a trap. I think we just have to keep trying to be true to Frank’s character and make him someone people want to hang out with.
The Punisher‘s second season is yet to nail down an official release window, but with new installments of Iron Fist and Daredevil seemingly on course for 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if Frank Castle’s sophomore series was shelved until 2019. Watch this space for more.