Butts, Luke Cage’s arms, lots and lots of sexy times between superheroes and regular folk… let’s just get the objectification out of the way. This show is sexy as hell, and Krysten Ritter doesn’t wear pants a lot of the time.
2. It strikes the perfect balance between comic faithfulness and creative adaptation
When Netflix released the opening title sequence just before the show premiered, it was exciting how the visuals looked like they were taken straight out of the book’s own artwork.
And for anyone hoping for a faithful adaptation, the show did not disappoint. Though rather than giving us a beat-by-beat recreation, they did so much better. They delivered the tone, the grittiness and darkness of the books, but gave us a TV show that could stand solidly on its own. That’s not an easy feat, and this show nailed it.
3. It’s the best respite from Marvel’s giant web of franchises
Sure, there are references to New York rebuilding after “the incident,” and there are cross-overs and tie-ins (though way fewer than the other branches of the MCU), so Jessica Jones definitely still fits in as part of this larger universe. But it also lies way outside of the rest of that world. This is a Marvel story, but it’s told from the ground. It’s the gritty, dark, complicated story of this world full of heroes and villains. It’s easy to see that Jones exists in the same world as Captain America, and the contrast between her life and what we see of the Avengers’ only makes her world that much darker.
4. Major Bechdel Test Goodness
Let’s start this one the same way I always have to, because some people still can’t seem to wrap their brains around this fact: The Bechdel (now Bechdel-Wallace) Test— which looks for conversations between female characters (who also have names) about something other than a man— has nothing to do with quality of a show or movie. There are tons of properties that don’t “pass” the test and are still our favorite things. Still, female friendships on television are upsettingly rare. Especially friendships where one of the women is not just a bland sounding board for the other woman’s thoughts on the male protagonist. Jessica Jones and Trish Walker (played by Rachel Taylor) have a close, complicated friendship that feels real, not at all like a contrivance to give voice to Jones’ inner monologue. Add in Carrie-Anne Moss’ Jeri Hogarth, and this is more women talking to women than we can see almost anywhere else on television.
5. Actual, real diversity
A lot of shows and movies are at least taking the first step of token diversity. You know, a female lead in a world where every other character is a guy; casting black actors but only as subservient roles (Project Greenlight, I’m looking at you). There was a study done recently that found that not only do only about 30% of speaking roles in films go to women, but that background actors (non-speaking extras) are usually only about 17% women. That means when someone is casting a crowd scene, say a street in New York where you would expect the makeup of actual humans to be split about 50/50, that crowd is, on average, 83% male. I don’t know what the statistics are for people of color, but I’d guess it’s about the same.
Jessica Jones is unbelievably refreshing in that it doesn’t seem to deal from the baseline of “white male is neutral,” and if anything diverges from that, there has to be a reason. And it’s not just in the major characters (like Jones’ boss being a woman, or her black neighbor friend). Featured extras, minor roles, basically every element of this show is a better depiction of realistic diversity than we’re used to seeing. This is what ACTUAL diversity looks like, not just playing at it.
6. David Freaking Tennant
Initially, this was just going to be a five item list, but come on.
Kilgrave is possibly the scariest villain we’ve seen in the Marvel Universe (or at least a solid contender), and Tennant plays him to terrifying perfection. So handsome and charming, with the power to make you do anything he wants, the sexy fantasy appeal there only makes him more horrible. And of course, it’s not just Tennant. The show’s entire supporting cast, especially Rachel Taylor and Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, is perfectly crafted.