Entertainment & Arts

Marvel TV shows to debut on Netflix

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. promotional image
Image caption Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D debuted on the ABC network in September

Netflix has announced it will buy four new live-action TV series from comic book firm Marvel, bringing some lesser-known superheroes to the small screen.

The film and TV streaming service has committed to four 13-episode series, based around the characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage.

It marks a major investment by Netflix into original programming, following success stories such as House of Cards.

Marvel said fans would be able to enjoy shows "how and when they want".

Alan Fine, Marvel Entertainment president, called the deal "unparalleled".

"Netflix offers an incredible platform for the kind of rich storytelling that is Marvel's speciality," he said in a statement.

He said the series would expand "the narrative possibilities of on-demand television".

As a streaming service, Netflix allows viewers to abandon scheduled programming, often making the entire series available to watch in one sitting.

Comic book trend

The four series - made by Marvel and Disney-owned ABC studios - will be streamed from 2015 onwards, culminating in a fifth mini-series uniting all four characters, called The Defenders.

Comic book adaptations are enjoying a renaissance on US TV networks.

Joss Whedon's Avengers spin-off, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, premiered on ABC in September, achieving the highest ratings for a US drama debut in nearly four years - although viewing figures have subsequently dipped.

The Fox television network has ordered Gotham, a Batman spin-off series based around police commissioner James Gordon, alongside adaptations of Unthinkable and Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

And a Wonder Woman revival is also being considered by the CW network.

There are also rumours of another Marvel spin-off series, based on Hayley Atwell's character in Captain America.

Netflix's Ted Sarandos said it was "thrilled" to be working with Marvel "to take our brand of television to new levels".

The service has grown massively in popularity over the past three years, providing access to hits such as Breaking Bad. Original drama includes Orange Is The New Black and a new series of Arrested Development.

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