If Supergirl Wore Black Leather (Series Review: ” Jessica Jones”)

The highly anticipated Netflix original series, Marvel’s Jessica Jones introduces an antisocial, former superhero crime fighter whose past comes back to haunt her. It doesn’t disappoint.

SnapShot Plot

Jessica Jones is about as diametrically opposed as you could get to CBS’s fresh-faced, girl-next-door Supergirl, that franchise and character so all American and well-scrubbed she makes my teeth sing. No, in Jessica’s gritty world, people can usually be counted on to cheat, lie and steal their way around a seedy Manhattan which looks and feels like evil is lurking around every corner. She’s a private investigator whose work mostly consists of photographing cheating spouses caught ‘in flagrante,’ or serving subpoenas to criminals and thugs. She’s a tortured loner with a bleak world view who self-medicates by drinking herself into a stupor just to get to sleep.

Krysten Ritter is known to TV audiences primarily from memorable parts in shows such as Breaking Bad (who could forget her character’s heart-breaking drug overdose?) or her lead role in the short-lived ABC comedy, Don’t Trust The B– in Apartment 23, in which she played a promiscuous and larcenous roommate. It seems Jessica Jones is an amalgam of these characters, albeit in a much darker package. Combine that with a certain mix of super powers and Ritter’s own trademark dead-pan, sarcastic delivery and you’ve got the perfect actor married to the perfect part.

From her mysterious past and questionable connections to the strange physical strength she employs to ‘get the job done,’ the show quickly envelopes us in Jessica’s world and – despite her blanket cynicism – makes us care deeply about her. When the frantic Midwestern parents of a missing NYU student show up on her doorstep, begging her to find their track star daughter, Hope, Jessica treats it like any other missing person file, until she detects eerie parallels between her own tragic past and the case at hand. She soon makes the horrifying realization that the figure behind Hope’s bizarre disappearance is none other than the same person who made Jessica what she is today. And she realizes he must be stopped and she’s the only one who can do it.

 

 

Parting Shot

Created by Melissa Rosenberg for Netflix, Jessica Jones is based on the 2001-2004 Marvel comic book series, Alias (not to be confused with the TV series starring Jennifer Garner). At first glance it may seem strange for Norma’s Streaming Picks to recommend yet another entry in the super-hero canon (a genre I find ultimately boring at best) but Jessica Jones has so far escaped any snap judgments from Yours Truly. And why? Because this heroine is real in a blood & guts way Supergirl never could be. Her back story and the milieu in which she exists may border the preternatural but always with one foot firmly planted in the here and now of this conflicting and complex world. Jessica is an infuriating, sarcastic yet beleaguered character, whose days and nights are chock full of all sorts of real-life dangers including rape, mind control, and sexual abuse, which makes Jessica Jones more than just comic book escapist fare. In this way, its inner darkness is its most illuminating element.

Jessica Jones is presently streaming on Netflix.

YouTube Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWHUjuJ8zxE

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