So, Netflix canceled Luke Cage. Netflix is clearing house, folks. Following the news that the streaming giant would not renew the oft-criticized Iron Fist series for a third season, they doubled down and ditched the entire Heroes For Hire crew. Luke Cage was a successful series, deciding to cancel it a surprise to fans.
With every series, there are ups and downs. Luke Cage is no different. The first season made a bullet-riddled hoodie a symbol of power and introduced the world to an eclectic, charismatic cast of colorful characters. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes is still one of the best villains to grace our screens.
The second season of Luke Cage, like the first, was a positive step forward. They were both marred by stunted acting and poor character choices. Couple that with Luke and Danny having very little on-screen chemistry as the fabled freelance superheroes, acclaim never reached the heights of say Daredevil or even Jessica Jones (season 1).
Now that we are on the other side of Luke Cage and even Iron Fist, we can objectively look at some of the good and bad things from the series and what can come from its cancellation.
Major spoilers ahead for Luke Cage series below.
I know I said the Netflix incarnations of Luke and Danny had very little chemistry. There is something about a Heroes For Hire series that is still appealing to me. With the Lethal Weapon series seemingly ending, the door is open wide for an interracial, buddy cop comedy.
You know the one where the black guy is all “No, no no,” and then here comes the wildcard white guy saying “Oh yes.” Hijinks ensue, and friendships strengthened. Only with Luke and Danny, superpowers are involved. That always ratches up the fun factor, no?
With these shows ending, perhaps we will stop seeing such talent go to waste. Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple started strong on the Daredevil series. The moment Luke got a hold of her she went from a capable superhero medic to the love interest. Her character focused more on pestering Luke than, you know, being a kick-ass doctor.
Let us not forget Cottonmouth. A fantastic character who was taken from us way too soon and replaced with a reject from The Running Man. Luke Cage didn’t have a great track record treating great characters with respect.
I love Misty Knight. Mostly I love Simone Missick. The prospect of having the bionic detective teamed with unstoppable ninja Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) is excellent. A funky series starring these two badasses as bail bond agents could be fantastic. Jessica Jones owns the dark, gritty, females hero corner of the Marvel TV universe. Misty and Colleen can go the more action-adventure route. I’m getting excited just writing this non-existent thing.
One major story beat I was not interested in seeing is Luke Cage, the hero of Harlem and bright shining light of the black community, become a crime lord.
If you have played the Spider-Man game for PS4, one thing Kingpin says is if you take him down all manner of evil will spill into the city. Wilson Fisk was the dam holding back the flood of hell. By the end of season 2 of Luke Cage, so was Luke. But he was doing it from the crime side of things. He even quasi-threatened Misty Knight at the end. Hey man, no thanks. I would rather not see where that storyline landed.
Remember Prison Break? That is a 2 season show at max. It went 5. How many times can you arrest the same group of people and have them escape? My point is, sometimes shows overstay their welcome. It’s usually best to leave on a good note and preserve what good will you have before tarnishing it with countless pointless stories. The Walking Dead is another example. Viewership continues to slip as people wonder how many more settlements these survivors can start before some other lousy group comes in to shake things up.
Luke Cage was a good show. Now that its over, it can remain a good show in your hearts and minds. You have two solid seasons of a bulletproof black man trying to do right for his community. That’s a blessing, right? Don’t forget; this opens the door for new black superheroes to get their series as well. Thanks for kicking down the door Luke.