Marvel’s Disney + shows need longer seasons

The following article contains minor spoilers for the first four episodes of Ms. Marvel.

In this week Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan visits his relatives in Karachi. She discovers more about the origins of her mysterious powers and the bracelet that channels them. She learns the true background story of the secret and finally understands why they desire her abilities. She meets another a group of enigmatic guards known as the Red Daggers, then escape from the secret with their help. In the ensuing battle, Kamala is apparently sent back in time to the era of the partition of India.

Given how many times Ms. Marvel has mentioned the division, and especially the fateful night in which her missing grandmother Sana was reunited with her father by a timely but unknown intervention, it is quite clear that Kamala will somehow help the young Sana in the past in one of These lovely Terminator paradoxes where the future somehow enables the past to emerge exactly as it always has. (Someone calls the Time Variance Authority to investigate this.) By the way, the show will be free to really focus on Kamala and her situation at the moment.

But at the time, Ms. Marvel will basically be over.

The latest Ms. Marvel was the fourth episode out of a season of six episodes. This means that even though this flashback or time-loop subplot is resolved within the first few minutes of the next episode, it only leaves about one and a half episodes to complete every other story and subplot from the show. It includes Kamala’s excitement with her mother, her feelings about her past, her fate as a superhero, her relationship with her friend Bruno and her infatuated Kamran, status as Clandestines and her choice to adopt the superhero title Ms. Marvel, just to name a few dangling threads from the top of my head.

It’s a lot of things to fix and not much time to do it. And it is a problem that is at the heart of almost everyone Marvels Disney + shows so far. Whether they are good or bad, exciting or boring, they have all seemed way too short.

For some reason, the six-episode season has become the standard format for Marvel TV series. After the nine sections of WandaVisionevery live-action Disney + Marvel series – The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeyeand Moon Knightshas run in six episodes.

From a structural point of view, it makes sense: These shows, like most mainstream Hollywood tales, are told in three acts. Six episodes gives you two episodes for setup, two episodes for increasing action and two episodes for resolution. Many modern comic book stories are also six issues long, in part because six issues are considered an ideal length (and price) for a trade paperback that collects and reprints these individual issues as a larger book.

But while six episodes may be ideal for comics, it feels awfully short for TV, especially at Marvel, where the current series always includes a fair amount of table setting to establish future shows and movies. take Lokifor example, who spent his first few episodes determining the intricacies of time travel and multiverse i MCUthen resolved with a lengthy speech from an unprecedented character, Jonathan Majors’ Kang Conqueror, who will reappear in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel and potentially many other shows.

Loki introduced some really interesting people to MCU, including Owen Wilson’s laconic Agent Mobius and Sophia Di Martino’s vengeful Sylvie. After six episodes, however, the show had barely scratched the surface of any of the characters. Between TVA and the endless Loki variants and Jonathan Major’s monologue, Loki just ran out of space for everything and everyone in it.

At least to the show gets another season at some point. Other Marvel shows like Hawkeye is currently stuck in limbo – and not the cool kind of limbo where Rome the Space Knight sends Dire Wraiths. Hawkeye delivered a promising setup and some really fun characters. Within an episode or two, the plot rose to such a feverish height that there was no chance that things would slow down long enough for the heroes and villains to talk to or about each other. As an airy adventure, it was satisfying. As an exploration of the lives of Kate Bishops, Clint Bartons, Maya Lopez and others, it fell short.

When your main character has more personalities, it gets even harder. Moon Knights had without a doubt the most fascinating premise and quite in any of these shows, with Steven Grant – or is it Marc Spector? – condemned to share his body with “altars” in the slave of an Egyptian deity. What is to like? Moon Knights did not really say; it was too busy sending Steven / Marc out on a globetrott hunt for a bunch of MacGuffins. Throw further Marvel concepts like a pantheon of ancient gods and the Egyptian afterlife, and you are left with a Moon Knights show that does not even really feel like it’s about its title character, much less the other new heroes it introduced as Scarlet Scarab.

until now Ms. Marvel has done a better job of balancing character development with superhero action. Each episode has found some time to explore Kamala’s family, her culture and her world. Last week we got to enjoy her brother’s wedding; this week she has a long conversation with Sana and another with Waleed, the leader of the Red Daggers. But we are already entering the last third of the show. In two weeks, Ms. Marvel is over, maybe forever (though Kamala will at least return in the upcoming movie The Marvels).

There are worse things in the world than letting your audience want more. After all, the basic Marvel business model is to make your audience want more. Still, in many of these cases, Marvel concludes these shows before fully discovering what they are all about at a basic level.

Consider any TV series you love and watch the first six episodes. Do those six episodes represent his best work? Mcheeses TV series take longer than that to find their rhythm and their foothold. Sixth paragraph of The Simpsons was “Moaning Lisa”, the very first time the show had ever explored Lisa as a character. imagine if to was the conclusion on The Simpsons‘first season. Or its only season.

I recognize that Marvel has limited resources to devote to its TV series, so instead of producing 20 episodes of a program, they make 25 or so episodes in four or five different series each year. That approach definitely introduces lots of new characters to MCU, and it keeps fans excited about an endless stream of new content. If you happen to be not a fan of Moon Knights or Hawkeye, it is fine; in a month or two there will be a completely different Marvel show at Disney +, with a completely different cast and premise.

I am not in favor of a less-is-more approach; I want more episodes of Ms. Marvel. But it has to be the right kind more. Marvel’s fire hose approach to streaming creates a lot of things. It also ensures that even when something connects with an audience, these fans will wait for years – or even longer – to get more of it.

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