Keep Calm, Trope On: Marvel Television

We all have our favorite and least favorite tropes. From love triangles to slow burns, tropes are often the best ways to showcase great characters and storylines. They can also be frustrating and make you question why it is even a trope at all. In this bi-weekly column, we’ll take a deep dive into some of the most classic television tropes.

It’s been a hell of a year to be a Marvel fan — both on the big and small screen.

For starters, we finally got to watch ten years of cinematic gold come to an end in Avengers: Endgame. Whether you agreed with the end results, watching it reach a conclusion was most likely a very emotional process no matter what. But, hey, even if the Marvel Cinematic Universe we knew and loved was ending, we still have the TV universe to enjoy, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case as most of the Marvel television series that have been introduced to us over the years are no more.

The television series that built up Marvel television were truly pioneers. Sure, we will have series like Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision on Disney+ eventually, but it’s not the same as Daredevil and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Both shows, in their own way, started the new wave of Marvel television series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was on broadcast and, at times, followed along with what was happening in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil was on Netflix and for the most part, didn’t really align with the MCU. However, both shows allowed for multiple others to follow.

Source: Netflix

Daredevil became incredibly popular, if not because it was one of the first of the Marvel television series, but because it was one of the first original programs from Netflix. Daredevil’s success is the reason why Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and others graced our television screens. Of course, one of the big reasons for all these Netflix superhero “spinoffs” was that the powers that be wanted the ultimate crossover event. That eventually happened when Defenders came out in 2017.

Meanwhile, more Marvel shows continued to pop up outside of this mini-universe Netflix was building. Agent Carter, Cloak & Dagger, and Runaways premiered successfully, while others like Inhumans didn’t last too long. Still, this nice small screen world seemed to be thriving.

Until it wasn’t.

Flash forward to now. Literally every show that I have listed so far has come to an end. You can mostly blame Disney+ for this as they basically want to own all of their own content and not have other companies like Hulu and Netflix profit on their IP. While logically that makes sense, I can’t help but feel anything but hatred towards Disney for taking away shows that were just starting to get good.

For instance, I just binged season three of Runaways and I found it to be the best season yet. They were really getting their groove on and started to really dig deep on these characters. See, three seasons is just enough time for me to start to love characters and so taking them away right after is just cruel.

The real stinker is that it’s not like these shows were even bad or unpopular. Runaways, had a great LGBTQ representation throughout its run. Jon Bernthal gave one of the best performances of the year in The Punisher. And, well, Daredevil and Jessica Jones were just fantastic.

Source: ABC

I will admit, I am at least happy that most of these shows didn’t end on some major cliffhanger. Runways had a nice sendoff, Daredevil’s final episode served perfectly as a series finale, and Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. will go into its seventh season knowing it’s their last. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. As I said, I did love the third season of Runaways. Same with the most if not recent seasons of these other shows.

These shows, at times, were really good and it’s a shame we won’t get more just because of how greedy Disney is. Perhaps, life would have been easier if they all lived on the same network like The CW, and were able to get countless seasons and many crossovers. But I hate thinking in the “what ifs” of everything especially considering that it is because of where each show lived that made them so unique.

Daredevil was able to test the boundaries of what a normal superhero show could be. Had it been on broadcast, I’m sure it would have been lackluster compared to what it was. That’s why so many people didn’t really like the first season or two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For a show to come out right on the heels of The Avengers, it had a lot of high expectations. But because it was on a broadcast network, they had to play it safe and so there was just no way it would be at the same level as its blockbuster companions.

It took Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a little bit of time to get out of its comfort zone and start to figure itself out. When they realized that they could play off the MCU but still have its own unique qualities, that’s when it started to get good. From the moment Hydra came into play (following the MCU) and Inhumans were introduced (a unique aspect to the show), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. became something worth watching.

If only Runaways was treated with the same courtesy aka given time to find itself which I believe it was finally starting to do. I could spend hours ranting about how bitter I am Runaways is over, but what is the point? While I am a little hopeful that with Disney+ some of these shows like Runaways could be revived, I’m also a skeptic. I’d rather not waste my time holding my breath.

For now, I’ll just enjoy the good ol’ days and spend my time rewatching these gems before new Marvel content is released. That’s the great thing about Marvel TV, there is plenty of it.

Anyways, RIP Marvel TV.

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