Netflix seals deal with Disney's Marvel

Get ready to renew your Netflix subscription, because the video streaming service has just inked a deal with Disney’s Marvel to create an epic series event. The content, which will consist of four 13-episode series and a miniseries, was announced in a press release on Thursday.

The event will begin with a series focusing on comic book hero Daredevil, followed by separate series each focusing on fellow Hell’s Kitchen residents Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.

Slated to begin in 2015, the serialized epic will be released over a few years, and will lead up to one defining miniseries, The Defenders, described in the release as an attempt to “reimagine a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the ABC premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the widely hailed success of Netflix original series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. There’s no word yet as to whether this new epic will be part of the Avengers universe, established by the latest Marvel films and continued in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Original content is still new territory for Netflix. The service’s first major release was House of Cards, followed by the highly anticipated fourth season of Arrested Development. This original content has a lot of potential, since Netflix isn’t beholden to advertising to pay for content, as traditional networks are. As a result, content can be molded to already-present viewers — not the demographics prized by traditional TV executives.

So far, critics and viewers alike have approved of Neflix original content, and House of Cards recently took home three Primetime Emmy Awards. The show received nine of the 14 total nominations for Netflix programming.

However, that same freedom can also hamper the creation of high-quality content. The fourth series of Arrested Development never quite achieved the success of previous seasons, all released on FOX before the show’s untimely cancellation.

The most interesting thing to note about this announcement is how the content will be issued. The individual series will be released separately, on a staggered schedule, but each series will be released in its entirety at one time. So you’ll be able to binge-watch all 13 Daredevil episodes whenever you like — but you’ll have to wait to start on Jessica Jones.

This announcement also comes amidst a flurry of superhero content hitting the market. Marvel’s sequel Thor: The Dark World was released in the U.S. last weekend, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently airing its first season on ABC, and Arrow, a show based on DC comic book hero the Green Arrow, is airing its second season on The CW.

The viewer makeup will be especially interesting. Will Netflix try to appeal to and gain viewership from the younger demos sought after by traditional programming, or will there be a more evenly distributed age range? The epic event is sure to draw current fans of both the Marvel comics and the feature films, but Netflix will need to distinguish its superheroes from the rest in the entertainment world to attract viewers outside its already-present fan base.