TV Commentary: ‘Jessica Jones’

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‘Jessica Jones’ | Photo: Assets1.ignimgs

Jessica Jones is the latest binge offering from Netflix and with any binge, you may be left feeling both empty/unsatisfied and full/satisfied, but with this show, it’s more of the latter, thankfully.

 

Jessica Jones is about a former superhero who, after a tragic life collision with a big bad, starts over as a private investigator. She has super strength and can fly, but not well, so basically, she jumps really high. (I, for one, am excited to see the future episode if and when and what propels her to fly.)

SPOILERS AHEAD.

The comparison with Daredevil, the other Marvel show on Netflix, is inevitable. Daredevil has a darker and sleeker look that’s consistent throughout the series whereas Jessica Jones needs work in that department. The subject matter of Jessica Jones is just as heavy, if not moreso, but it falls short in its execution.

One of the reasons for this could be their showrunner, Melissa Rosenberg, is not a good choice — definitely not who I’d pick. While Rosenberg was a producer on the dark show, Dexter, she was also essentially behind the Twilight film franchise. I’ll leave that there.

Another reason for the shortcomings could be the choice of directors and writers in general (Rosenberg also has writing credits). To make the show’s look better  and to do so consistently, the series would have benefited from keeping certain directors for more than one episode like with Game of Thrones, or even tapping one director to direct the entire series like with True Detective season 1 .

Or better yet, if they got the best director for the job to direct the pilot and set the tone for the directors to follow, like how House of Cards had Oscar-nominated director David Fincher (The Social Network) direct its pilot.

Jessica Jones also weaves in some  flashbacks in the narrative. It’s done well enough, but I think the placement of the flashbacks could be improved and the interesting factor could be upped. That would go a long way to get more people hooked, as another show did for me (Arrow from DC, coincidentally Marvel’s competitor).

Don’t get me wrong; these are nitpicks. The few minor shortcomings, if at all noticeable, are forgivable. Jessica Jones is an enjoyable show that you’ll have no trouble binge-watching (I certainly didn’t). In fact, as of this writing, it has a 9-star rating on IMDb.com.

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Star Krysten Ritter in her previous work, ‘Breaking Bad,’ with Aaron Paul. Photo: Coolspotters

Krysten Ritter, in the show’s titular role, is a star, which I’ve known since her turn on Breaking Bad. Aside from Marvel’s successful take on Daredevil, Ritter was the reason I was excited for Jessica Jones and rightly so.

The show also stars Mike Colter as Luke Cage (who will have his own Marvel series on Netflix soon). I knew of him from his work on The Good Wife. He didn’t stand out or strike me as a hottie on that show, but he definitely exudes that here (albeit missing a six-pack—maybe he’s saving it for his own show). Overall, he’s a great fit for the role. Kudos also to the fight choreographer or whoever has his fight scenes make it look like he’s just swatting flies and not grown men.

However, the casting of David Tennant as the villain was a bit off for me. I’m not a Doctor Who watcher, but from what I gather, he’s a great actor. It just comes down to miscasting; you could have the best actor in the world in a role but it’s possible that he won’t be a good fit or that the role wasn’t meant for him.

Tennant just didn’t seem to jive with the character; he lacked the creep factor and chemistry with Ritter. His character is supposedly in love with Ritter’s but I just didn’t get that from their scenes together. It doesn’t have to be romantic chemistry, but any sort of “acting chemistry” between the two was also missing from their interactions.

Otherwise, the show boasts of a strong and likable supporting cast with Rachael Ann Taylor as her best friend, Carrie Ann Moss as a lawyer she works with, and Eka Darval as her neighbor.

I could have done without the storyline with her twin neighbors though. And one article stated that the show dealt with rape well. It did — sort of — but I was expecting even more from a show that’s female-driven both on and off screen.

Another review pointed out that if Jessica Jones had been on ABC as originally planned, it probably would have taken on a different mystery for each episode, which I think would have been BOH-ring and ordinary. On Netflix, it deals with one major villain throughout the series, which makes for great viewing.

It keeps you hooked and Ritter keeps you invested. It’s what you’d expect of a female-driven show.

 

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