While many fans would like to play Daredevil’s advocate for their favorite canceled Marvel show, it won’t bring the embattled piece of Netflix/Marvel territory back. But they may take solace in knowing that they aren’t alone. Not by a long shot.
The flagship show leading the Defenders’ takeover of the streaming service was cancelled for a lot of reasons — creative differences, Disney+ being on the horizon, Netflix having its own successful non-Marvel shows, the higher engagement required by the Marvel shows to make up for the higher overhead — but lack of an audience doesn’t seem to be one of them. According to Deadline, people were still watching Daredevil the week its fourth season was canned — lots of them.
The site cites Parrot Analytics, which shows data that Daredevil only lagged behind the Netflix originals Narcos, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Stranger Things in “viewer demand” through the week ending on Dec. 1. And that’s not just a ranking of Netflix shows; that’s a ranking of all “digital originals in the United States across all streaming platforms.” That means Daredevil may have been fourth to a few Netflix originals, but it still beat out every single original show put up by Hulu or Amazon.
How better to show off the higher bar for these Marvel shows than to have one beat out the hundreds of random originals offered up by the multitude of streaming services out there, then get cancelled anyways? It’s a lesson in economics beating out audience demand in an industry where those are seemingly linked, but often rarely as closely as fans might expect.
If anything, this news takes the pressure off of Jessica Jones and The Punisher, the two Marvel shows with seasons remaining at Netflix, to have to overly market themselves. They could get very weird, very experimental, and very, very bold. Why not? It’s not like shocked critics or uneasy fans would affect their chances of renewal. And maybe they’d do something groundbreaking with the chance.