I’m not sure that we can call some of the latest Netflix shows art, necessarily, but then I’m not quite so hung up on that label or marker or validation as some folks are. In my hosuse we’ve been enjoying Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, and Daredevil, and have plowed through them all, and I’m interested in how these series that feel as if they come from a New York of the dangerous 70s (they don’t – these comics all came out in the early aughts) play in a culture that clearly obsesses about crime more than it is affected by it. The popularity of these series now in a sense, I think, add yet another qualifier here, reifies a sense of danger that has to come from somewhere (right?).
I’m fairly certain that the appearance of these series at this time isn’t a coincidence. All of these series pay homage to tried-and-true pulp tropes, but they pride themselves I’m guessing on the generic tweaks and cultural examinations that they utilize, amidst the pounding fists and blood. As I think I’ve said in another post, the Marvel-based series all use the teevee version of the comic book as a basis for examinations of other topics – Jessica Jones and issues of privacy and personal boundaries, Daredevil and loneliness, and Stranger Things comes directly from 80s mainstream Hollywood films and plays with that line that 80s films loved to tinker with, evil adults being faced down by kids.
Here’s to looking at where that danger comes from, and how nostalgia figures into this equation, in subsequent posts.