NYCC 2015: Marvel’s Jessica Jones pilot first impression and notes

marvel's jessica jones

By Joshua Kaye

Marvel Studios has always been a consistent company, sometimes to a fault. We know we can expect good films, but we can also expect things to get formulaic and predictable. Then they branched out to television, first putting out Agents of SHIELD. It was a slow burn, and there were some truly awful moments in the first season, but it took a turn and, like the films, can be expected to make for a quality Tuesday night. Following the second season of SHIELD, Marvel released an Agent Carter miniseries. And once again, it was quality. Once again, it was consistent. But at a certain point, it all felt safe.

That all changed once Marvel partnered up with Netflix and planned to work on a Defenders series, with individual shows for each character. The first to get a show? Daredevil, who was infamously made into a joke following the Ben Affleck film. But Marvel had new plans… grittier and darker plans with an antagonist that was so unsettling and chilling that you wonder if Marvel could ever top themselves. With the success of the first season, Marvel decided to go on and make a season, following their newest series coming out this November, Jessica Jones.

Moderating the panels, as always, was Jeph Loeb, who really knows how to present his work. He may not be Tony Stark, but the man knows what he’s doing and is confident in doing so. Before anything began, Loeb ran off stage to bring out Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), and Mike Colter (Luke Cage). That’s right. In front of a massive audience at New York Comic Con, we got our first look of 75% of the Defenders.

The first show to go on was Daredevil, where Loeb presented us with a clip recapping the incredible first season. Following the recap though…was something all new. The audience received their first look at season two…not much, bit clips and pieces. Just a few things to note: We get a small look at Elodie Yung as Elektra, we get a small look at Jon Bernthal as The Punisher, and we’re shown the familiar faces. At the panel were Joe Quesada, showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez, Elodie Yung, Jon Bernthal, Foggy, Deborah Ann Woll, and Charlie Cox.

There wasn’t too much new information presented to the audience as the cast really was sworn to secrecy as well as the showrunners. To sum it up: the costumes look good, people don’t recognize Elodie yet, people are reminding Bernthal not to screw up, and we may see Karen Page and Murdock get together. It was a fun discussion, and people were obviously excited, but it was clear what people really wanted.

It was time for Jessica Jones, and she sure did put on a show. At the panel was showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, Erin Moriarty (Hope), Eka Darville (Malcolm), Wil Traval (Will Simpson), Rachel Taylor (Trish “Patsy” Walker), Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeryn Hogarth…I’ll get into that), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), and Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones). Sadly, there was no David Tennant but they did show a clip of him speaking to the New York audience. Again, the cast couldn’t say much because as Jeph Loeb said, “It’s Marvel.” But the cast didn’t have to speak, since we were presented with the premiere of the first episode of Jessica Jones.

I won’t go into a detailed recap and I won’t spoil anything. But a few bullet points:

  • Jessica Jones, from the start, goes darker than Daredevil.
  • Krysten Ritter portrays Jessica wonderfully, showing just how strong she is physically but how, in an instant, she can unravel.
  • Jessica Jones is dealing with some extreme personal issues. Alcoholism being one, post-traumatic stress disorder being another. She’s being held at the seams.
  • Jessica Jones presents the very first rated R scene in any Marvel show, or at least that I can think of. In two ways actual, you’ll see.
  • Let’s talk about Jeryn Hogarth. In the comics, Hogarth is a male character. Obviously, Carrie-Anne Moss is not a male. Thing is, she brings such a strong presence to the screen that the character works…she reminds me best of Claire Underwood from House of Cards.
  • Kilgrave is a terrifying…terrifying man. I’m not sure I’ll be able to look at David Tennant the same ever again. He’s rarely on screen and the fact he can do so much in so little screen time…I’m just afraid to see what he can do throughout a whole episode.
  • As for the tone of the show, it does feel like a more dangerous sort of procedural. Think something like Luther more than Castle. It also has the noir-type music that signifies, “This is a detective show.”
  • The opening credits are solid. Maybe not as good as Daredevil, but still very good.

Now, there were some negatives as well. The humor in the pilot is a bit off at times, where it seems like it’s aiming for the snarky-ness of Veronica Mars but more immature. Which says a lot since Veronica Mars centers on high schoolers. But I’m not too concerned. The pilot for Jessica Jones shows Marvel knows what they’re doing.

Come November 20, people will be talking about Jessica Jones, and rightfully so. If the rest of the series is as good as the pilot, Marvel will be 2-2 with their Netflix collaboration. Marvel doesn’t just want to provide quality films anymore, they want to provide quality television as well and damn it they’re doing as good of a job as I could have ever expected.

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