I wanted it to be better, which is a pretty dumb statement, because anybody who thinks a thing is only OK will want it to be better. I certainly expected it to be better. What I expected more than something better, though, was something longer.
Here's a reminder of the episodes coming in for the core characters:
- Daredevil: 26 episodes (thirteen each season)
- Jessica Jones: 13 episodes
- Luke Cage: 13 episodes
- Iron Fist: 13 episodes
Getting the idea? They've had a method for doing these shows so far, and it's worked (except for Iron Fist, but there's no correct number of episodes that could make Iron Fist good), so the expectation was another thirteen. Maybe twelve. But eight? How do you properly approach a series with four main characters using less than two-thirds the total screen time than each of those characters had to themselves?
I don't know, and apparently the Marvel writers didn't either. It's not some bleak catastrophe of a show that will make you question the hours you spent watching, even if watching meant keeping it in the corner of your eye while you multi-tasked three different things on your second monitor. On the other hand, I thought Iron Fist was average rather than terrible, and this isn't even as good as Iron Fist, so maybe it is a giant dogpile.
If you saw the other four series and were expecting the characters to be similar, you'll be half-right and probably a quarter-pleased. Jessica Jones doesn't stop cutting down everyone and everything around her, and Danny Rand is the same self-indulgent little prick who doesn't know one-third the shit he thinks he does. But Daredevil won't shut the fuck up about Elektra, and Luke sets a fucking world record for rate of good guy cliches uttered in a single television series.
(Interlude where I speak to Luke Cage as if he's a real person: Luke. My man. You're a good dude. Maybe you're even a great dude. Everyone appreciates how willing you are to protect the people of Harlem and the city of New York. Everyone also knows by now how willing you are to protect them. Stop fucking telling us.)
It doesn't help that the story centers on Iron Fist (side note to Danny Rand: we also know you're the Immortal Iron Fist, stop telling us that too). The other three are all capable of personal crises far more interesting than his shit. It is understandable, though; he was the only character with an enemy that ranged beyond New York City. Putting a team of heroes together can very logically lead to using the biggest enemy currently in play. But that's why it needed more than eight episodes to finish the story properly. If this Defenders season had a story designed to spread back out into the single-character series and/or season two, that would be one thing--that thing being more than eight episodes--but it's not anywhere near enough to both give the characters any of the depth we expect from their individual series and carry the type of battle at hand here.
This has already been too many words for this show. It's OK. Meh.