It is very difficult to figure out just how well a Netflix series does because the company does not release their viewership numbers. But there are third party companies like Parrot Analytics that uses P2P sharing, social chatter and streaming video to track viewership. They also filter out the different between positive and negative social chatter so as not to over-inflate how a show is being received.
Their numbers puts the debut of Marvel Iron Fist above Marvel Daredevil and Marvel Jessica Jones… and just shy of Marvel Luke Cage. The demand for the show is very high despite what critics were saying before the series debuted. The split between the critics and fans is best illustrated on Rotten Tomatoes where the critics rating for the series is only 18% while the fans rating is 82%.
How has there been such a divide of opinion? That’s hard to say for sure. Going into the series there was a lot of pressure on Marvel to find an Asian-American to play the lead of Danny Rand. There were many articles pointing out how the origin of the character was basically the cliche and racist ‘White Savior’ trope that was popular in the 1970’s. Marvel decided to keep the character Caucasian and cast Finn Jones from Game of Thrones. The casting caused a wave of anger towards the production, a wave that might have lead critics to be predisposed to not liking the show. And like many series, if you want to find something wrong in a series, you will… even subconsciously.
Fans seem to be finding the series entertaining enough to watch all thirteen episodes. And maybe that has to do with the fact that it’s part of a bigger universe building towards Marvel The Defenders. But this leads to the question, we’ll there be more seasons of Iron Fist? Each series has gotten a second so far with Daredevil getting a third and a spin-off in Marvel The Punisher. And looking at the numbers, you’d think Netflix would be rushing to give a season 2 the green light. But the critical panning can’t be ignored completely and it’s likely that the company will wait until after this summer’s The Defenders to see how fans react to the Jones second turn as Rand before making the decision. They could also fold the character in with Luke Cage to make it a Heroes for Hire series like in the comics.
A little more than a week after it’s debut, Marvel Iron Fist is continuing to be talked about and watched. The numbers are strong… but the future, that remains to be seen.