Yes we know Comedy Sitcom is kind of redundant, but more important: Damage Control answers what happens to Spider-Man’s leftover webbing.
We know what you’re thinking.
“Sure, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with more than seven interconnected movie franchises, a couple of ABC television shows, and a few dark and gritty Netflix original shows, is still lacking something. What the MCU really needs is a sitcom.”
Oh, you weren’t thinking that? Well somebody was.
Marvel has announced a new addition to its lineup is in the works: an ABC sitcom based on the somewhat obscure Damage Control comics series. The show will follow the misadventures of a construction company which fixes buildings after Thor punches a bad guy through a skyscraper or Hulk gets annoyed waiting in line at a post office.
If that premise isn’t quite enough to sell you on the idea of the show, here are the answers to a few questions you might be asking yourself:
5. Why Does the MCU Need a Sitcom?
Comedy has always been a central part of the Marvel universe – Iron Man’s witty quips and Star Lord’s funky dancing have defined the feel of the universe, and even gritty shows like Daredevil have been sprinkled with light moments.
Putting all the superheroics to one side and focusing on civilians is a great idea for a few reasons – firstly, the ABC show will give Marvel a chance to try a new direction as producers play with new ideas. Considering how out-there Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man sounded at first, viewers have proven that they’re willing to trust Marvel when the studio makes something really weird.
The thing about superhero movies is, because there’s so many of them every year, stylistic ideas and designs get stale fast. Almost all comic book movies made pre-The Dark Knight now feel campy and awkward, and what’s kept the MCU one step ahead is its ability to innovate.
A sitcom might well lead to the studio finding all new ideas for how to keep its shows and movies relevant in the future.
4. Who’s Making This Thing?
It’s early days for the project so far, but some of the names attached to Damage Control are really exciting. According to Marvel, the show is being developed by Ben Karlin, a former Daily Show writer, and by David Miner, who produced shows like 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Parks and Recreation. These guys know their stuff.
The key to making Damage Control work is separating it from the big, overblown world of heroes and gods, to show the frustrations of street-level workers who are tired of Iron Man showing off. David Miner’s inclusion in the project is particularly interesting, as his work on shows like Parks and Rec demonstrates that he knows how to find the humor in a mundane job setting.
Marvel’s head of television Jeff Loeb, a former comic writer, is leading the charge with this project, as he’s done with the other Marvel shows. He’s no doubt going to be working hard to ensure that the same quality and fun from other Marvel properties can be seen in Damage Control as well.
3. What Does This Mean for the Future of the MCU?
Marvel Studios is doing great at the moment – for many moviegoers, they’re the new Pixar. But pretty much everybody at the company has got to be worrying about what happens if ever the superhero bubble bursts. What if moviegoers suddenly stop caring about big overblown CGI monsters and charming heroes in silly costumes.
Trying out a new direction for the Marvel franchise is the first step to finding the diversity that can keep the studio relevant. If tongue-in-cheek Marvel shows work, this could set the stage for more adaptations of Marvels less traditional comic titles, like Front Line, the story of journalists trying desperately to cover alien invasions and superhero civil war conspiracies, or Superior Foes of Spider-Man, about the daily woes of a comic book villain.
There’s a lot of great Marvel material in the comics that’s remained untapped so far because it’s considered less bombastic than the Avengers. If Damage Control works, though, Marvel may look to further expand the range of shows that they produce, and that’s only ever going to be good news for fans of television.
2. Why Does the MCU Have to Connect Everything Together?
Marvel and DC have gone in very different directions with their worldbuilding. DC has kept its TV and movie properties completely separate, giving creators more freedom to explore different directions and ideas, while everything at Marvel is deliberately linked together, with big characters having regular cameos across franchises.
Marvel’s focus has always been on a shared universe – its comics first premiered the idea of multiple heroes living in the same universe (for example, in the first Amazing Spider-Man comic, Peter tries to join the Fantastic Four). Part of the company’s strategy is making a world that feels big, and it achieves it through not just focusing on the big guys, but also on the little street-level stories.
Shows like Damage Control, Daredevil, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fill in the little gaps to make the universe feel lived in. The interconnectivity of the comics has always made the Marvel world feel more realistic, and while some directors (such as Joss Whedon and Edgar Wright) have become frustrated with the rigid Marvel structure, for the moment, connecting everything together is certainly working for the company.
1. How Many Marvel Shows is Too Many?
With all these connected properties, are people eventually going to get tired of the MCU? Going to see Avengers: Age of Ultron involves background reading or homework for anybody who didn’t see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Large chunks of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. make no sense if viewers haven’t caught up on the summer blockbusters of the year. Is it possible that Marvel’s connected world will get too big and start putting fans off?
Marvel’s certainly run into this problem in the world of comics, leading to a recent reboot of their entire range designed to make it easier for new fans to jump in. It’s unlikely that Marvel will try anything similar with the MCU any time soon, but one thing’s for certain: the studio will be doing its best to keep the cinematic world accessible to all audiences.
To Infinity And Beyond
In many ways, the MCU is the prototype for a lot of similar big multi-franchise endeavors. A lot of movie companies are watching what happens in the MCU and attempting to copy their momentum, and it’s certain that other Disney-owned brands like Star Wars will follow Marvel’s lead.
If Marvel manage to keep their universe expanding without it feeling too cluttered or complicated, who knows what the end results will be? An Office-style show set among the grumpy British governors on the Death Star? A show about a psychiatrist for Universal monsters?
If Marvel make Damage Control work, and there’s no reason to suggest they won’t, it probably won’t cause quite the storm that The Avengers did among movie studios, but it certainly will open up the possibilities of some new weird and wonderful television.
What do you think, though? What are you hoping to see in Damage Control, and what other shows could Marvel create? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.