Ever since her short-lived stint as a Super Hero ended in tragedy, Jessica Jones has been rebuilding her personal life and career as a hot-tempered, sardonic private detective in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. Plagued by self-loathing, and a wicked case of PTSD, Jessica battles demons from within and without, using her extraordinary abilities as an unlikely champion for those in need... especially if they're willing to cut her a check.
Jessica Jones is incredibly addictive adult television. Pacing is always a matter of purpose; ‘why are we slowing the story down?’, ‘where are we speeding up this story to?’ and so on. This is truly made for Netflix television; watched seamlessly it feels like 1 gigantic film.
With Roles in Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust The B**** in apartment 23, she is used to acting in big roles and doing them justice but Ritter does her best work here as ex-super hero turned private investigator, Jessica Jones.
Television series sometimes miss the boat when it comes to character development, not quite maximising the platform of television over cinema. That isn’t the case here. Krysten Ritter is given plenty of quality material to work with. Flashbacks are used sparingly and in great effect to add to the larger story arc as we learn more and more about the tortured protagonist. To say the writing is well written is an understatement and the cast give truly great performances that stand out in this gritty fictional world which at moments feel very real and relatable.
Eka Darville, Clarke Peters, James Freedson-Jackson, Wil Traval, Susie Abromeit, Colby Minifie, all get the opportunity to give sterling performances that last in the memory as they automatically become part of this growing fictional world that we’ve invested in, characters, towns and all - some us even as far back as Daredevil season 1. There are some especially riveting performances that are haunting; Robin Weigert, Erin Moriarty and the brilliant writers make sure of that. Making a grown man flinch repeatedly is no easy task but they succeeded… on more than one occasion. This show isn’t for faint hearts.
Mike Colter ie ‘Luke Cage’ (who will be getting his own Netflix show soon), Rachel Talor ie Trish Walker (Jessica’s sister), Carrie Ann-Moss ie Jeri Hogarth – Jessica’s lawyer and David Tennant ie The Purple Man or ‘Killgrave’ are more central characters. The weight of the show rests on their shoulders and they carry it strongly all the way to the big finish at episode 13.
David Tennant’s charm is used inversely to create tangible horror in every scene he is in. If there is such a thing as scene stealing Tenant does it whenever he is on camera. Krysten Ritter does everything to equal his villainous charisma with her well timed believable deadpan, no-nonsense demeanour that makes for watchable friction whenever they share a screen. Mike Colter establishes Luke Cage and his story which intertwines with Jessica’s in ways that makes for cinematic levels of drama and sexual tension (not for long mind you #spoilers).
The opening credits pay homage to Alias, the watercolour painted comic book covers that Jessica Jones is known for shown with a catchy theme tune playing alongside it. The direction and stunts are clean and well done for the most part and the soundtrack is well utilized, amplifying moments of dread and passion in equal measure. What was most exciting about this was that the hero was female. It has become boring watching male super heroes or protagonists in general ‘save the day’ so to speak, it was nice to see this paradigm but with a woman at the centre. Not only is this achieved in respects to the main character but to the cast of main characters who are strong females all interacting making compelling television. I watched this series in one sitting. You probably will too.
Rating: 5 stars
Why watch it?: To watch a series about a protagonist that doesn’t wear a cape and has a lot more in common with the everyday person than we give fictional characters credit for.