Jessica Jones (Season 1)

(I stole the next couple of paragraphs straight off of Wikipedia. I feel minimal shame).

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Jessica Jones, is an American web television series created for Netflix by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the second in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios and Tall Girls Productions, with Rosenberg serving as showrunner. S. J. Clarkson produced the first season; Liz Friedman and Raelle Tucker are among the other executive producers.

Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones, a former superhero who opens her own detective agency after an end to her superhero career. Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval, Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss, and David Tennant also star in season one. A version of the series was originally in development by Rosenberg for ABC in 2010, which was eventually passed on. By late 2013, Rosenberg reworked the series, when it reentered development for Netflix as A.K.A. Jessica Jones and Ritter was cast as Jones in December 2014. Jessica Jones films in New York City, in areas that still look like old Hell’s Kitchen.

Good enough? Let’s dive in:

As far as content is concerned, Jones ventured a step up with bloodier violence and sex scenes.  And while Netlfix’s earlier Marvel child of 2015 kept an undeniable connection to the source material and its content, it rarely overplayed the guts and gore in the first season.  While Jessica Jones is not even close to the most violent shows airing online, it certainly contains more ketchup and red paint than the average crime or detective series.

We live in a time where cable TV shows and their content is far more acceptable—and even requested—by mainstream audiences. From this review, you, Dear Reader, are probably thinking this show is nothing but gratuitous violence and blood throughout.  I apologize if that’s how this reads.  The show does not have a lot of bloody scenes…but when it does, it really does.  Which is what surprised me.  It probably shouldn’t’ve, but alas, it did.  So just be warned.

Daredevil left high expectations mid-summer of last year, leaving us to anticipate nothing but greatness from Netflix’s fall superhero (or superheroine, depending how you stand). And although it did not disappoint (completely), there were several elements lacking from the finished product that made the show significantly weaker than we had hoped for.  The show picked up with a slow, somewhat rocky start.  But once we were introduced to the psychopathic Kilgrave, the show was aided by the underlining chemistry and personal battles of the hero and villain for the rest of the show, for the most part.  A couple of episodes in the middle of the 13-installment season pulled us out of the drama and the action, but picked back up by the end.

But what was the low of the show? What was the best part?

The lull, I personally believe, was the character of Jessica Jones. The performance by Ritter was proficient and probably stuck close to the script.  But the script called for more backstories of the supporting cast—that don’t do many things significant, outside of Jessica’s best friend, the cop, the wannabe Claire Underwood (Carrie-Ann Moss), and the pothead—rather than give Jessica a reason.  I repeat: her performance was fine, but her backstory was questionable.  The character offered to us was sometimes too one-dimensional, or inaccessible, leaving me wanting to root more for Kilgrave than Jones.  Overall, I was excited for the detective story/film noir/gritty atmosphere we were assured from the trailers and the leftover hype from Daredevil, but was moderately disappointed by the story arc that couldn’t make up its mind, the pacing, and the sometimes un-empathetic characters.  Naturally, this is my personal opinion, and it could change with Season 2 (promised to us by Netflix last year).

The great factor was, by far, David Tennant. His performance was an incredible stretch from his typical typecasting.  Being a moviegoer and TV-watcher who has only see Doctor Who through TV spots and the occasional clip on YouTube…I knew very little about Tennant.  I know him from the fourth Harry Potter chapter and the voice of a character in How To Train Your Dragon (2010).  So when I read the tenth Doctor was going to play the main villain in a new Marvel series…I had more than mixed feelings.  But once we were finally introduced to him, I didn’t want to see him leave.  He delivered a performance that had depth, madness, and irrefutable gravity.  And more madness.  Perhaps his character was nothing incredibly new or original, except for his obsession with the Jessica Jones.  Because of the effort his put forth in this season of JJ, I’m half-tempted to watch his version of the Doctor.  At the very least, I’m fascinated with whatever project his takes on next.  Hopefully as another villain.

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I don’t want to seem overtly negative towards JJ.  But I was sadly disappointed that it came up short near the end.  It had a good amount of potential.  It was good, not great.  But I’d be curious to continue with Season 2 later in the year to see where it’s heading.  It might develop the story past the uncontrollable amount of subplots and under-developed characters.  I think with clever editing, it could have been cut down to eight or ten episodes and would have been a better flowing, action packed film noir.

In the end, I’m going to give it a B-. Perhaps a C+.  This I can’t make my mind up about.

This show wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I made it out to be. So if you’re a loyal Marvel following, and enjoyed Netflix’s rendition of Daredevil…this show might possibly be for you.

 

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About Morgan

January 2016 Update: This blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient while we gradually remove old material, posts, and pages, and create new ones. Thank you.
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