Though it doesn't actually release on Netflix for about 3 weeks, the first four episodes of Marvel's The Defenders have already been screened to critics, and so a bunch of spoiler-free first impressions are already out in the wild.
It's especially surprising that Netflix screened half of the show to the press so early after Iron Fist was so widely panned by critics (with damn good reason, mind).
While that might've indicated a certain confidence by the streaming giant in The Defenders being warmly embraced, the reception so far has in fact been decidedly mixed, but rest assured, it's certainly not another dud like Iron Fist.
It will remain to be seen whether or not the show tanks in its second half as many of Marvel's Netflix shows do, but so far it looks like the hardcore crowd hoping for this to be a major TV classic might want to lower their expectations a little...
"The good news is The Defenders comes in at a leaner, punchier eight episodes." - Empire
"It’s usually in the second half of the season where Marvel Netflix shows have tended to flounder for a bit with filler; The Defenders only has eight episodes compared to the other series’ normal 13, which means it moves at a much faster clip than its predecessors—it doesn’t have any time to waste, which is a huge boon...The shortened season brings with it a sense of urgency." - Gizmodo
One of the most common complaints about the MCU's Netflix shows is that there are far too many episodes for the typically quite thin stories they're trying to tell.
Mercifully, then, The Defenders cuts the usual thirteen-episode order back to a more lean eight, and it certainly makes the mini-series feel like more of an event and less of a slog. We're all busy people, so why bloat things out for the sheer sake of it, right?