Entertainment

Netflix's 'Marvel's The Defenders' is a mini Avengers for TV plus 5 other new shows this month

Posted July 26

Netflix's long-hyped mini-Avengers series "Marvel's The Defenders" is here Aug. 18. Eight episodes show superheroes Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand/Iron First (Finn Jones) joining up after each one debuted their own individual series on the streaming site.

It would be recommended to catch up on each of these individual shows before watching them come together in "The Defenders." There is just enough that doesn't make sense otherwise and some of the group, like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, have a history together that the new "Defenders" doesn't explain. The previous superhero shows also have minor characters in their series that link them together, which would be confusing to keep track of without knowing the stories beforehand.

It isn't until the end of the four episodes screened for the press that the superheros decide to team up to face off the enemy — lead by a devastatingly understated Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra. In fact, the four main characters don't even all meet each other until the end of the third episode. Before that, viewers will be catching up on where each character left off in their own series before being forced to come together to fight the latest enemy threatening New York City.

Where did they all leave off exactly? The show opens with Iron Fist — an odd choice considering that his series is by far the worst of the bunch. (His one season is rated 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while the other three's premiere seasons all topped at least 90 percent.) In a drawn-out sewer fight scene set in Cambodia, it's hard for viewers to know what's going on until finally a dying man tells Danny/Iron Fist to seek out his enemy, the Hand, in New York City.

The rest of the group is languishing in New York. Luke Cage has just been released from prison, Jessica Jones is recovering from her last big standoff by hiding out and drinking a lot and the Daredevil has sworn off masked vigilante crime-fighting, restricting himself to pro bono lawyer work. Slowly, the growing evil around them will motivate the four to move past their struggles in order to work together.

There's a reappearance of Elektra (Elodie Yung), as shown in Netflix's trailer for the show — and it doesn't look like a good thing for the Defenders.

As the show flits between each of the main superheroes, it's easy to see why Iron Fist's show did the worst. His character is something of a cliché: a melodramatic and moody billionaire orphan with an ancient, powerful calling that he learned of and developed in Asia — and Finn Jones plays the role far too seriously to make him interesting. Luckily, viewers have other, better characters to focus on and once Iron Fist joined up with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, viewers get enough eye rolls and sarcastic remarks from pair to make his, "I'm the immortal Iron Fist," comments bearable.

Overall, fans should be pleased by the new miniseries and we'll all get to see how it ends come Aug. 18.

'Comrade Detective'

On Friday, Aug. 4, Amazon Prime is set to premier "Comrade Detective," starring the voices of none other than Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The show a live-action comedy set in 1980s Romania, presented in Romanian and dubbed in English. The half-hour premiere also stars Mahershala Ali ("Moonlight") and Nick Offerman ("Parks and Recreation").

'Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update'

One of the most popular segments of "Saturday Night Live" now has its own limited series on NBC starting Thursday, Aug. 10. Anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che will continue to satirize the weekly news as, said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt, "SNL" just had their best season in a quarter of a century and he didn't want them to take the summer off.

'Atypical'

This Netflix comedy series puts a new spin on the coming-of-age story with Keir Gilchrist starring as autistic high school senior Sam Gardner, who decides to start dating. Obviously, awkwardness ensues. Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as Sam's overprotective mom, Elsa, and Michael Rapaport, Brigette Lundy-Paine and Amy Okuda co-star. The show, created by Robia Rashid, premiers Friday, Aug. 11.

'Marlon'

Inspired by comedian Marlon Wayans' real life, this new NBC show has a different take on the traditional family sitcom, as Marlon shows committment to raising his children — with his ex-wife. He plays an internet star who has some maturity problems. He sleeps with Batman sheets and teaches his children to dumpster dive and "act ghetto" to stop bullying, but always with the best intentions at heart. The show airs Wednesday, Aug. 16.

'The Tick'

In typical Amazon Prime fashion, the pilot for this new series has already aired and is currently available for viewing. It did well enough that the rest of the series will follow Friday, Aug. 25. For those familiar with this parody of a superhero, the appropriately campy pilot shows just the right mixture of wacky humor and legitimate plot to signal that this new adaptation of "The Tick" will be well worth watching.

Email: mbulsiewicz@deseretnews.com

Twitter: mgarrett589

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