– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Harlem has a new hero. And the name of that hero is…

Marvel and Netflix have a new series hitting the streaming service at the tail end of the month, and like Daredevil and Jessica Jones before it, it’s coming pre-packaged with all sorts of rave reviews and critical acclaim. While most love the Marvel Studios films, they aren’t the most known for taking chances. The shows on Netflixare really going the extra mile to show the seedy underbelly of a world that the MCU films dare not even touch, and Luke Cage is the latest series to do so.

Of course, it can’t be overlooked that Luke Cage also marks the first black hero in the MCU to lead his own property. Black Panther will be doing so soon enough in his own flick, but Luke Cage beat him to the punch. From the sound of the reviews thus far, Luke Cage is an unapologetically black series. It embraces hip-hop culture and the blaxpoitation genre wholeheartedly — though in regards to blaxploitation, Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker had a few things to say while speaking with EW:

“When you say ‘blaxploitation,’ people usually think bell-bottoms and a waka waka soundtrack. But ultimately, it is black characters getting to act the same way that their white counterparts did.”

The showrunner also went on to divulge the show’s influences, stating that he “pitched it as [Hype Williams’] Belly meets City of God, written by the staff of The Wire.”

If you’ve been following the coverage up to this point, The Wire is definitely a show that’s come up before in the past as a reference of inspiration.

Actor Mike Colter agreed with Coker on the approach, going on to say that they weren’t planning on playing it safe with Luke Cage:

“We’re doing things that people are thinking about and not just playing it safe. People need to see themselves or feel like they’re being represented in a real, honest, and three-dimensional way.”

Indeed representation is something that’s always been an issue in Hollywood, with non-white races often being treated more as stereotypes than real people. It’s a problem that’s slowly being corrected, but like with anything, it takes time. 

Luke Cage hits Netflix on September 30, 2016.

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.