AKA Sophomore Slump
As it stands right now, I’m nine episodes into the second season of Jessica Jones, and I gotta say, it’s not very compelling. While the first season was a surprisingly complex and invigorating narrative, so far the second season has devolved into subplots that are uninteresting, drawn out, and not even focused on the title character. Krysten Ritter is still fun to watch, but everything else just seems…off. Which leaves me to ask: what went wrong?
Perhaps some of it comes from the idea that maybe the show runners simply didn’t think that Jessica Jones would get a second season. There’s definitely room for that belief, as the initial Netflix/Marvel Studios announcement only mentioned one show per character, and the eventual team up show Defenders. It seemed like from the get go that the initial plan was going to be one season per character, but after the success of the shows (well, Daredevil and Jessica Jones, really), that Netflix commissioned more. But like Daredevil before it, Jessica Jones has started to get the dreaded sophomore slump that has plagued many hit shows.
It’s not an uncommon problem. Many shows that hit on the zeitgeist have had trouble following up on a major splash first season. But Jessica Jones has had two and a half years to come up with a compelling way to follow up on the fallout of Kilgrave, and the fact that what I’ve seen so far is the best they could come up with doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope. Going into this season I was worried that Kilgrave would leave a major hole in the show, and it bums me out to see that I was right.
It’s not just the show though, even Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos struggled with the character when they wrapped up Alias, and they created her! Jessica bounced from The Pulse to New Avengers to being a back up character in Luke Cage before getting a new series a year ago. Jessica seems to be a tough character to crack, and coming up with new adventures for her seems to be more difficult than trying to evade Kilgrave’s mind control.
But like I said earlier, I’m only about a few episodes away from the end of this new season. Maybe this will pull a reverse Daredevil season two and end up having a really engaging second half. But I can’t help but also wonder if I’m just getting burnt out on the constant stream of Netflix originals. It was only a few years ago that these Marvel Netflix shows began, and at the time they were a huge deal. But two years, and 200 shows later, Jessica Jones is now just a drop in the streaming content juggernaut’s bucket. This new season isn’t even featured on the top of the Netflix app anymore, which is a pretty telling sign if you ask me. It seems like when it comes to the competition, Ms. Jones has a lot more than Kilgrave to deal with.