Jessica Jones Season 1
Released: November 2015.
Showrunner: Melissa Rosenberg
Developer: Melissa Rosenberg
Based on: Jessica Jones, Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
Length: 13 Episodes
Kristen Ritter as Jessica Jones
David Tennant as Kevin Kilgrave
Carrie-Anne Mosse as Jeri Hogarth
Rachel Taylor as Trish Walker
Wil Travel as Will Simpson
Mike Colter as Luke Cage
A New York Private Eye falls into a mysterious web of danger reconnecting her to traumatic events. Set against the backdrop of back alleys, bars, and the streets of New York Jessica Jones goes into a new area of the MCU. She must battle her own demons both psychological and physical as she encounters a dangerous enemy who had destroyed her. Armed with only Alcoholism, Rage, Trauma, and a Camera, this P.I. is about to go to war with a figure who can make anyone do anything. The question remains, can she defeat her demon? This is Marvel and Netflix’s 2nd venture together, and showcases even darker elements than the first.
Based on Marvel Max’s Alias Comic Book, Jessica Jones has languished in years of development hell before the deal between Netflix and Marvel. The rumors say everything from the series being on ABC Family to a Luke Cage Movie featuring a Black Jessica Jones. It wasn’t until Netflix has given it a home had the series could gain legs. With Series Developer Melissa Rosenberg being attached since the character was, by Marvel, set to be on T.V. Jessica Jones had been fighting for her spot in the MCU. The series now explores a more damaged element of the MCU in terms of both character and setting. This could be considered a more socially evolved series, as was Daredevil, and a fresh take from the Marvel Universe.
The series continues the trend of fantastic performances. Featuring Krysten Ritter as the titular character, we see a person with an interesting dilemma. In Jessica Jones we see a woman suffering PTSD from effects of mind control, which serve as a sci-fi redressing for the series arguably successful, addressing of rape. It certainly takes little time for anyone to find the character infinitely charming. Krysten’s Jones has a unique way of being a charming, but cruel, protagonist. She takes a hard edge to everything and when she has moments of caring, you can tell the character is fighting her own ‘jerky’ nature in effort to get some of her clients to care. She stands as a damaged individual that many women in one way or another can really identify with. I myself find her as a wonderful protagonist who shows empathy and while not caring about the right thing, she certainly strives for it. What I love most about Ritter’s Jones is her ability to, without commenting it or making it obnoxiously obvious, is the way she gives Jones a natural sense of Rebellion, and how that counter acts Tennant’s character representing total control. This is a strong and layered performance.
A shared opinion among many who’ve watched this series is the performance of David Tennant as the villain Kilgrave. With a performance rooted in a self-designated damaged persona, Kilgrave is someone many would call a monster. Possessing the unique ability of being able to make people do what he says, building a strong dynamic against the naturally rebellious Jones. Tennant is a scene and show stealer in the role. He plays a genuine monster that you care to see fall. Where D’Onofrio’s Fisk had some semblance of tragedy, Tennant’s Kilgrave had evolved in both stature of evil and tragedy. A byproduct of serial abuse as a child, turning him into a monster. What I find the most interesting about Kilgrave is Tennant’s ability to relay this tragedy and keep it forefront at many times, but not lose any of his heat as a Monster. He doesn’t want sympathy, he doesn’t care about understanding he gives the whole story. Tennant is fantastic and charismatic with his performance as the villainous Kilgrave.
Jeri Hogarth is, in the series, the best stereotypical representation of what the public perceives Lawyers to be like. Carrie-Anne Moss is fantastic, she has a unique sense of dominance in her role. She really commands presences and really operates as a nice alternative to the rebellion Jones offers. Jeri is a character you want to see suffer at times and at others enjoy her moments of triumph. Jeri is a very political character with shifting alignments, even touched on thematically as she is working out a divorce from her wife. Moss’s Hogarth is a fantastic representation of the character.
Trish Walker is certainly the heart and soul of the season. She isn’t naive or ignorant but she is warm and caring. She is a great family aspect that supports Jones, and while Jones represents Rebellion as well as Survival, Walker represents Survival as well as Understanding and Family. Rachel Taylor really plays a sister in this series, delivering a good performance but never stealing scenes. Taylor holds her own and shows some depth and understanding and is exactly what the role needed. Taylor is certainly America’s favorite sister with her performance in this series.
It took me a while for me to find out that Will Simpson was Frank Charles Simpson. I was intrigued by Wil Travel’s Performance as Will. He has a natural charisma when he’s introduced and plays off as a good metaphor for an Abusive Person. At first, when meeting him he’s perceived as a Handsome and kind individual but once he’s developed into your circle he changes and evolves. He becomes a bad person who either apologizes or places blame elsewhere. Having him hook up with Trish was a fun and creative way to evolve his character into the series. With his alertness towards Kilgrave fueling him and him going back on drugs his evolution as an abuser comes full circle and Travel does fantastic portraying that. Using Jessica as a person who helps get Trish away from him is a wonderful metaphor for abuse victims gaining help from others with escaping abuse. It’s a layered and metaphorical performance from Travel that really should have been more noticed.
Without going too much into Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, it’s easy to say he was probably my favorite person in the series. He felt like a good-natured person and really was more of a Superman-esq character than he was Netflix’s Captain America. This all goes from the performance by Colter. He does such a wonderful Job and his casting has reminded me heavily of Christopher Reeve as Superman. Colter was fantastic and it feels fortunate for the audience that he was gifted his own series. Colter was Luke Cage.
The story of Jessica Jones is a personal story. A woman has survived a horrific incident and is trying to live with what happened to her and has given her PTSD. Seeing her struggle in life and her relationships with family really evolved the story. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg is in full control of the series. She had a vision for the series, a love for the comics, that it all comes together wonderfully. Without a doubt the series had a unique vision to adapt the comic book series, taking so much of the story while cutting or changing what needed to be without losing anything important. The writing staff has done a wonderful job spanning a television series that is inherently interesting and demanding of attention.
Sean Callery’s score is a fantastic and tonally appropriate theme for the series. While I do not find the theme as catchy or as fun as the theme to Daredevil. Callery has the most unique theme of the Marvel Netflix Series. The music plays a role of espionage in the series, giving numerous cues to the audience playing with it in an elemental form. The Noir tones introduced by Callery is a strongly beneficial artistic choice. The music is nothing short of dynamic and certainly helped the series feel unique.
The directing for Jessica Jones is famous for highlighting the female directors of the series. While I never bothered to look to see who was directing, each episode had me at full attention. I wanted, and needed to know what was happening. My favorite Episode of the season was “WWJD?” It felt like the most engaging episode with Jessica trapped with her captor and instead of keeping a consistent dower and dramatic tone, it had elements of levity and it made it more comfortable to watch. It is an episode that gave both Ritter and Tennant great moments and had strong visuals and great metaphorical elements that really qualify it as art. They have done a fantastic job directing the series without sacrificing the serious nature of what it’s commenting on.
Overall I, and my wife, Love Jessica Jones. I will be honest the ending of the season broke me because of numerous things. I wanted to see Kilgrave go against Daredevil and feel robbed of that, especially since Kilgrave is a Daredevil villain. I felt it wasn’t necessary to kill the character off, after they’ve proven that there was a way to capture and jail him. Thematically I am not sure where the series can go and that worries me. Regardless Jessica Jones is an extremely entertaining and well-made show by Marvel and Netflix. If it weren’t for a few small elements, I’d say it was near perfect. As it stands, personal taste and all, Jessica Jones is a Solid 8/10.