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6 Shows like Daredevil: Small Screen Superheroes

Will Howell-Cornes itcherTV suits the more realistic superheroes, they’re less expensive if they don’t fly or catch the President’s aeroplane mid fall. This considered, of all the recent superhero TV shows to hit our screens, ‘Daredevil’ sits head and shoulders at the top in terms of all-round quality.
~ Will Howell-Cornes

Small Screen, Big Heart

The story of blind lawyer Matt Murdock delves deeper into a darker, more realistic and violent world, so grab your cape as we fly from Hell’s Kitchen’s ‘Jessica Jones’, travel back to the future with 1940’s ‘Agent Carter’ and take a peek at a show you’ve probably never heard of like ‘Birds of Prey’ in my rundown of TV shows like ‘Daredevil’.

Brilliantly conceived and written (before he left) by ‘Lost’ alumnus and ‘The Martian’ writer Drew Goddard, Netflix’ first foray into the world of Marvel superheroes is the stuff of dreams. British actor Charlie Cox undergoes the brutal origin-story of the titular blind hero… in season one he battles Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) while season two promises even more violence and existential Catholic-guilt when Matt goes toe-to-toe with Frank Castle, aka ‘The Punisher’.

If you’re an aspiring screenplay writer like me, flashback-centric episode seven is a masterclass in storytelling. If you’re an aspiring vigilante, like me this unparallelled fight-scene demonstrates how it should be done.


TV Shows Similar to ‘Daredevil’…

‘Jessica Jones’ (Netflix, 2015- )

At the time of writing, Jessica Jones is still almost a month away from airing. Sad face. But I can promise you this ex-superheroine turned private investigator, played by ‘Breaking Bad’s’ excellent Krysten Ritter will be a welcome addition to Marvel’s TV roster. Forget the squeaky clean, all-American world of ‘Captain America’ and ‘The Avengers’, I promise ‘Jessica Jones’ will be strictly for adults. You heard it here first.

Similarity Match: 95%
Set in the same universe, just around the corner in Hell’s Kitchen, New York – it’s pretty certain that JJ will one day soon bump into Matt Murdock/Daredevil.

‘Agent Carter’ (ABC, 2015- )

While Captain America sleeps off his exhausting antics of the 1940’s, his beau, Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) works with Iron Man’s dad Howard Stark and his butler Jarvis as S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to thwart Nazi-funded HYDRA. We all know how well that turns out, but it’s not always about the destination, sometimes it’s about the ride.

Similarity Match: 80%
Much, much lighter in tone than DD, Agent Carter similarly delivers a dose of wholly believable non-superheroes.

‘Gotham’ (Fox, 2014- )

An interesting take on superheroes, ‘Gotham’ follows rookie detective Jim Gordon as he watches over a young, orphaned Bruce Wayne. Fighting fellow cops’ corruption as much as bad guys, Gordon sees the rise of many a young, future super-villain.

Similarity Match: 65%
Played more as an episodic police procedural rather than ‘Daredevils’ arc-driven serial, ‘Gotham’ explores a similar dark urban setting of the criminal.

‘The Flash’ (The CW, 2014- )

After his mother is killed and his father sent away for her murder, Crime Scene Investigating Barry Allen’s life is transformed when he is hit by lightning and becomes the only superhero who could match Superman in a running race.

Similarity Match: 60%
With particle accelerators, telepathic gorillas and human/shark hybrids, the Flash’s CSI antics are the antithesis of ‘Daredevil’s’ dark realism but if you’re part of The CW’s teenage target audience, you’ll love it.


If You Like ‘Daredevil’, You Will Like…

I love my superheroes and I love my TV – even more than film; 10, 13 or even 24 hour-long episodes give you a much better chance at getting inside our protagonists heads than the usual two hour movie. If you’re looking for more, here’s two more TV series like ‘Daredevil’ – one I’m sure you’re aware of but may not have watched and one you may not even have heard of…

‘Arrow’ (The CW, 2012- )

Based on Green Arrow, D.C. Comic’s other billionaire playboy vigilante, presumed-dead Oliver Queen spends five years on a mysterious island training as a bow and arrow-firing ninja. With the aid of his dead father’s ledger book, he sets out of a one-man mission to erase the business oligarchs (and their superhero alter-egos) who have brought Starling City to its knees.

This pre-cursor to ‘The Flash’ also firmly aims its bow at CW’s teenage audience. It’s kinda unrealistic and immature but fun.

‘Birds of Prey’ (The WB, 2002-2003)

Before The CW brought some of D.C.’s most loved second-rate superheroes to the small screen, it’s predecessor, The WB brought us this vision of a Batman-free New Gotham City. Set in the future, it features the female trio of Helena Kyle (Batman and Catwoman’s daughter) Oracle (Barbara Gordon’s wheelchair-bound Batgirl) and Dinah Lance (Black Canary’s daughter).

Difficult to find, but it is out there, ‘Birds of Prey’ came out before Christopher Nolan made D.C.’s universe so much less camp, more realistic and darker.


Holy Fun One-Line Outro, Batman!

From the campness of 1960’s ‘Batman’ through ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ – the storytelling around TV superheroes has come a long way – but if Oliver Queen and Barry Allen’s Starling City and Jim Gordon’s Gotham are still too camp and don’t deserve to be on this list of TV series similar to ‘Daredevil’, why not join me in the positively violent world of Jess and Matt’s Hell’s Kitchen?

You can leave your comments below…

Will Howell-Cornes is a writer, photographer and TV editor. He’s been trying to write three TV shows for a while now, which he hopes will be like ‘Lost’ ‘Hannibal’ and ‘The Leftovers’. He used to be a stand-up comedian but stopped being funny around July 2012.
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