Posts Tagged ‘ jessica jones ’

15-16 Season

Wow, I haven’t watched nearly as much television as I thought I had. There’s 22 series this year, whereas last year I watched 27 American series, without even counting the British ones. I really thought that living by myself would increase the amount of TV I watched, but I guess I’ve been focusing rather more on films and reading this year. But, I don’t think that’s the only reason, either the series themselves are just not grabbing me or possibly (shudder) I’m just going off TV a bit.

Things I’ve watched

American Gothic: S1 (review pending)
The Americans: S4
Braindead: S1 (review pending)
The Bridge: S3
Code Black: S1*
Criminal Minds: S11*
Downton Abbey: S6*
Doctor Who: Swhatever*
Fargo: S2 (no review? Oops. It was great)
Grey’s Anatomy: S12
Happy Valley: S2
Jessica Jones: S1
Lucifer: S1
Marvel’s Agent Carter: S2
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: S3
The Muppets: S1
The Musketeers: S3
NCIS: LA: S6 (in progress)
Penny Dreadful: S3
Preacher: S1
River: S1
Stranger Things: S1 (review pending)
Trapped: S1
Unforgotten: S1
Walking Dead: S6

* Failed to review the season. I’ve been really slack this year! I promise to make an effort to do better!

goodwifeI know people describe this as a golden time for television, and there are still some real gems out there, but there’s a huge amount that I just find unexciting. I repeatedly found myself realising that I was only watching something because I thought I should, a kind of inertia. So I waved goodbye to the increasingly rubbish Scandal, couldn’t face the endless misery of The Affair and opted out of the abundance of awful people on Transparent. A tougher cut was one of my previously favourite shows, The Good Wife. I may go back to finish off the final season at some point, but I just found myself too frustrated by the big storylines endlessly pulling characters in frustrating directions.

ncislaShows like Criminal Minds, and NCIS LA remain on my Sky box only for their use as background noise while ironing or playing Candy Crush. But there’s only so much time for that (I really don’t iron that much) and most of the networks’ offerings this year would only have bulked out that list rather than add any particularly quality. I just about made it through the year with Code Black despite it being almost entirely ridiculous, and The Muppets only really lasted the year because at 20 minutes per episode, it was useful filler. I didn’t make it beyond the pilot for any other Network shows this year.

Agent_Carter_Series_LogoThere were a couple of returning shows that I actually looked forward to, The Americans goes from strength to strength as the characters and stories continue to evolve. Fargo had another great season, maintaining the offbeat tone but brought to life by an ensemble of familiar actors really showing their talents. The two Marvel series (SHIELD and Carter) remained entertaining, and while The Walking Dead writers made some big, annoying miss-steps its still probably the show I await most eagerly each week.

Jessica_Jones_NetflixSo, thank heavens for Netflix and Amazon. The ease of watching, combined with some actual originality has made Amazon and Netflix my TV source of choice recently. Things as diverse as the dark Jessica Jones and the cheesy American Gothic; the throwback Stranger Things, and then the downright un-classifiable Preacher and Braindead. These are the shows that I actually remember more than 5 minutes after I finished watching them, ones that I have something to say when I come to write their reviews, and the ones that I talk about with friends. Even shows that I didn’t get on with (Mr Robot for example), I still respect them and talk about them.

happy_valleyNon-American TV faired a little better at the start of the year with Happy Valley and Unforgotten both absolutely superb dramas with incredible performances by Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker. Trapped and The Bridge were both excellent entries in the Scandi-noir genres. Downton Abbey closed as it lived in cheesy ridiculous fashion, but for all that it really wasn’t very good, I will miss it as a pretty much perfect piece of Sunday evening rubbish telly. Things went a bit downhill after Christmas, with many dramas sounding too depressing for me to even start watching, and several leaving me apathetic and giving up on before too many episodes in (War and Peace, Victoria). The theoretically more light hearted, entertaining shows have also rather suffered, another season of Doctor Who that failed to grab me, a final season of The Musketeers even the writers couldn’t be bothered with and an array of uninspiring shows that never got off the ground.

I don’t really have a massive amount of enthusiasm for the coming year. There are only a couple of returning shows that I can summon any real enthusiasm about, and a couple of the new shows look like they might have potential; but at the same time I’m feeling rather cynical that things will turn out to be rubbish and I’ll be disappointed. I miss science fiction, I miss shows with a sense of wonder about them, imagination and the ability to surprise me. Is everything feeling a bit formulaic because it’s getting worse, or is it just that I’ve watched so much that I’m only now detecting the patterns. Fingers crossed something will manage to re-inspire me soon.

Things I want to watch but haven’t yet: Orange is the New Black S4 (half way through), Orphan Black S4 (argh! British scheduling), and I still want to catch up on iZombie and Empire

I was tempted to not bother with the “Best of” lists, but decided to do it just of the sake of tradition.

americansBest Shows:
The Americans – still one of the best shows out there and just getting better and better
Jessica Jones – there are so many levels to this show and it’s excellent on every one of them
Happy Valley – I didn’t think a second season of this could work, I was beyond delighted that I was wrong.

The Walking DeadFavourite shows:
Braindead – a total surprise of a show, totally fresh and incredibly current, I alternated between laughing hysterically and dropping my jaw in astonishment.
Walking Dead – really the only show that I pounced on new episodes each week, so it makes the list despite the fact that it wasn’t actually very good this year.
Trapped – I ummed and erred about the 3rd slot in this list, but then I remembered just how obsessed I got with the show, counting down until the new episodes aired each week.

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Jessica Jones: Season 1

Jessica_Jones_NetflixI was all set to cancel my Netflix membership as I’d pretty much exhausted the stuff worth watching, and then I remembered Jessica Jones. So I was forced to binge watch my way through it in a few days so I wouldn’t have to pay for another month. “Forced” you understand. These are the traumas of my existence.

It’s a show well suited to binge watching, with no real episodic elements. It’s just one long story split semi-arbitrarily across 13 episodes, with character revelation and development eeked out gradually. It really was no chore to let the next episode start rather than reaching for the remote to make it stop. It does however do slightly odd things to your brain and I found my vocabulary and attitude drifting towards the rather more blunt end of the spectrum for a while. It doesn’t pull its punches at all. The titular character is a self-proclaimed mess of attitude, anger, bitterness, and poor choices. Those around her are marginally more well balanced, although given their backgrounds and experiences that’s something of a miracle.

The crafting of the characters and plot is exquisite. Like the finest stories it takes a relatively simple concept and plays it out to show its full consequences. Killgrave has the power to compel anyone to do anything he wants. What would someone do with that power, and what would that power do to them? What happens to the people he compels? It’s told from the point of view of one of his victims, but really everything is driven from Killgrave. It’s his actions, past and present, that drive the storyline and define Jessica’s character (although there are some other events in her past that clearly contribute). The show is about his superpower, not Jessica’s.

David Tennant was a perfect piece of casting for the role. He’s such a likeable actor, and for most watchers he’s so indelibly linked to the flawed hero of Doctor Who that it makes you look for the goodness. I found myself actually accepting his justifications for a fraction of a second before seeing through them. I was always looking for redemption, not least because that would be an “easy” solution to Jessica’s need for vengeance and to stop him hurting more people.

Standing up to the weight of that storyline and still managing to make the show about Jessica Jones is an impressive challenge, and Krysten Ritter delivered. Jessica Jones is a phenomenal character and Ritter gives her depth and humanity. She’s a long way from being a hero and doesn’t really want to be one. Frankly she’s not a terribly nice person, and again, isn’t really trying to be one, and yet she’s good to spend time with and maybe is even more of a hero because of her resistance.

There’s loads of pretentious pontificating that you can do about the show, because there are so many issues and ideas bubbling away. It’s about power, not just super-powers but about regaining power over your own life. Control, being a victim, choosing not to be. Knowing when to fight, when to run. What it is to be a hero, or a villain. There are so many fascinating elements to the series all wrapped up in a package that’s entertaining to watch. It’s an intense watch, an even more intense review to write, but it’s also a breath of fresh air.