Netflix just debuted their new original series Daredevil based on the character from the Marvel Comics universe. It’s about a legally blind attorney who turns into a vigilante superhero who protects the world from the bad guys. The character of Matt “Daredevil” Murdock is a great one that everyone should be able to enjoy, but unfortunately, the blind can’t.
As reported by Io9, Netflix isn’t making Daredevil available in audio description, a format that has an additional soundtrack with a person describing the on-screen action between dialogue. A number of shows have this option, but Daredevil isn’t one of them.
Attorney Joshua Loevy from Kansas City, Missouri, has often been compared to Matt Murdock by his friends. He was excited about Daredevil on Netflix, but now he’s upset it isn’t available to him.
“The idea that a show about a blind protagonist is not being offered in a format that real blind people can fully appreciate it, is a bit maddening.”
Every broadcast television network is required by law to provide content with audio description for at least 50 hours every quarter. Now, some theaters are incorporating audio description as well.
None of Netflix’s programming has audio description.
“‘It just serves to drive the point home, that even [with] this show that’s centered around a guy that’s blind,’ it’s not available for the blind, says Loevy. Daredevil is a character ‘whose superpowers are derived, in a sense, from his blindness,’ and the show is ‘more blind-centric than others.'”
According to CNBC, Robert Kingett, who is also legally blind, has been writing directly to Netflix executives since October of 2012. He is writing to them as Accessible Netflix Project, a group of 11 blind volunteers trying to get audio description added to Netflix.
“‘It’s entertainment, but accessibility is important regardless of if it’s entertainment or education,’ said Kingett, who also lives with cerebral palsy and contributes stories to gaming publications about accessible video games for the blind.”
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever growing in television and movies, there are people around the world who will associate with a number of characters. The release of the Daredevil television series brings a lot of entertainment to those who are blind because it’s good, but also because they can associate with the main character.
As Netflix has yet to put audio description on any of their programming, the release of Daredevil has brought the issue back into the spotlight. Netflix has said they are “working hard to provide great entertainment to all our members, including the hearing and visually impaired.”
There were no further updates, but it will be interesting to see what Netflix does in the soon-to-come future.
[Image via Netflix]