‘Jessica Jones’: How Marvel Could Screw Up Season 2
The Marvel Cinematic Universe established a daring new branch in 2015 with the introduction of the Netflix series Daredevil. That show — which stars Charlie Cox as the titular Man Without Fear — set a precedent for dark, ultraviolent tales inspired by some of Marvel’s more complicated heroes. It was a move that directly contrasted the family-friendly adventures of the MCU’s big-screen efforts and one that paid off handsomely for all involved. However, for Marvel, it gave the company the confidence to continue building toward its own Netflix team-up, The Defenders.
In 2015, Jessica Jones marked the second series in the growing Marvel/Netflix pantheon. Based on the character created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, the show stars Krysten Ritter as the former superhero as her dark past impacts her current profession as a private investigator. Praised by critics and fans alike, the show has already been renewed for Season 2, though details about what the future may hold remain scant.
Here are five mistakes creator Melissa Rosenberg and her team would be wise to avoid as they plan the next batch of episodes for Jessica.
1. Rehash characters and stories
Doctor Who actor David Tennant was dynamite in Season 1 as the deadly, mind-controlling Kilgrave, whose ties to Jessica lent the series some of its darkest elements. However, with his storyline concluded at the end of the show’s first season, we hope that Season 2 will find an equally strong villain rather than hope to retread what worked the first time.
If Jessica Jones hopes to grow going forward, it needs to learn when to let go. After all, that message in and of itself was key to Jessica’s arc in Season 1. To go back to the Kilgrave well would completely undermine it.
2. Lose the complicated nature of its hero
What made Jessica such a compelling hero is the seemingly contradictory nature of her character. She’s heroic, well-meaning, and justice-seeking, but at the same time, she is irritable, bitter, and emotionally shattered. Ritter delivered consistently fine work as the most complex female in the MCU to date, and we hope that Season 2 explores her multi-faceted dimension — and her connection to Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in even greater depth going forward. T
he conclusion of Season 1 certainly promises as much, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the payoff.
3. Ditch the neo-noir angle
Even the best comic book shows currently in production feel firmly like superhero stories. From The Flash to Daredevil, these shows bear many of the archetypes and story conventions one might expect from a tale in this genre. Conversely, Jessica Jones is a clear departure: a dark neo-noir detective story that just so happens to involve some superpowers. There are no costumes or clearcut heroes and villains to be seen in this Netflix show.
As depicted on the show, Jessica is just a complicated woman trying to do what’s right. Season 2 needs to honor that tone.
4. Soften the dark, borderline bleak edge
Even though fans of the Marvel Netflix shows knew to expect extreme violence from Jessica Jones, the show goes to even darker places — both in its onscreen carnage and in its thematic material — than viewers were likely expecting. Now that the series is a confirmed hit, the last thing we want is for it to lose its edge.
Too many popular properties find themselves tempted to water down what first made them great in order to appeal to a wider demographic. Please don’t let this happen to Jessica Jones, Marvel.
5. Get lost in the interconnected universe
One of the biggest criticisms some fans had about Daredevil Season 2 was its decision to take on so many different storylines. Yet, the introduction of both the Punisher and Elektra underscored a desire to expand the world. We just hope the show’s creative team resists the temptation to use this upcoming batch of episodes to overload viewers with Easter eggs and subplots intended to tie into upcoming series. Let it happen organically instead.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
Check out Entertainment Cheat Sheet on Facebook!