For those who have been reading my reviews of ‘The Punisher,’ you are most likely all too aware of my thoughts about the chances of the show getting cancelled sometime very soon. Unfortunately, the reaction to the latest outing of Frank Castle and his crew does not help matters much. So far the critics have not been all that kind to ‘The Punisher’ Season 2, finding many of the same faults that I did in the plot of the second season, even if most agree that Jon Bernthal is still the best Punisher we have seen on the screen thus far. On Rotten Tomatoes the season sadly has a mere 50% rating (out of 20 reviews so far), meaning they are giving it a “rotten” label, very unfortunate considering that the first season was considered “fresh” (even though it only garnered a 67% score). Still, the news isn’t all bad, as audiences on the site are still giving the season a 86% rating, significantly higher than the critics, which might carry more weight for executives who know that while the exploits of Frank Castle may not be well received by most critics, the man has a certain appeal for audiences. Plus, even that 50% score is not too terrible, especially with only 20 reviews, as there is a small chance that as more reviews come in the season might get that 10% bump up into “Fresh” territory.
More troubling, however, are the numbers being reported over at Business Insider (see the graph to the right), which shows a significant decline in viewership across the board for all of the Netflix/ Marvel properties, especially for the second season of most series. But even there ‘The Punisher’ has a slight silver lining as the drop in its viewership, if these numbers are to be believed, is not nearly as high as the other Netflix shows, which might just be enough to encourage Netflix to keep the show around, or help push Disney to find a way to resurrect the series on their own streaming service should Netflix cancel it.
While on the topic of cancellation, Marvel TV Head Jeph Loeb spoke recently about their relationship with Netflix and the future of shows like ‘The Punisher:’
“It’s an unfortunate reality to any relationship between a network and a studio in that the network always has the right at any time to cancel a show. And we’ve been very lucky that our shows have lived on, and that we’ve had the fun, but everyone can name a show that they love that has gotten canceled. But we do, and I think we’ve made it very clear, that this is not our call. This is Netflix’s call.”
I still think it all comes down to business, and it is looking more and more like Netflix wants out of the MCU, and Disney is most likely more than happy to go along with that decision as they have their own streaming service set to launch soon, and they will not want to be competing with their own properties. The best hope for these shows is that they have enough dedicated fans watching, and making their voices heard, that Marvel and Disney find a way to transition them all over to their own platforms.
What are your thoughts on the second season of ‘The Punisher?’ Do you think it deserves such a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes? Do you think it has enough of a fanbase to keep going? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below!