Sat one afternoon in the Nouse office, we were trawling through the archives, desperately trying to find a writer’s headshot, eventually landing on it tucked away next to countless episode reviews of the third season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Luke, our illustrious editor, exclaimed: “I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is shit!” “It’s got better now, the first season was poor but now it’s good,” I retorted, before adding: “I still keep up just to be abreast of everything Marvel”. And thus, the inspiration for this column was born.
It’s true; I do watch all content produced in Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), simply because I have the completionist attitude of wanting to have seen everything MCU. However, as Marvel ramps up its content output, it’s becoming harder and harder a task. In 2017, Marvel is accelerating rapidly, upping from two films to three, adding another broadcast series in addition to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and increasing their Netflix output to three series a year, as well as having a further two series that will begin filming imminently (one broadcast, one streaming), that will likely debut early next year. The MCU will release a minimum of 70 hours of content this year – a significant rise from the four hours in 2008 when it first debuted.
This is a significant amount to consume, and it’s a trend indicative of the rest of the media industry. Netflix released 126 original series or films in 2016, more than any US channel, with Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos stating that will double for 2017. That’s on top of however many tens of thousands of hours of original drama, comedy, and documentary content the BBC and other terrestrial channels must put out this year – and every year. The major studios release so many films, especially during the big summer months, that some of them are guaranteed to flop. Each weekend it’s blockbuster after blockbuster. Add to this: YouTube, satellite TV, Amazon Prime. Add to this: radio and podcasts. Add to this: the barrels of written journalistic content that any respectable student journalist immerses themselves in, obviously.
There’s just too much darn content, and I want to consume it all, but who has the time for that? So, instead of beginning the next BAFTA-winning Sunday night quality BBC drama, I’ll just stick with my 70 hours of Marvel. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season four, here I come.