What’s that, you say? You bingewatched all of Marvel’s Daredevil in less than a week, and now you’re feeling withdrawals? Worried that you won’t be able to go on without some more morally ambiguous superheroics performed by lawyers with questionable ethics? We’re here to help, with a guide to reverse engineering the show thanks to a mix and match combination of other shows and movies. Want to build yourself a Daredevil alternative?
ARROW (2012-2014, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: Another urban vigilante, only this one can see. And shoots people.
The Real Deal: Although the people behind both shows would likely strenuously disagree, there are a lot of similarities between the new Marvel series and the CW’s popular grimace-fest. Both offer self-consciously darker takes on the superhero premise with an absence of any real superpowers (Sorry, DD, but let’s be honest), and both are very concerned with the heroes’ impact on the city around them. Admittedly, Arrow skews a little younger and more ridiculous than Daredevil, but that’s why we have the rest of this list.
DAMAGES (2007-2012, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: If the legal angle was your in to Daredevil…
The Real Deal: The critically-acclaimed legal drama that brought Glenn Close to TV might not see her suiting up to fight ninjas when the going gets rough, but that doesn’t mean that it’s devoid of drama. For the more obsessive Marvel fans out there, pretend Close’s ruthless lawyer Patty Hewes is actually her Guardians of the Galaxy character undercover on Earth for some undisclosed reason, just to add some extra connectivity.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1978-1981, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: Years before Daredevil staked out new space for Marvel as original streaming content, this series did the same thing as the first live-action Marvel TV show.
The Real Deal: These days, mainstream audiences think of the Hulk as the secret weapon in the Avengers, but the 1970s TV show that starred Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno was, as unusual as it sounds, as grounded and socially-minded in its way as Daredevil manages to be today. It might not be immediately apparent, but this show really is a spiritual ancestor to Charlie Cox’s current show.
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD (2013-2014, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: It’s all connected.
The Real Deal: Of course, Daredevil’s most obvious TV ancestor these days is this series, the first Marvel Studios live-action television show and one that takes place in the same fictional universe as Daredevil. Hell, there’s even a tie-in in the show’s second season, when Crusher Creel shows up with super powers. Be warned: If you thought Arrow wasn’t tonally consistent with Daredevil, your head might explode with Agents of SHIELD.
SONS OF ANARCHY (2008-2013, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: Maybe you enjoyed Daredevil’s fight for the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. If so, then hyper-violent, hyper-masculine turf wars abound here.
The Real Deal: If the fight scenes and the macho posturing of Daredevil did it for you, then perhaps you should investigate this biker gang warfare series, created by former The Shield writer Kurt Sutter. Sure, it doesn’t seem like an immediately obvious parallel option, but come for the crime and the fighting, stay for the morally troubled protagonists. All that’s missing is radar sense and a law practice.
LUTHER (2010-2013, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: In many ways, the closest thing television had come to Daredevil before Netflix actually made Daredevil.
The Real Deal: Look, we all accept that Idris Elba’s John Luther is pretty much Daredevil without supervillains, and stuck in the UK, right? Okay, so he’s a cop and not a lawyer, but really. It’s all there. (Related: Someone really needs to give Elba a lead role in a superhero movie sooner rather than later. Hey, Warner Bros, he’d make a great Green Lantern.)
NO HEROICS (2008, Hulu Plus)
Daredevil Tie-In: An alternate look at superheroics.
The Real Deal: While Daredevil goes for grim and gritty, this British TV show goes in exactly the opposite direction, creating a sitcom where everyone just happens to have superpowers. Written by Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce, No Heroics isn’t exactly another Daredevil, but it shares the ability to turn the mightiest of defenders into people remarkably easily.
MISFITS (2009-2013, Hulu Plus)
Daredevil Tie-In: A sign of things to come, perhaps.
The Real Deal: Like No Heroics, the British series Misfits is lighter than Daredevil, but adept at humanizing its characters. Unlike No Heroics, this series shares an ability to deconstruct superhero tropes without losing any sense of dramatic tension. In many ways, Misfits is entirely different from Daredevil, but in others, it feels like something that could and should be the next step for the Marvel Netflix properties.
MARVEL’S AVENGERS ASSEMBLE (2013, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: The closest thing to Avengers on streaming right now.
The Real Deal: Based on the 2012 Joss Whedon movie, Avengers Assemble is an animated series that tries to bring a (kid-friendly) version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to screens on a weekly basis. Whether or not that means that we can expect a young audience version of Matt Murdock to show up on the show in the future remains to be seen, but if Daredevil left you wanting more superpowered fighting the good fight with the Marvel logo somewhere to be found, this might be a good bet.
SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS (1981, Netflix)
Daredevil Tie-In: Our hero’s embarrassing past.
The Real Deal: As odd as it might seem, the episode called “Attack of the Arachnoid” of this short-lived Saturday morning cartoon was the first time Daredevil appeared outside of the comic book pages. It could be worse; at one point in the 1980s, he was obviously given a cartoon of his own, where he’d have been assisted by — and I swear this is true — a super powered seeing-eye dog.