A couple of days ago i finished binge-watching Marvel's Daredevil season 2. While I intend to write a review on the show's minor flaws and many brilliant accomplishments, I would like to address my expectations for Marvel's Luke Cage, expected to debut on September 30th.
Daredevil was a perfect blend of courtroom-drama, crime series and action. In season 2 they amped up the ninja-factor and even tried to discuss the moral dilemmas of acting like a vigilante. Jessica Jones was a noir-ish detective series / psychological thriller that discussed abuse in, what I found, a very mature way. Abuse can be very nuanced and covered behind words, which Kilgrave's took to a literal level. JJ's strength was that it did not even try to imitate DD's successful formula, but found its own voice.
Marvel's Netflix series so far have primarily been genre-shows, and let the superhero-aspect be more subtle than most superhero-movies. What we've learned so far about Luke Cage is that it will tell the story of an ex-con, freed from jail after having been framed to do the cake in the first place. It will supposedly take cues from the Wire and be a meditation on police-racism.
I really like the premise, as the Wire is one of my favorite TV-series of all times. Luke Cage as a character is the perfect Marvel-property to address these issues. However, I am a bit concerned if they manage to pull it off. So far, Netflix has mostly provided us with smart shows, but I am afraid the series might get too preachy, which I do not enjoy at all when social issues are discussed. The best properties are less black-and-white but let the audience decide what to think about it.
In no way do I accept police brutality or racism, but I feel the racial tensions should be nuanced and carefully examined. When a neighborhood doesn't trust the police, because of previous mistreatment, even the innocent police do not feel safe operating in said neighborhood. It's a vicious cycle and I hope you see the tensions form both perspectives, both the neighborhoods and the police's.
The other thing that concerns me is the bad guys themselves. D'onofrio and Tennant gave great performances as Fisk and Kilgrave, respectively and I am sure Mahershala Ali will stand out as well in LC. I'm mostly concerned for the street thugs. The Wire was so great because it followed the street hoodlums as closely as it did their police-counterparts. I wish the criminals were also presented as humans, and not only Ali's muscle-men.
My last concern is that Luke Cage's best parts will be all of the cast but Cage himself. Mike Colter is probably a fine actor, but his stint as Cage in Jessica Jones did not convince me that he could carry a show of his own. I felt a lack of charisma. This of course need not be a bad thing. A calm protagonist is better than what the character was in the 1970's when Cage was all about attitude and awful catch-phrases. I somehow suspect the supporting cast will be the ones we care more about, while Luke serves to move the plot.