I wanted to begin this post by identifying the similarities between Greatest American Hero, an early ’80s comedy-drama that aired on ABC, and Ms. Marvel, a new series on Disney Plus. But I feared that many would find the former superhero show too obscure, and the connections between it and Ms. Marvel too theoretical. So, I finally decided to go straight to the heart of the matter: Why am I writing about Ms. Marvel? Because no one is watching it.
Or, put another way (and less dramatically), its viewership is considerably lower than other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series on Disney Plus. According to Samba TV, only 775,000 US households watched Ms. Marvel’s premiere. WandaVision, another excellent superhero TV show, drew 1.6 million viewers. (The mediocre Loki, 2.5 million.) And yet critics have almost uniformly praised Ms. Marvel. It’s original, it’s actually funny, and it’s culturally rich. Ms. Marvel is about a teenager who is Muslim and Pakistani American. The show is as much about culture as it is about superpowers (the most boring thing in superhero shows). Indeed, I will argue that the latter is of no real importance.Continue reading »