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Netflix’s next game-changer

Netflix Marvel Miniseries

New York has won the competition to become the shooting location for the four Marvel miniseries that Disney is producing for Netflix. These 52 collective episodes are part of an ambitious Netflix strategy to become a leading source of original science fiction and horror franchises. This genre project got off to a rocky start with the rather awful “Hemlock Grove” series, but will kick into high gear when a mysterious new mega-budget miniseries by the Wachowski siblings debuts in late 2014. The “Matrix” franchise creators are currently prepping a 10-episode package called “Sense8,” which features African, German, Korean and Mexican characters.

But the Marvel deal is even more ambitious in scope.

It involves four separate miniseries featuring four superheroes with interlocking storylines. The challenge here is that 75% of the heroes are rather obscure; the quartet consists of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Ironfist and Luke Cage.

52 one-hour episodes is a fairly substantial bet by Netflix. If both Sense8 and the Marvel shows click, Netflix will position itself as one of the biggest genre show centers on television by the summer of 2015. At the same time, Netflix is nurturing fans of high-brow fare like “Orange Is the New Black”, as well as making a play for families with small kids via an animation deal with Dreamworks.

Wall Street is in love with this high-concept, crazy quilt approach — Netflix’s share price has exploded from $200 to $450 in the past year and is currently making new highs, buoyed by deafening media buzz surrounding the second season of “House of Cards.”

The Marvel deal involves $4 million worth of incentives and tax breaks, but New York is a logical location considering the characters live in Hell’s Kitchen.

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