Re: Marvel Cinematic Universe by Slider_Quinn21
I just think that these Netflix/Marvel shows would benefit from fewer episodes, or more standalone episodes where the characters are fighting one-off bad guys.
I see the "fewer episodes" stuff from critics and fans all the time. The 13-episode seasons are a relatively new concept, and a lot of shows are still happily doing 22-23....including comic-inspired shows like Arrow, Gotham, etc.
So when are we going to stop letting writers be lazy? Are we truly saying that a character like the Punisher or Daredevil doesn't have enough material for 13 episodes? That's ridiculous - these characters have had 50 years worth of stories in print. The writers should have enough material for 30-episode seasons.
I think the primary problem with the Netflix shows (and the reason I'm even talking about this now is that I'm a few episodes into Punisher now and can see it happening again) is that they, for some reason, insist on telling *one* story for the entire duration. Daredevil season 2 split the season up into two mini-seasons (one for Castle, one for Elektra), and Luke Cage split the season based on two villains (one dies and is replaced with another).
But, even in those cases, it's one story. One villain. What's crazy is that the show that did this the most, Jessica Jones, was the one show that has a built-in way to *not* tell those stories - the detective agency. It's a "crime of the week" format that has made shows like these drive for decades.
On Supernatural, Sam and Dean are usually fighting one big monster for a season, but they break that up by doing small stories where they fight a ghost or a werewolf or something. They aren't central to the main plot, but they can still be fun episodes where the characters learn and grow. Team Arrow might be fighting Prometheus for a season, but they still take down smaller crime syndicates in the mean time. Team Flash takes a break from fighting Savitar to fight other, smaller metas. It's how these shows can do multiple seasons of 23 episodes.
Let Jessica Jones solve some standard murder cases. Let Daredevil stumble upon a dogfighting ring. Let Luke Cage beat up a drug dealer that moved into Harlem. Let Danny Rand rescue a kid who's getting recruited into a street gang. I know that the Punisher is a revenge-driven story (although, as ireactions points out, it isn't even that anymore in the comics), but the first episode of the Netflix show is just about him saving a kid. They could do four of those a season and save episodes full of talking.
It would break up the monotony, and it'd give the heroes a few wins along the way. Because half the reason why these stories feel so long is because, a lot of the time, they're getting *this* close to taking down the villain for them to slip out of the way. I can't remember how many times Jessica Jones had Kilgrave in her grasp, only for him to slither away.
Tell stories. Not just one story. And you'll find that 13 episodes isn't too much. It shouldn't be nearly enough.