What to Expect from Krysten Ritter as Marvel's Jessica Jones
Netflix‘s upcoming fall series, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, has a September premier date and now public praise by the comic book’s co-creator, Brian Michael Bendis. We’ve been intrigued by the newest addition to the Marvel television universe ever since Krysten Ritter was cast as Jessica Jones, the superhero turned private eye. Although I am not familiar with the comic book (yet), I can offer comic book fans a perspective on Ritter.
In a world of actresses who sometimes seem to all look and act alike, Ritter is an unconventional presence with undeniable star power. Ritter had a memorable arc on Breaking Bad in 2010 as Jesse’s doomed girlfriend, and went on to appear on the TV show Gravity before breaking big on Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23. Don’t Trust the B was audacious. Its heroine Chloe was a sociopath with no morals… who the audience couldn’t help but love. This aspect of the show would not have been remotely successful if it wasn’t for Ritter, who infused the character with biting insincerity and startling vulnerability at the same time.
Don’t Trust the B, which also starred Anna Camp and James Van Der Beek (playing himself and hilariously lampooning Dawson’s Creek) couldn’t find a broad audience on ABC, but Ritter was funny and weird and cunning and energetic in the role.
More Failures for NBC
NBC-Universal then signed a production deal with Ritter but couldn’t manage to get a show to air. NBC first cast Ritter in a Will Ferrell-produced pilot called Assistance in 2013, which was not picked up to series. NBC tried again with 2014’s Mission Control, also a Ferrell and Gary Sanchez-produced comedy. The show would have starred Ritter as a brilliant aerospace engineer in the 1960s who butted heads with a sexist astronaut in the race to land on the moon. The comedy early buzz and was assumed to be a presumptive critical darling, but NBC killed it in the same creative bloodbath that caused The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to land at Netflix.
Meanwhile, Mission Control’s demise led to a bigger episode order for bland Ellen-produced comedy One Big Happy. The unfunny show was canceled quickly and the only comedy still standing at NBC is the horrid Undateable.
The Comic Books on TV
NBC still hasn’t developed its own hit comic show, having smothered Constantine before it had a chance to catch on. Meanwhile, Netflix and Marvel will partner on Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil, then creating the spinoff The Defenders.
One reason to be thankful for all the comic book properties coming to the small screen is that they give actresses like Ritter the opportunity to shine in complex roles. There was a period where Ritter had been typecast as the quirky best friend in movies like She’s Out of My League, How to Make Love to a Woman, 27 Dresses and What Happens In Vegas. She’s had better opportunities to showcase her talent on TV.
The synopsis for Jessica Jones sounds exactly like the kind of comics-noir that I love, so rank this one alongside The Muppet Show as the series we are most excited about for fall:
Ever since her short-lived stint as a Super Hero ended in tragedy, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) has been rebuilding her personal life and career as a hot-tempered, sardonic, badass private detective in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Plagued by self-loathing, and a wicked case of PTSD, Jessica battles demons from within and without, using her extraordinary abilities as an unlikely champion for those in need… especially if they’re willing to cut her a check.