When Daredevil was introduced to the Marvel family, comic book readers were asked why Matt Murdock was different from all other crime fighters. This was an odd way of telling the world Matt Murdock was a blind superhero, but his lack of vision, and how he overcomes it, has been a defining feature of the hero since his inception.
So there was something of an issue when Daredevil made the leap from the page to screens wherever Netflix plays—his blind fans would be unable to know what was happening onscreen. In response to some efforts to make Netflix accessible to all, the streaming service company has introduced a new way to experience Matt Murdock’s adventures.
Netflix has introduced audio descriptions to all episodes of Daredevil, an English audio option that will overlay each episode with a voice describing the action in between dialogue. The voice picks up right from the start, even explaining how the Netflix logo appears—”Letters pop out from a white background, then turn red. Netflix,” a voice says. The voice then narrates characters, locations, actions, and more from each episode so that those physically unable to see the screen still have a sense of what is happening beyond the dialogue.
Netflix said in its announcement that it intends to add this option to other original series, including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and Marco Polo. The audio description addition at this point is only announced for English-language promgramming, but Netflix says it is looking into adding the same feature in other languages in the future.
Several outlets and groups, like io9 and The Accessible Netflix Project had raised awareness of the issue of producing a show about a blind character that blind audiences could not fully enjoy. CNBC originally contacted Netflix last week when the show premiered bringing awareness to the lack of options for visually impaired subscribers who might want to enjoy the show. Netflix responded with a statement then and then real action quite quickly, as the entire series premiered on April 10.
The article has been updated to properly reflect CNBC originally reaching out to Netflix about the lack of accessibility options for the show.