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‘Daredevil’ v. ‘The Flash’: What Makes a Good Superhero TV Show?

'Daredevil' v. 'The Flash': What Makes a Good Superhero TV Show?

Debating the difficulty and necessity of drama over comedy (and vice versa) has been an ongoing argument since, well, the Oscars made it such a big deal, really. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been choosing the default “best film” rather than splitting the designation between genres forever, leaving some comedy fans out in the cold when the funniest or most fun film is regularly ignored.

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We don’t have that issue in the TV world, as last year’s winners of Outstanding Drama Series (“Game of Thrones”) and Outstanding Comedy Series (“Veep”) absolutely represented their genres. One was dark and violent, the other light and funny (even if both are varying degrees of vicious). But one genre that usually isn’t discussed in the small screen’s awards race — okay, it’s never discussed — might not actually be a single genre after all. Superhero shows have not only grown in number but range, as well. 

Take, for instance, Netflix’s “Daredevil” series. It seems aimed squarely at the drama side of things with its borderline-black visual palette, bloody battle scenes and serious subject matter. Over on The CW, “The Flash” is very much the opposite. With its bright color spectrum, stylized fights and fun overall tone, Greg Berlanti’s universe looks quite different than Drew Goddard’s. Yet both shows are pushing an hour in length, and both would likely fall under the “drama” category if they decided to make an awards run. More to the point, though, is that both shows are consistently referred to as “superhero” shows, even though they’re so very, very different in all other aspects than having a central figure who dons an ensemble and fights crime.

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Here to break down the discussion a bit further are Indiewire Very Good TV Podcast hosts Liz Shannon Miller and Ben Travers. Don’t forget to subscribe to Very Good TV Podcast via Soundcloud or iTunes. Follow Indiewire on Twitter and Facebook for all your pertinent TV news, and check out Liz and Ben’s Twitter feeds for more, more, more. Plus, don’t forget to listen to Indiewire’s other podcastsScreen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson, as well as Indiewire Influencers, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Dana Harris and featuring various guests relevant to anyone tracking independent film or the entertainment industry in general.

Related Articles and News:
– Check out Liz’s review of “Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2” as well as her interview with the guys running the show

– Looking for a more traditional crime fighter? Michael Connelly and the Amazon cop drama’s showrunners break down “Bosch” Season 2 in this interview

– Get ready for “Veep” Season 5 with the first trailer that just hit today. 

– Are you watching “The Americans”? If you are, make sure to read our episode reviews. If not…what gives? 

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