Unlike DC, all of Marvel Studios’ projects, across film and television, belong to the same Marvel Cinematic Universe. This may not always feel like the case, with minimal character crossovers and completely different tones between the movies, ABC shows, and even Netflix programs. In the movies, you have PG-13 fare meant to please the widest of audiences, on ABC everything is network appropriate with a very strict procedural format, and on Netflix it is a dark, bloody, drawn out world, indeed. Due to their budget and format, the stories told in the films need to be short, mostly self-contained, and attract the most possible eyes of any format. Why then are the ABC series including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the canceled Agent Carter, and the upcoming Inhumans so different than Netflix’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders?
While promoting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans at a Televisions Critics Association conference, ScreenRant reports that ABC president Channing Dungey discussed the difference between the MCU shows found on Netflix and ABC:
“So what I would say about that is, look, I am a fan of the Marvel shows, and I think that some of what they are doing the work on Netflix is fantastic. The tone and the style of some of the Netflix shows, it’s not a very ABC tone or style. I don’t think that those shows would work as well on our air as they do work at Netflix, and I think that the right home for those shows is there. For those of you who are fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that show has continued to grow creatively every season, and I feel like last season, Season 4, was its strongest creatively yet. I am very excited for what we have planned for Season 5.”
Yes, it all comes down to “ABC tone” and “style”, or in other words, what is “network safe.” Aside from avoiding mature content, network safe also means commercial breaks, which also results in a more rigid structure with procedural elements than a streaming show similar to what is found on Netflix. What I hear, when he says this, is that ABC isn’t willing to take any risks, or, in some cases, is simply not allowed to do what Netflix accomplishes. Call me cynical, but Dungey’s explanation sounds like an excuse more than a good reason, as Network TV seems set on letting cable and streaming pass them by in terms of telling stories in creative, new ways. To be fair, his answer is completely expected, and logical, but that doesn’t change the fact we still have a major disconnect between the three parts of the MCU, ABC’s fault or not.
What do you think about Dungey’s answer? Do you prefer the ABC tone and style, Netflix’s, or is it best to love it all? Let us know in the comment section below!
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