Marvel dipped their toe into broadcast television with ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which hasn't exactly set the world alight but pulls in around 7m viewers most weeks. A TV show for Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is still on the cards, following the success of the short movie attached to Iron Man 3, but Marvel are now pressing ahead with four 13-episode live-action shows to debut exclusively on Netflix: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
These four characters will inhabit a shared universe in New York, leading up to a miniseries event called The Defenders where they'll team-up. So Marvel are basically following their successful big-screen template of standalone solo films that climaxed with The Avengers, only with minor league characters.
Of course, Daredevil is the headline act (a lawyer blinded by toxic chemicals that gives him "radar sense" and heightened athleticism), but most people probably haven't even heard of the others. Jessica Jones is a high school student who gains super strength, flight and limited invulnerability after a traffic accident involving chemicals (those damn chemicals!); Iron Fist (aka Daniel Rand) is the son of a wealthy businessman who discovered a mystical foreign city, where he was later taught martial arts; and Luke Cage is a former-criminal who gains super-strength and near-impervious skin.
Alan Fine, President of Marvel Entertainment:
"This deal is unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel's brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling. Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel's speciality. This serialised epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television, and gives fans the flexibility to immerse themselves how and when they want in what's sure to be a thrilling and engaging adventure."Ted Sarandos, Netflix's Chief Content Officer:
"Marvel's movies, such as Iron Man and Marvel's The Avengers are huge favourites on our service around the world. Like Disney, Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels. With House of Cards and our other original series, we have pioneered new approaches to storytelling and to global distribution and we're thrilled to be working with Disney and Marvel to take our brand of television to new levels with a creative project of this magnitude."Daredevil will launch first in 2015, with the others following soon after, all produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Television Studios. No casting news yet, but the rumours are sure to flow.