Jessica Jones is arguably the best season of television put out by the Marvel/Netflix partnership. All of these shows have too many episodes, but JJ is sustained by the most cohesive plotting anyone has managed in a Marvel/Netflix show, and also, an all-time great villain courtesy David Tennant. The second season of JJ is coming in March, and a trailer has just been released, showing us what is in store for Jess this time around. Mostly that’s alcohol, bitterness, and a disturbing past. So, you know, same old, same old.
Krysten Ritter is GREAT as Jessica Jones, and if the show was just about Jess solving crimes while being grumpy and some stage of drunk-to-hungover, I’d be way into it. (That is basically the comics, by the way.) But Marvel/Netflix has dedicated itself to being DARK and GRITTY, and therefore, everything must be miserable all the time. It was a problem when the first seasons were stacking up, that all these shows are so DARK and GRITTY, and it’s only going to become more of a thing as we get into second seasons—and third, in Daredevil’s case. The darker tone worked at first as a counterpoint to the generally light-hearted tone of the movies. But we are now eighty-six hours into this venture, and it’s getting to be a lot.
I’m not saying these shows need to turn into the movies—they don’t. But they maybe need to start moving in new directions. Do we need a traumatic exploration of Jessica’s past? Didn’t we just do that in the first season? Also, she got chemicals dumped on her in a car accident. It’s a superhero universe. Who needs more than that? I really like season one and I am happy to spend more time with these characters but I watch this trailer and feel discouraged. It feels like maybe no one had a clear idea of what to do with season two, because we’re basically repeating season one, except instead of the ex from hell we’re dealing with unethical science experimentation. This is, honestly, something I worried about coming out of season one. Once you resolve Jess’s trauma, what is left (besides a kick-ass detective show)? It would seem the answer is: More past trauma. (I wonder about The Punisher season two, for the same reason.)
I’m sure someone will hit up my inbox to yell at me and explain why we need to know all about these experiments and that it’s totally okay Jessica is not, apparently, advancing as a character despite resolving significant trauma in season one. Yell away. I’ll just be here quietly wondering how long the Marvel/Netflix machine can do this before we get tired of watching the same thing over and over.