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Marvel Entertainment: 2017 In Review – Part 2 [Television]

To say the least, 2017 has been yet another huge year for Marvel Entertainment, whether it’s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or elsewhere. Several movies hit theaters, with many more still in development. The television shows keep going strong. And we’ve had news on the animation and video game compartments.

In this first installment of our annual reflection, we look back at the biggest news, announcements, and more surrounding Marvel’s movies.

For Marvel’s biggest moments at San Diego Comic-Con 2017, click HERE.

It’s been an exciting year for Marvel TV! From Mutants to Inhumans, Defenders to Dinos, and every high and low in between, Marvel Television swung for the fences with this year’s crop of shows. As we wind down 2017 and look ahead to the new year, here’s the AM crew’s thoughts on the last 12 months of programming.

This year saw the debut of three Marvel shows on Netflix. The first one was Iron Fist, the live action debut of Danny Rand. The series was met with mostly negative reviews; a stark contrast from the previous shows. Nevertheless, Iron Fist was renewed for a second season, which has a new showrunner. Alice Eve joined the cast in an undisclosed role, while Finn Jones hopes to see Iron Fist’s costume next season. Production is expected to begin soon.

Next up is The Defenders. This is it. The culmination of Marvel’s Netflix heroes finally arrived this year, and fans were STOKED. The chance to see Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand onscreen together brought Avengers-level anticipation, and viewers were eager to watch The Hand get it handed to them. So, how was the show? Well, folks were decidedly mixed. There was a lot to love, no doubt. Sigourney Weaver’s character brought an exciting face to the show, the action was Daredevil-levels of amazing, and the writers really let the lead characters breathe and didn’t try to mishmash genres. But, the show had some notable weak points. Danny continues to be the weakest link, and the first half of the season was kinda meandering. Nevertheless, The Defenders set our heroes on new paths that will greatly inform their upcoming seasons.

The third and final new show from Marvel/Netflix is The Punisher, which follows Frank Castle after the events of Daredevil‘s second season. The series revealed its premiere date following a cryptic marketing campaign. The show was another big success, with Netflix quickly renewing it for a second season.

Additionally, Marvel began production on three more seasons from Netflix. Jessica Jones‘ second season is up first, dropping next March. The season will feature David Tennant’s Kilgrave in some capacity. Next, Luke Cage has wrapped its second season, which will feature Iron Fist, Misty Knight’s bionic arm, and a pair of new characters. And finally, Daredevil began production on its third season, which will see the return of Wilson Fisk.

Inhumans had an uncanny journey to the small screen. Originally announced as a motion picture, the project shifted to Marvel Television when Jeph Leob announced a co-financing deal with IMAX, in a deal that would see the pilot air on IMAX screens before airing on ABC. Needless to say, high hopes were had for the beloved royal family, and fans were holding out that this Frankenstein deal would result in good things.

But… well… Inhumans was just plain ol’ bad. The show is a textbook case of writers not knowing what to do with the characters, a budget too small for effective scale or special effects, and actors who were woefully misdirected. As our reviewer concluded, the Pilot showed promise. But the episodes that followed were PAINFUL. Never before in the history of storytelling has a giant teleporting bulldog been more mistreated. No word on a second season, but we’d be shocked if it ever happened.

The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. concluded their best Season yet in Season 4! As The Framework collapsed and Aida was brought to justice for her crimes, the show left our heroes broken and battered. Fitz and Mack would never again be the same men we knew. Coulson and May were thrust forward in their relationship, leaving us to wonder how the events of the season would change them. And then there was that interstellar cliffhanger! As the questions mounted, fans were left to wonder how the veteran show could possibly follow up such a strong season.

With the debut of Season 5, we started getting our answers. And 5 episodes in, we’ve seen some really strong stuff in this Future world. Newcomers Deke and Tess have been engaging, and it was all sorts of amazing to see the return of Lance Hunter. Indeed: though the world may be blown to bits, the Future looks bright for Coulson & co.

In other ABC news, Freeform originally picked up New Warriors, a series starring new heroes such as Squirrel Girl. However, the network passed on it last month, and Marvel is now shopping it to other networks. Freeform will instead launch Cloak & Dagger next year, while ABC is developing an unnamed female-led series.

Next, we’re moving on to the X-Men television projects. Legion premiered at the beginning of the year, earning universal acclaim. The series broke new ground in the comic book TV genre, taking a unique approach to the characters’ powers and more. FX quickly renewed it for a second season, which was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con. The season is expected to premiere sometime next year. Additionally, FX is among the assets that are being acquired by Disney.
The other X-Men show that premiered this year was Fox’s The Gifted, which stars a family that is aligned with an underground group of mutants. The season will run for 13 episodes, with the finale airing in January. No details on a second season yet.

After spending years in development hell as a movie, Runaways finally found life as a Hulu series. The show premiered in November, with a new episode premiering every week. The series has received positive reviews thus far, but there’s no word yet on whether it’ll be renewed.

As you can see, this was another strong year for Marvel’s television shows. They should only continue to grow in 2018 and beyond.

Check back tomorrow for the third and final installment of our annual reflection, where we review Marvel’s animation and video game projects of 2017.

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