Monday, March 13, 2017

Iron Fist TL;DW

I have written these “Too Long; Didn’t Watch” articles before for upcoming movies, but this is the first time I’ve felt the need to write one for a television series.  However, with the TV corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuing to expand, I feel like it’s only faith that I put together a “Too Long; Didn’t Watch” article to anticipate the Netflix release of Iron Fist later this week.  The “TL;DW” articles for the movies have offered viewing suggestions, but I don’t think I can really do that here.  For one thing, it’s only 3 days until Iron Fist comes out; for another, there is so much TV to wade through, and it’s pretty much impossible to pick and choose which episode to watch, at least with the Netflix series.

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For the sake of brevity, this “TL;DW” will ignore everything happening in the movies (apart from acknowledging Doctor Strange), as well as Agent Carter, which takes place in 1946-47 and probably won’t be much of a factor on Iron Fist.  Of course, just because I said that, Peggy Carter will find a way to appear on Iron Fist, just to make me look stupid.  I will deal with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. first, and then take the Netflix seasons in order of release.  At the end I will note the other upcoming TV series, though I doubt there will be much connection to Iron Fist.

Note:  Here is your (inevitable) SPOILER warning:  from here on out, this article contains major spoilers for everything having to do with Marvel TV!  You have been warned…

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Through three-and-two-thirds seasons, AoS has expanded the MCU by making major connections to all but a couple of the MCU movies.  The first season showed a lot of behind-the-scenes information about the workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a global peacekeeping organization that specializes in containing and covering-up the “weird.”  At the end of the season, S.H.I.E.L.D. gets dissolved due to the Hydra uprising in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, leaving Coulson’s team of agents on the run and trying to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D.  Season two continues this theme of rebuilding while also blowing the lid open on the Inhumans with the reveal that Agent Skye is really Daisy Johnson, a.k.a. Quake, and a secret Inhuman.  Following Skye/Daisy’s Terrigenesis, S.H.I.E.L.D. comes into contact with a group of Inhumans which attempts to attack S.H.I.E.L.D.  In the ensuing battle the (rogue) Inhuman leader is defeated, but Daisy accidentally releases Terrigen into the planet’s water supply.

During season three, S.H.I.E.L.D. works to contain the damage of the spreading Terrigen while simultaneously improving relations with the U.S. Government.  Following a final battle against Hydra, led by its Inhuman “god,” Hive, S.H.I.E.L.D. enters season four as a legitimate agency of the U.S. Government again, led by the “Inhuman” Director Jeffrey Mace.  S.H.I.E.L.D. encounters Robbie Reyes, a.k.a. “Ghost Rider,” before being infiltrated and overthrown by the Life Model Decoy AIDA.  As it stands, four agents have been replaced (Mace, Coulson, Mack, and Fitz), and two more (Daisy and Simmons) entered the Framework to rescue them.

Before moving on, I need to point out that Iron Fist is actually Clark Gregg’s (Phil Coulson) favorite Marvel character, and he said a while back that he was begging for a cameo in the series.  However, unless the Netflix timeline is out of sync with the rest of the MCU, such a cameo wouldn’t work too well (unless the cameo is by an L.M.D. of Coulson, in which case timeline is mostly irrelevant!).

Daredevil season 1

The first season of Daredevil introduces the character, as well as Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. the Kingpin.  Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer by day, but at night he uses his enhanced senses to become a vigilante and battle the criminal underworld of Hell’s Kitchen—including Nobu (a representative of the Hand ninja clan) and the enigmatic heroin dealer Madam Gao.  Early in his hero career, Matt meets Claire Temple (the “Night Nurse”), who patches him up and offers moral support.  At the end of the season, he receives an armored suit from Melvin Potter and uses it to become “Daredevil” and send Fisk to prison.

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Jessica Jones season 1

Jessica Jones is a private investigator who received super strength and a moderate healing factor in a chemical accident.  She uses her power for her business, but must serve the greater good when Kilgrave, a sociopath from her past with the ability to bend anyone to his will, returns for vengeance against her.  She also meets Luke Cage, a man with super strength and unbreakable skin, whom Kilgrave turns against her.  After Claire helps Jessica save Luke’s life, Claire and her childhood friend Trish Walker fight and defeat Kilgrave.  At the end of the season, Jessica’s private investigator business (Alias Enterprises) has become a super-powered help agency for Hell’s Kitchen.

Daredevil season 2

The second season of Daredevil sees Matt doing a decent job of juggling his legal career and vigilante “side project.”  However, this changes when he must stop a new vigilante in Hell’s Kitchen who uses extreme violence to mete out “punishment.”  Daredevil succeeds in stopping Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher, who goes to (and escapes) the same prison where Fisk is serving his sentence.  Meanwhile, Matt’s ex-girlfriend Elektra returns to wreak havoc on his life.  Claire is still working at the same hospital in Hell’s Kitchen, where she treats a group of “hostages” of the Hand and brings a Hand attack down on the hospital.  Following the attack, Claire decides to leave Hell’s Kitchen and return home to Harlem.

As part of his investigation into Castle, Matt confronts Madam Gao (who had returned to Hell’s Kitchen from her mysterious “home”). She gives him information that leads him to the boat where the heroin dealer responsible for the deaths of Castle’s family is supposed to be hiding.  Matt finds Castle there just before the boat is blows up and Castle is presumed dead.  Matt and Elektra finally team up to stop the Hand, an ancient ninja clan, from fulfilling their plan to destroy Hell’s Kitchen and unleash the “Black Sky.”  In the battle, Elektra is killed, though the Hand claims her body and is seen attempting to resurrect her as their weapon.

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Luke Cage season 1

After his run-in with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage returned to his (late) wife’s home of Harlem to work and stay under the radar.  However, he is forced to take an active role in the community by the actions of first Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, the self-proclaimed “boss” of Harlem, and then of his half-brother Diamondback.  He also meets Harlem police detective Misty Knight, who befriends him and helps him in his fight against Cottonmouth.  When Luke is injured by an experimental bullet (the “Judas”), Claire treats him.  Luke eventually defeats Diamondback, though in so doing his past catches up to him and he is returned to Seagate Prison in Georgia to serve out the remainder of his prison term.

This is the final Netflix series before Iron Fist season 1.

Future TV Series/Seasons

As of now, all three previous Netflix series have been renewed for another season, though it is unclear when they will be released.  In addition to the existing shows, a team-up crossover series, The Defenders, has been filmed and is scheduled for release this summer.  Finally, The Punisher, a spinoff from Daredevil, was ordered and has already been filmed.  The Punisher will likely be released this fall or winter.

On ABC (and related platforms), two additional Marvel shows have been announced, cast, and begun filming.  Marvel’s Inhumans will debut its first two episodes in IMAX theaters this September before airing on ABC.  Cloak and Dagger follows teenagers who receive powers and will air on Freeform (formerly ABC Family) in either late 2017 or 2018.

Finally, Marvel’s Runaways has filmed its pilot and will (assuming it is picked up for a full season) air its episodes on Hulu.  This series is about a team of teenagers who discover that not only are their parents super-villains, but they themselves have the same abilities as their parents.

Iron Fist Season 1

Iron Fist will be released on Netflix this Friday.  Thus far we know that Claire Temple will continue to be the bridge connecting the Netflix shows, as she will be a student at Colleen Wing’s martial arts school.  In addition, Madam Gao has also been confirmed to appear as a villain (she may be the MCU equivalent of the Crane Mother).

On Thursday I will have more in terms of expectations for this series.  For now I will say that I am excited to see what will happen here and how it will set up The Defenders for later this year.  Even though the early reviews have not been great, I am hopeful that the series will still be good (enough).  But we won’t know until Friday…

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