Here's Why You Don't Have to Be a Comic Book Fan to Love 'Jessica Jones'
Netflix's female-driven detective drama is not all about superhero capes and superpowers.
Jessica Jones is a dark and sexy, noir-inspired detective drama about a former superhero turned private eye. It's also Netflix's second Marvel-centric show after Daredevil. For comic book fans, the decision to binge through the 13-episode series (it was released Nov. 20th) was a no-brainer. After all, the titular character (played by the wonderful Krysten Ritter) belongs to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is a superhero herself — she has super strength and the ability to fly.
However, for fans who have fatigued on superhero overload — or were never fans of comic book-related anything — the release of Jessica Jones was most likely met with nonchalant shrugs and eye rolls. Understandably so. After all, Jessica Jones is a superhero show and the superhero genre is known for delivering a lot of the same damn thing — cheesy dialogue and overly idealistic views that one masked or cloaked hero with absurd powers can save the world.
But as someone who is in the "superhero fatigue" camp and doesn't know the difference between S.H.I.E.L.D and an Avenger, I'm here to tell you that Jessica Jones is a brilliant show. So for all you non-comic book fans like me, here are a few reasons why you should be watching this Netflix gem right now.
1. Jessica Jones feels more like a detective drama than a superhero show.
Jessica Jones ditches all the glossy, high-octane action that superhero movies go for, and instead focuses on Jessica's life as a hard-boiled detective operating a private eye agency out of her scrappy Hell's Kitchen apartment. At Alias Investigations, there are mysteries that need to be solved, missing people to find, and photos of cheating lovers that need to be surreptitiously taken for profit. Sure, the overall plot focuses on stopping a villainous madman named Kilgrave (David Tennant) who has the power to control minds, but doing so requires Jessica to use the clues (and gruesome murders) he leaves behind.
2. You won't get inundated with flashy superhero powers.
Jessica Jones has special abilities, but those abilities are not thrown in your face — and that's the beauty of the show. Viewers are slowly introduced to her powers when she lifts hundreds of pounds of marble, breaks padlocks with her bare hands, or jumps from tall buildings and lands unscathed. These moments are few, but they are jarring when they happen. In this way, the show's handling of her superhero strength is the ultimate lesson in restraint. Her powers are present, but they take a back seat to the much bigger struggles and personal problems she is forced to face.
3. You don't have to know the character's backstory (thankfully).
The fact that Jessica Jones went to high school with Peter Parker (a.k.a Spider-Man), or once tried to make a living as a superhero named Jewel, is completely irrelevant. However, for comic fans, discovering all the subtle Marvel Cinematic Universe references within the show is kind of fun, but not mandatory.
4. Jessica Jones is a relatable bad-ass.
Jessica Jones cares little about heroics, and more about how many F-bombs and shots of whiskey she can throw back in a single sitting. She's rude, short-tempered, and will probably kick your ass if given the opportunity. She doesn't care about fashion (light-washed jeans for days), or the bad — or good — things people have to say about her. She's a real woman with real problems.
5. The show is a female-driven drama with strong women.
Jessica Jones' female-driven cast is refreshing. The show could have treated its lead as an over-sexualized, one-dimensional character. Instead, Jessica is complex and complicated. She suppresses her emotions through alcohol, sex, and aloofness. The show also explores the impact of her past trauma (she was raped and controlled for a prolonged period by Kilgrave), and the consequences of emotional and sexual abuse. Other strong female characters include Jessica's best friend Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), a well-heeled radio host with a physically abusive past, and Jeri Hogarth (played by Carrie-Anne Moss), a tough-as-nails lawyer who is willing to manipulate or abuse her power to get what she wants. These woman aren't perfect (who is?), but they're strong as hell.
6. The cast rules.
If you've seen Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (which sadly only lasted two seasons), you already know that Krysten Ritter slays. The beloved David Tennant (of Dr. Who and Harry Potter fame) brings an alarming amount of charisma to someone so ruthless, amoral, and whiny. For Matrix fans, it's crazy yet satisfying to see Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as someone so deceitfully calculating and manipulative. The show was also created by Melissa Rosenberg, who served as a writer and executive producer on Dexter. She's had experience dealing with dark heroes (in Dexter's case, a family man/serial killer of justice). This experience that serves her well with Jessica Jones.