2. Daredevil (Netflix)

The best superheroes of all time are those who weren’t born with powers, but gained their strength from loss. Batman lost his parents and, essentially, went insane. Matt Murdock lost his eyesight, and gained a heightened sense of everything else, including, it seems, right and wrong.

People hated the Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck playing the role of Murdock, and in the same pocket of time when Affleck moves up to the role of Bruce Wayne, it’s Daredevil that has people more excited about superheroes who have overcome loss to be great.

Daredevil is great.

The 13-episode run is less a superhero show and more a look at how one man can get beaten down time and time again and always get back up.

Charlie Cox is solid as Murdock, though his native accent sneaks through far too much to be a believable New Yorker—the show is set in Hell’s Kitchen—but the rest of the supporting cast is perfect, from Elden Henson as silly sidekick lawyer with a heart of gold, Foggy Nelson, to Deboran Ann Woll as victim turned employee turned confidant, Karen Page, to Roario Dawson as Claire, the nurse who helps Murdock heal both physically and, at times, mentally.

And yet, it’s all overshadowed by Vincent D’Onofrio’s amazing work as Wilson Fisk.

Fisk only appears in 11 episodes of the 13, with just his voice in episode one, a risk that could only be taken by a show people were forced to binge. And, yes, Fisk’s personal life is perhaps a bit of a departure from the traditional “big bad” image of the character, but that’s what makes it all the more compelling. He is at once an enormous child and maniacal sociopath, and which comes out when is amazing to watch.

More than anything, the way Daredevil was shot, and the way we see what Matt sees, (and sometimes we can’t see) is all so much better than people expected, and so much better than the Affleck movie, that people cannot wait for season two.

Show Hero/ Show Lead Support Cast Main Villain Other villains Overall Storyline Crisis of the Week Show “Look” Overall Score
Daredevil 8.60 8.00 9.09 7.09 8.76 7.36 8.80 8.24

“I can’t be objective because Matt Murdock is one of my favorite comic book characters. But the Netflix show gets him right, along with why he and Wilson Fisk are such bitter rivals. I just wish I liked that costume better. It’s a disappointment I’ve never quite been able to get over.” – Ian Casselberry

“The darker the retelling of a comic, the more I like it. Reasons why non-network superhero shows carry more favor with me.”

“D’onofrio was excellent, had the best fight scenes, helped by a relatively small cast.”

“Ridiculously strong cast (other than the lead, which is notable), the worst part was the lull in certain episodes as the focus would shift to intermediary crises because the extraneous villains/storylines couldn’t carry things enough. Maybe just a little *too* dark in terms of cinematography as it was difficult to see some fight scenes due to lack of lighting.”

“Way better than I was expecting. Excellent.” – Mike M.

“Holy crap that is everything you’d want adapting Daredevil in front of a camera. Vincent Donofrio is awesome as Kingpin and I really like the chemistry of the ‘good guys.’ It fixes what I think is lacking (for me anyway) with Marvel’s network shows — actual superheroes!”

“I don’t care about his feelings. Why is Kingpin such a pansy?” – Joe Coblitz

“The best superhero show out there! It has the dark gritty feel of Nolan’s Dark Knight Series and a villain that is on the same level as Ledger’s Joker with Kingpin. The whole show is absolutely amazing! If you can only watch one of these shows for the rest of your life, it’s gotta be this one!” – Zach Burke

“The problem with Daredevil is that its last episode was its weakest by a wide margin, and there’s every chance that the series will be much less convincing when it’s centered on a guy wearing the goofy costume that he puts on in the finale.” – Matt Terl



1. Jessica Jones (Netflix)

It was hard for Marvel and Netflix to follow up Daredevil with a relatively unknown character in Jessica Jones, a somewhat recent creation by Brian Michael Bendis who has had a ton of interaction with the Avengers in the comics, but isn’t exactly a household name, even for comic book fans. Marvel and Netflix threw up the “trust us” sign when they rolled out this show. And they proved we should.

Jessica Jones is gut-wrenching to watch and difficult to binge (though my wife watched all 13 episodes in less than 24 hours she was so hooked). It’s less a superhero show and more—like Daredevil in some ways—a show about pain and how much abuse someone can take before they break. Jessica Jones the character, played by Krysten Ritter, is awful, in a lot of great ways. She’s just kind of a jerk, but as the show goes on you learn more and more of the reasons why. I’ll admit I didn’t love the choice for the title character, but after watching it, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the part.

It’s also hard to imagine anyone playing the role of Kilgrave—”what, was Murdercorpse taken”—than David Tennant, who his at times both terrifying and sympathetic, a science experiment in his own right gone horribly wrong.

Kilgrave can control minds, and the pain and anguish he causes his victims feels as real as anything you can feel watching a show on TV.

The supporting cast is very good, helped by Mike Colter, who is installed as Luke Cage, before he gets his own show on Netflix this year. Eka Darville as Malcolm, Rachel Taylor as Trish “Patsy” Walker, and Carrie-Anne Moss as the lawyer Jeri Hogarth all play a vital role in Jones’ life, though it will be interesting to see as the show gets a second season how much any can stand on their own.

The only negative for the show is the lack of a secondary storyline in almost any way. There were a few cases Jones—a failed superhero turned private investigator—goes on, but not all that much, as everything built to her fight with Kilgrave, including his mind control of a cop, Will Simpson, played by Wil Traval, who becomes part love interest to Trish and part hideous pill-popping monster; a Marvel TV version of the villain Nuke from the comics.

Jessica Jones is less a TV show and more a 13-hour movie, so it will be very interesting to see how they can possibly back up season one with another as good. As with Flash and Arrow and other network shows, they can easily get stale as the episodes build up. Will we see 36 episodes of this, and will it still hit as hard as it does when we get there?

For now, it’s tops on the list, and frankly given the numbers, a surprise it rated higher than Daredevil. Either way, you cannot go wrong—certainly Marvel hasn’t.

Show Hero/ Show Lead Support Cast Main Villain Other villains Overall Storyline Crisis of the Week Show “Look” Overall Score
Jessica Jones 9.22 8.13 9.57 6.47 8.70 7.16 8.78 8.29


“Jessica Jones is a compellingly messed-up character worth watching, and Luke Cage was a pleasant surprise. But the supporting characters were almost all completely unnecessary. And as fascinating a villain as Kilgrave was, he seemed too easily beaten by the end.” – Ian Casselberry

“Kilgrave/The Purple Man was the best villain of any superhero movie or show.” – Jordan White

“Best use of Hero vs Villain. Ritter and Tennant were amazing.”

“The most daring show on this list with the best villain and main character-pairing. Like Daredevil, Jessica Jones had two or three episodes which really dragged as focus shifted to something not related to David Tennant, which will be a challenge for season two. Relying heavily on the relationship between Jones and Luke Cage would be an easy remedy.”

“Did not have high expectations at all, largely because I normally don’t like Krysten Ritter, but I absolutely loved it.” – Mike M.

“I liked Daredevil slightly more than Jessica Jones, but when you break it down into these components, Jessica Jones comes out on top!” – Paul L.

“The supporting characters question nearly broke my brain on this one, because they really cover the spectrum. Mike Colter is terrific as Luke Cage. Carrie-Anne Moss does some fascinating things with the character of Jeri Hogarth. Rachael Taylor improves as Patsy Walker over the course of the series, while Wil Traval’s Will Simpson starts interesting and deteriorates into a (very) poor man’s Nicolas Cage schtick. And there are plenty of people who turn in solid or workmanlike or even decent performances. But Colby Minifie’s Robin is one of the worst characters to appear in anything that has Marvel’s imprimatur, including everyone from Season 1 of Agents of SHIELD, so while the mode and median are pretty solid for the supporting cast, that one character drags the mean down precipitously. – Matt Terl

“I wish more shows did this one villain per season format.” – Joe Coblitz

“Marvel + Netflix = Great Show. That’s all that really needs to be said.” – Zach Burke

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.