Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 1 is Off to a Strong Start (Spoiler Free)

Netflix Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones Season 1, Episode 1 “AKA Ladies Night” (Spoiler Free Impressions)

The first season of Daredevil was critically praised, leaving Jessica Jones, the second of four individual Marvel drama series created for Netflix, a lot to live up to. The series premiere is a good indication that it’s tough, no-nonsense heroine can not only hold her own as a lead character but that this series is going to be a dark, engrossing ride. 

The appeal of Marvel’s Jessica Jones is that like Daredevil, it’s a drama series for grown-ups. While there is always a place for fun, saccharine sweet comic-book television shows, Jessica Jones is genre entertainment that is grounded with characters who mostly talk, behave and interact in a realistic way. The premiere has more sexuality than any of the MCU movies combined. It’s a carnal sexuality, not that the hand on the steamy window type romance, neither is it gratuitous.

There are some television shows which feel like they are aspiring to be a prestige drama, yet Jessica Jones doesn’t have that pretentiousness about it even if some of those elements may be there. Yes, the central character as played by Krysten Ritter is deeply troubled and flawed. The show is moody and takes a grim, violent turn. But in all it’s seriousness, it’s not completely without a sense of humor. There’s a well crafted mystery which begins to unfold in such a way that isn’t trying to be overly complex or overwritten.

Jessica-Jones-poster

One of the strengths of “AKA Ladies Night” is the immersive storytelling. Writer and Executive Producer Melissa Rosenberg takes her time to paint a picture of Jessica Jones by showing us how she reacts in different contexts and to different people. There’s not as much exposition as one might expect in a typical pilot.

What are her superpowers and how did she get them? What or who caused her post-traumatic stress disorder? Unlike Daredevil, Jessica Jones’ first season isn’t her origin story, she’s been a gifted individual for some time and running from a mysterious past which haunts her. Rosenberg does a good job of balancing the information viewers need to know at the moment and leaving some questions to be answered as the season moves forward.

The door to Jessica Jones private investigator office tells us just about everything we need to know about her in a nutshell. It’s a little off it’s hinges with a few screws loose. It’s left unlocked in the dangerous Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood; criminals should be afraid of her not the other way around. And the door’s broken glass window is covered up with cardboard because she tossed a man through it. That was a good day.

marvels_jessica_jones_-_kilgrave poster

Melissa Rosenberg borrows a writing device from the Matrix where Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) is introduced as a bad-ass fighter but when the Agents arrive she becomes scared and runs for her life. This is a great way to build up how dangerous the villain is without the villain having to do anything on-screen. So when Jessica Jones becomes terrified, we know as an audience that not only is her nemesis a big threat but it also shows she’s willing to face her fears and help others in need.

Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad, Don’t Trust the B — in Apartment 23) is terrific as Jessica Jones. There’s no learning curve for her, from the start she embodies Jessica’s brash assertiveness with a subtle vulnerability. Ritters’ chemistry with Mike Colter aka Luke Cage is instantly likable and their dialogue is finely written.

The rest of the major characters don’t get as much screen time but have potential. Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri, a powerful lawyer, is good at conveying the shrewd, calculating aspect to her character. Radio talk show host Trish Walker (Rachel Taylor) has a deep history with Jessica and gives a vibe that they could have been more than former best friends.

If there’s a weakness to the premiere is that it takes a little while to get the story moving. Aside from the pacing issues, Jessica Jones’ debut is very promising. The first episode leaves us wanting to know more about Jessica, her past and the mysterious off-screen villain. The rest of the supporting characters are well acted and have a lot of potential. As marketing line goes, Hell’s Kitchen has a new hero and she’s definitely worth watching.

Are you hyped for Jessica Jones? If you binged watched it already, do you think it’s better than Daredevil? 

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on November 22, 2015, in Comics, Television, TV Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. No. Not better than Daredevil. However I already had a connection to him. Knew nothing about her. Jessica Jones is dark. And it keeps getting darker. (mostly because of Kilgrave [Purple Man]) So my only criticism would be whenever someone says something funny. It’s funny but I can’t laugh because it’s always too soon after something that just happened that I just couldn’t shake off. I’m still traumatized and they’re trying to be funny. Not as good as Daredevil but still pretty good. And yes I’m going to watch it all again. Probably tomorrow.

    You said something about the show “Unlike Daredevil, Jessica Jones’ first season isn’t her origin story, she’s been a gifted individual for some time and running from a mysterious past which haunts her.” Jessica Jones doesn’t start at the beginning… but it really doesn’t have to. Her past isn’t her origin story.

    I haven’t said anything.

    • So far I’ve only watched the first episode, I’ll probably watch an ep or two per week. I don’t know much about Jessica Jones either, but I was surprised to hear from early reviews how dark the show keeps on getting. I haven’t gotten to anything that’s traumatic yet but I can imagine how funny lines aren’t working for you in these situations.

      I’m liking that Jessica Jones doesn’t start at the beginning. I’m sure they’ll be more details on how she got her powers and who she was in upcoming episodes.

      I liked Daredevil a lot even though it wasn’t my favorite comic book based show of the year. I’m looking forward to the rest of JJ season 1.

  2. Cool, I might have to actually give this a look. wasn’t sure what to think when it was announced. I don’t watch a lot of TV but since it’s on Netflix I think I’ll be able to find the time. 🙂

    • Hello Tom. I’ve been pretty curious about this show, the early reviews have been very positive. I haven’t read any of her comics and I don’t know much about her. I think the show works as it’s own entity. It’s convenient to watch this on Netflix whenever you find the time. Hope you like it. 🙂

  3. This sounds pretty good. Is Daredevil required viewing before this? I started but never finished that series, so perhaps I should go back and finish it up first. At the same time, everyone is talking about this right now, so I kind of want to try it… haha. Great review man!

    • I’ve only seen the first episode and I liked it enough to keep watching. The overall feedback from fans is highly positive. So far it’s a separate show from Daredevil so you can watch it as a stand alone show. Eventually, there will be a cross over series with all the Netflix Marvel characters together. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks man, appreciate you checking out the post.

  4. Great write-up, I’m enjoying Jessica Jones also. Krysten Ritter is perfectly cast and the production values and writing are as strong as Daredevil. You’re right in that it doesn’t have any pretenses, it’s just a damn good super ‘hero’ drama and so much more!

    • There’s a lot of positive buzz and hype around this show. I can’t wait to watch further, so far I’m finished ep. 1. I plan on watching this with friends so it might take me a while to catch up. Cool to see Luke Cage already, can’t wait for his own show too.

  5. I’ve got this on my Netflix queue, and I’m looking forward to checking it out. I was really impressed by Daredevil, and I’m glad Netflix is doing a series of these. I really love the MCU movies, but it’s nice to have these TV shows with a darker take as well. I’m looking forward to seeing David Tennant as the villain, it will be different to see him in this context since everyone knows him so well from Doctor Who.

    • If you really like Daredevil, I think Jessica Jones will work for you too. It’s not exactly the same type of show, but its tone is mostly serious and dark. Very different from the CW superhero shows. I’m looking forward to seeing David Tennant as well, I heard he’s a terrifying villain. Whenever you get the chance to watch it, let me know how you like it. Cheers!

      • Got a chance to start the series over Thanksgiving break. I like it! Not quite as much as Daredevil, but I like the private investigator set-up and the gritty tone. David Tennant is very scary and good in the role. I’m about halfway through, looking forward to seeing more!

        • Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! I’m about half way through the season. I’m liking how David Tennant’s character is written into the story and the actor is doing a great job. I’m also liking the PI aspect and her ability to break open any door comes in handy. 🙂

  6. Four Marvel shows for Netflix? I’m going to have to break down and subscribe… This show sounds pretty good, I’ll have to give it a try one day.

    • After the four individual Marvel shows there will be a team up series of all four characters together. The other option would be to wait for the DVD/Blu-rays.Either way, well worth watching. 😀

  7. This is so next on my list!

  8. I only became aware of this show because it appeared (in promo form) on my screen as I was connecting to another Netflix (+BBC) drama called River. So I started it a few days ago, and am now about to watch episode 9.

    Now I am not a fan of super heroes of any stripe – even Superman and Batman and their sequels were not films that I actively pursued . If I happened on them by accident – you know after a football game, or before something that I was scheduling my time to see – then I might take a look.

    So I wasn’t primed for Jessica Jones. But I started it and here we are. I guess what I find the most telling and interesting thing about the series is how the info is ladled out only a small biy=t out a time. Rosenberg has done a terrific job of withholding the showing us of Jessica’s powers, how she kept Kilgrave off screen for a while, and so far – his mysterious power – where people do exactly what he tells them to do ( no matter what) is still a bit of the intriguing msytery.

    Your best comment, for those debating whether or not to watch this is – it’s a dramatic series for adults.

    • Hello Mike. Thanks for the thoughtful comments. On the strength of Daredevil and all things Marvel I’ve been looking forward to Jessica Jones for a while. Because nowadays trailers and promos give away too much information, I often try to limit viewing them if I know I’ll be watching the show or movie anyways. But I’m glad they are marketing Jessica Jones very well.

      I think that’s a big reason for the wide appeal of JJ is that isn’t really a superhero show, it’s a drama series for adults first. The build up to seeing Kilgrave was nice and he doesn’t disappoint once we see him. I also like that some side characters get a chance to develop. It’s a show with powers but it’s not about the powers which is also nice.

      Appreciate you stopping by and commenting, hope to hear from you in the future!

  9. Hey Eddie, I was hoping you’d blog about Jessica Jones. I was so impressed w/ Daredevil and so I have a high expectation w/ this one. I’ve only seen 1 episode so far and it didn’t immediately hook me the way Daredevil did. I hope future episodes are better though, glad to hear you think the entire season as a whole is good.

    • Hey Ruth, very nice of you to check out my Jessica Jones post. I had a blast with Daredevil (and Wilson Fisk/Kingpin). Jessica Jones doesn’t have that immediate big wow factor and the first episode is a slow build up. I wrote this post after only watching the first episode, now I’m at #9 and it’s still going strong. If you can, keep going. Hope you like it.

  10. I click the image on the right because there’s David Tenant in it but when I read the post his name is not mentioned at all.

    Is he in this series?

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