Reviews Television

Daredevil (2015) – Dreaming of Sight

In anticipation of season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil, which comes out on Friday, March 18th, I’ve decided to share some of my thoughts on the first season. You can check out Part 1 of this series here.

As with most reviews, the following may (read: definitely does) contain spoilers – consider yourself adequately warned.


Screenshot of Matt Murdock telling Karen "I'd give anything to see the sky one more time."

All too common in stories about the disabled are those tear-jerking reveals about how the main character just wishes they could be normal again (gosh darnit). Unfortunately, the first episode of Netflix’s Daredevil falls to this trope as well. About halfway through the episode, Murdock explains to Karen during a heart-to-heart that he would give anything just to see the sky again. Anything? Really? Like his super powers? Who would ever trade super human hearing, smell, balance and agility in order to see the clouds float past? Who wants to stop the horrible villains that plague the city, seeing the sky is way more important. This moment seems completely out of character, given Matt’s outstanding abilities and the fact that, through his super senses, he essentially can still see.

While this may have been intended to break down Karen’s defenses, and doesn’t reflect Matt’s true opinion of his current situation, I think the real objective of this moment was to address something the writers/director/producers assumed we, the audience, would be feeling: namely, that it would suck to be blind. The thought of blindness is thought to be so terrible to the nondisabled that not even the gift of super human abilities could compensate for the loss.

Luckily, this is one of the few times that the series indulges in some of the more generic imaginations of disability and, as I’ll explain tomorrow, on the whole this series a real departure from the common representation of disability.

Now that we’ve got the bad out of the way, we can start looking at what Netflix did right with this series. Next up, a discussion about inspiration versus heritage.

By Jeffrey Preston

Born with a rare neuromuscular myopathy, Jeff has spent his life dedicated to advocating for himself and others with disabilities. With a PhD in Media Studies from Western University, Jeff's research focuses on the representation of disability in popular and digital culture. Jeff is currently an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at King's University College @ Western University in London, ON.

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