You want dark, grim and gritty adventure? Better, you want smart and realistic action tales? Binge-watch Marvel’s “The Punisher.” A compelling protagonist, tightly written plots, what more could you want? It fits perfectly into the Marvel Netflix Universe. And the best part? Season 2 has already been approved.
Title: “The Punisher”
Year it began: 2017
Where it can be seen: Netflix
Who’s in it: Jon Bernthal, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah, Ben Barnes and Paul Schulze.
Typical episode length: 49-55 minutes
Number of episodes: 13
Brief plot description: Soon after Frank Castle’s return from America’s wars, his family was murdered. As the Punisher, he’s killed every person responsible for that unspeakable crime. Despite his victory, he has yet to find peace. Now, he’s trying to put what remains of his life back together, desperately trying to fill the hole in his soul where his family once lived. But when a single event drags him back into a life of blood and violence, he needs to find a way to survive – and make sure that his enemies don’t.
Why it’s worth watching: “The Punisher” offers a story of survivor’s guilt, of pain so deep-rooted that it blisters the soul. Bernthal ("The Walking Dead"), who plays Castle, a former Marine, puts a lot of pain into the role. He plays the part like a man who is lost, trapped in a world that remains strange to him without his family in it. The character's rage, so fierce that it might never truly be extinguished, comes through clearly as he simultaneously tries to make human connections and pushes them away.
In addition, the show delves into everything on which America is currently divided. We see why immigrants are so fiercely dedicated to the American Dream. We see casual misogyny, xenophobia and racism, and the darker side of blind patriotism. Most of all, we see the toll of combat on America’s veterans – who are all too often left behind by a system that fails to comprehend the true damage done by serving one’s country.