Disney, parent company of Marvel Entertainment, has recently made waves in the world of streaming entertainment. First, Disney announced in August that they would be offering their own streaming service, once the company’s current deal with Netflix expires in 2019. Last week, on an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that the service’s price point will be “substantially less” then Netflix’s.
That doesn’t mean that Marvel is sitting back and hoarding their IPs for the next year or two, nor are they breaking their existing commitments. In fact, Marvel has a pair of series debuting over four days on Netflix and Hulu, both of which were in place long before last August’s announcement.
Up first is The Punisher, debuting this Friday, November 17 on Netflix. Following the character’s introduction in Daredevil season two, The Punisher follows Frank Castle on his continued vendetta against those responsible for the murder of his family. In The Punisher‘s favor is the fact that the series is unencumbered from trying to set up The Defenders, which negatively impacted the back half of Daredevil season two and the entirety of Iron Fist season one. The series’ first season can tell its own story. On the flip side, The Punisher, as a property, has always fetishized gun culture and over-the-top violence. In response to the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the scheduled The Punisher panel was pulled from the most recent New York Comic Con.
What place does season one of The Punisher hold, both in the world of Marvel/Netflix properties and in our current socio-political climate? We’ll find out beginning this weekend.
If you like your Marvel shows to lean into the fantastic a little more than The Punisher, then Runaways might play more to your sensibilities. Debuting Tuesday, November 21 on Hulu, Runaways features a diverse group of teens united in their fight against a secret, villainous cabal made up of their parents. Like the Marvel series that air on Netflix, ABC, and the upcoming Freeform series Cloak & Dagger, Runaways takes place within the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe but has limited connectivity to the events of the films.
Working in Runaways favor is that the series should skew younger than The Punisher, potentially pulling in younger viewers who are on an extended break over the Thanksgiving holiday. The big question surrounding Runaways is whether the series can break the recent string of less-than-stellar offerings from Marvel Entertainment’s television division. While people hold different opinions on whether that softness began with the second half of Daredevil season two or later with Luke Cage, the reception of this year’s Iron Fist and Inhumans stand as examples critics and viewers alike point toward when discussing whether or not Marvel has lost its magic touch when it comes to television properties.
Will you be watching one or both series when they debut over the next few days? Do either fit into your holiday plans? Let us know in the comments below, and check back in December as we post our thoughts here at GeekDad.