"Obscurities and Abject Pandering: What You’re Missing on NETFLIX"
(2015, NR—definitely for MATURE audiences, 13 Episodes, MARVEL STUDIOS/NETFLIX)
Hell’s Kitchen, New York, is a seriously rough neighborhood.
In Netflix’s latest original series/Marvel event (which takes place in the same town as "Daredevil"), the title character of "Jessica Jones" is one bad-ass lady. Played by the versatile Krysten Ritter, and by keeping to the basic formula already presented in "Daredevil", Jones is a former hero/private investigator caught up on the wrong side of a bad guy. Said evil doer is played by the wonderfully psychopathic David Tennant (taking a big step away from his previous role as The Doctor in "Doctor Who"). He is, indeed, a guy of low morals. Thankfully for that rough neighborhood, so is Jessica Jones.
If Kilgrave (Tennant) is the opposite (maniacally speaking) of Vincent D'Onofrio’s "Wilson Fisk", then Jones has that demeanor the Daredevil was so afraid to adopt. She kicks ass first, asks questions later. Not to say that she isn’t haunted by her choices or actions—for the majority of superheroes, that seems to be where their greatest weakness lies. But our Jessica has a bit more fun embracing her powers. From the comments she and the lesser characters make, to the littlest and most subtle of actions, the humor here is just as gritty and dark as the series itself.
And unlike the "Daredevil" series, this hero is not the only goodish person on the show with superpowers. I don’t want to spoil your fun, so I’ll not divulge too many secrets here. But just keep in mind that Netflix does have an endgame, and it involves Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and at least two other characters all appearing together in a future series called "The Defenders". Kind of like "The Avengers", but with a much longer running time... and more blood... and more swear words.
This is where I think Netflix has established a stranglehold on the adult comics market. This is not your regular terrestrial show, like "Arrow" or "Flash", where there is not a whole lot of moral ambiguity or PG rated language (see: "crap" and "gosh-darn-it"). By making the shows that take place in a gritty setting, and allowing a certain hardboiled-ness to permeate the dialogue, complimented with interesting camera work, Netflix has put its own unique spin on the market. Kind of like how you know you are listening to a Prince song; it has that certain rhythm, that distinct voice, that absolutely awesome funk to it that separates the melodic piece from the rest.
The show is not perfect, not yet; some of the plot points of the co-starring characters get pushed off to the side and, in at least one case, abandoned and forgotten. Which is a shame, because to watch Carrie-Anne Moss as Jessica’s sometimes employer and possibly corrupt attorney Jeri Hogarth is to see the best performance of her career. She doesn’t chew the scenery so much as she lovingly grips it and starts squeezing the life out of it. Yes, she’s that good.
The show is binge-worthy, but, as I must play the devil’s advocate, remember that season two will not be around for another year. We will get the sophomore season of "Daredevil" between now and then, and if Netflix sets up future series the way I think they will, we may be seeing a regular rotation of four or five series every three months or so.
If they keep to the tempo of their first year, then someone please lend me the money to move to Hell’s Kitchen—I don’t want to miss anything.
Series Grade: B
Put me to work, dammit! Suggest a queue for me to review, and get creative! The holidays are here, surely you want to know the best Christmas action movies!!