So...FINALLY finished "Luke Cage" and it was a chore. Right now, I can safely say that it was my least favorite of the 4 Marvel series they've done.
When it was Luke doing Luke Things, I liked it. He's usually quiet and collected and seems like a very approachable, level-headed, guy. I also liked his one or two episode "origin" story, where he had poofy hair and fought at Seagate Prison. The Harlem setting and music were well done, too. It's almost like they were trying for a modern-day (and serious) version of "Harlem Nights".
I also enjoyed the the Method Man appearance and his subsequent freestyle rap.
But the problems arose, quickly, and only compounded as the season continued.
1- The title says: "Luke Cage", but it may as well been "Misty Knight". There were some episodes where Luke was in maybe 10% and the other 90% was Misty, police procedural, and villain BS.
2- The villains stunk. Mahershala Ali was okay as "Cottonmouth". But they killed him off, halfway in, and the ridiculous "Diamondback/Willis Stryker" took over. His motivation was that his daddy never loved him? Alfre Woodard's "Black" Mariah got old quick, too.
3- A villain worth his own numbered point was "Shades", played by Theo Rossi. After seeing him get bunked up the anal love tunnel by a fat Marilyn Manson in "Sons of Anarchy", I can't take him seriously. They needed somebody with a more sinister demeanor to him. He seemed like a random goon, but he became increasingly more important. Bad casting, here.
4- No real connection with "Jessica Jones". Weird, considering Luke was a BIG part of that series. As the season started, I thought that maybe this was set before "JJ", but no. It wasn't until Claire Temple popped up that I realized it was set AFTER. There were little references to Frank Castle, Matt Murdock and even Justin Hammer, but they seemed almost obligatory.
5- The stories and action were kinda'....blah. There are no real "ESSENTIAL Luke Cage" stories out there, so that may have been one pothole. Jessica Jones had the whole mind-control thing, Daredevil had the Kingpin, Elektra and the Punisher. Luke had... bad guys who smuggled stuff.
Point that made me slap myself was (I think) episode 9. Luke and Misty are in the Harlem's Paradise bar, with gangsters shooting at them from all sides. Luke then carries Misty into the kitchen...and suddenly there's a secret bunker below the entire place that only a few know about. However, this secret bunker is also wired into the buildings' intercom system and it's somewhat easy for Claire Temple to get to it. The "secret subterranean escape route" was used a few times in "Daredevil" and I didn't like it there, either.
After this, I'm dreading having to start up "Iron Fist". I might just wait until "Defenders" comes along. In August, I think.