Noisy, annoying neighbours. A shitty apartment. Constant flashbacks to a time of intense conflict & pain. JESSICA JONES has had better times in her life, but right now working as a private investigator in New York city and drinking heavily will make do.
Netflix set a very high bar earlier this year with their first superhero series Daredevil, proving comic book TV drama didn't need to be contrived, boring or predictable. It also showed character development is key and casting can make or break your show, no matter how good the writing is. Netflix set a new standard for the genre and challenged the glut of programming already slated and to come to lift its collective game in competition.
The second of four in Netflix's live-action superhero adventure series Jessica Jones manages to change the game again in a number of previously unseen ways for the genre: A female-lead-heavy cast; a straight-edged look at the effects of depression and PTSD; the lack of reliance on super powers to deliver the big "bang" for the episode, punctuating the last 15 minutes of the episode.
Jessica Jones is more superhero TV done very, very right - making it very bloody good.
Krsyten Ritter (Jones), Rachel Taylor (Trish Walker), Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeryn Hogarth) & Erin Moriarty (Hope) all deliver powerful, complex performances - an incredible achievement when, with few exceptions, female leads usually total one or two per show. Moss is decisively dark as the win-at-all-costs lawyer Jones owes more than a favour to, and along with the acknowledgement her character was originally meant to be cast as male is a reflection of the depth of her performance and her strength as an actor.
Ritter occasionally lacks the physicality that is expected from a (retired) superhero however her portrayal of a difficult and affected extraordinary human who is struggling with the consequences of her actions, the lasting effects of her final battle with her nemesis and the depression that, at times, controls her darker moments more than compensates.
David Tennat (Kilgrave) is at his enigmatic, disturbing best, seen only in the shadows for the first four episodes and spoken of in hushed tones and given deference for his powerful ability. He is mesmerising every time he's on screen - and what a role for him to take charge of (he challenges Daredevil's Vincent D'Onofrio for best bad guy of the year).
While it isn't what might be normally expected for casual summer viewing once you start this suspense/adventure drama it's difficult to stop. It's an ideal antidote to what is otherwise mind-numbing content delivered during the non-ratings period.
Jessica Jones is a series that doesn't diminish the source material or compromise its difficult subject matter for easy consumption. It's dark, challenging and compelling TV from Netflix, and a series you won't want to miss.