Somewhere out in space and time there is an alternate dimension where Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” somehow wound up on network television in the 90s, and instead of Krysten Ritter in the lead role fans got Janeane Garofalo. That is one major obstacle dodged, but there is still a challenge — walking the tightrope between “dark” and “dark for the sake of being dark.”
I was first introduced to Jessica Jones in 2001 when I picked up Brian Michael Bendis’ “Alias.” The book was part of Marvel’s “Max” line (i.e., not for children). It was incredibly well-written for a long stretch. I always thought it would make for good television. However, the one major problem any producer of a “Jessica Jones” show will have is, “How dark should it be?”
There is a fine line between exploring evil that can lurk inside the human heart, and simply wallowing in filth just to get a reaction out of others.
Bendis, at his best, seems to be a skilled tightrope walker. Examples of failure in this regard may include Garth Ennis’ “The Boys” and the Mark Millar-Steve McNiven collaboration “Nemesis.”
Marvel and Netflix did a fabulous job with Daredevil, but it isn’t hard to imagine mindless producers saying, “Daredevil was dark and it was popular. Maybe we should go really dark with Jessica Jones!”
If Marvel and its creative partners avoided this trap, then it is likely “Jessica Jones” will be a show worth watching. At least for now, everyone can stand up and cheer for a.) the inclusion Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and b.) the absence of Janeane Garofalo from the finished product.