Jessica Jones Brings Three Seasons of Character Development to a Close

It’s the end of the third and final season of Jessica Jones, a gritty show following a superpowered PI.

And wow, does it go places.

The climax of season three is the culmination of the character work from the past three seasons. The first half of the season only hints at what’s building, but by the time it comes into fruition, it feels like both a logical progression and something too extreme to have predicted. I don’t think the execution is always as good as the idea it’s trying to convey–a few of the details open themselves up to nitpicking and criticism–but the broad strokes are clear and powerful.

Every Season is Deeply Personal

Looking back on the entire show, what strikes me is how much every season centered around personal stakes for Jessica. This is not your normal day-in-the-life detective or superhero show. Each season centers around one plot, and that plot is always massively entwined with Jess’ life. And while each decision is harder than the last, somehow that progression coincides with Jess putting herself a little more together after the mess she starts out as. Continue reading “Jessica Jones Brings Three Seasons of Character Development to a Close”

The Umbrella Academy: Deep Character Work Mixed with Over-the-Top Action

what in the world did I just watch?

Gritty and Outlandish

It’s like this show has a switch. It’ll be this serious drama about a messed-up family with superpowers, then boom, suddenly it’s this over-the-top action/time travel/spy thriller that combines festive music with its shootouts. It all works really well together, and I’m still not sure how.

The comic book-based movies/TV shows that I’ve seen have either been gritty and realistic(ish), or feel-good and outlandish. The Umbrella Academy distinguishes itself by being gritty and outlandish.

Six Superpowered Siblings, and One on the Outside Looking In

The show follows seven siblings that were born on the same day, and adopted by a man who expected them to have powers. He raised six of them to be superheroes, while the seventh one was ordinary. One died (though he still shows up sometimes). One tried to use his powers to time travel, and was never heard from again. And all of them left and fell out of touch as they grew up.

But now, number 5 (the time traveler) is back from the future, with the information that the world is about to end in the next week. And he has no idea how or why. Continue reading “The Umbrella Academy: Deep Character Work Mixed with Over-the-Top Action”

How Cloak and Dagger Develops Its Con-Artist Heroine

I couldn’t sworn I’d already posted this, only to find I had a draft saved on my computer and no record of it on my blog. Oh well, at least I remembered to do it before the second season of this young adult superhero TV series comes out.

Cloak and Dagger has some seriously subtle character development, and it is astounding to watch. In the other post I wrote about it, I literally spent 600 words gushing over the first ten minutes, that’s how much there is to unpackage in this show. Today, I want to talk about co-protagonist Tandy’s character journey over the course of the season. Continue reading “How Cloak and Dagger Develops Its Con-Artist Heroine”

My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, Top Ten Tuesday gives a weekly prompt for a list of books, and this week’s theme is villains. Interestingly enough, when I was going through the list of the books I’ve read, I found that I usually remembered the protagonists much better than the villains. So for me, this became an exercise in finding the stories where the villains stood out in my memory, where something made them stand out. And then figuring out what that something is.

In no particular order:

The Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire

A woman stands in a forest, with butterflies flying around her. The text reads "New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire, Hugo Award nominated series, The Brightest Fell, an October Daye novel"
Image: Tor

The character of Amandine had been vaguely hinted at in earlier books in this urban fantasy series, a picture emerging of a distant fae mother with a rift in her relationship with her half-human child, who nonetheless cared about her kid’s life. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when we finally met her. But it wasn’t for her to become the villain of the story. Continue reading “My Five Most Memorable Villains for Top Ten Tuesday”

Agents of SHIELD S5: Still Going Strong Despite Some Stumbles

Genre: Action/Superhero

Synopsis: Our SHIELD agents find themselves thrown into the future, where the Earth has been cracked apart and rendered uninhabitable, while humanity is enslaved by an alien race. They must find out how they got here, what happened, and how to get back in order to stop the end of the world. 

Their information about the apocalypse is incomplete, and each agent must make their own decisions about what they think it will take to save humanity–and whether they’re willing to do that.

Series: The fifth season is over, there will be a sixth.

I’ve Watched: All of it.

Verdict: Totally worth it, though not everything worked for me this season.

Agents of SHIELD is always a good, solid watch. The first arc of the season, where the team ends up in the future and witnesses a post-apocalyptic world, was less enjoyable for me because the character reactions to their situation felt off. But the action was still exciting, and the moments when the characters were on point were totally worth it. Then everything was back on track after that first arc—the space arc—ended. Continue reading “Agents of SHIELD S5: Still Going Strong Despite Some Stumbles”

Cloak and Dagger: Instantly Captivates with Its Character Building

The image of a man and woman's faces over a dark background. The text reads "Marvel, Cloak and Dagger."
Image: Freeform

Genre: Superhero

Synopsis: Tandy is a delinquent fallen from her high-class background, and Tyrone is a sweet but haunted teen whose family is still caught in the grip of a tragedy that happened years ago. They both have a plethora of personal problems and a knack for getting in trouble…just as they each start developing powers.  Continue reading “Cloak and Dagger: Instantly Captivates with Its Character Building”

Jessica Jones: Messed-up Characters Pushed to the Limit

Genre: Superhero

Synopsis: Jessica Jones is a superstrong PI who just wants to be left alone to take pictures of cheating spouses and drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol. Her past recently came back to haunt her, in the form of the mind-controlling creep who’d kept her subjugated until she escaped him, and she killed him. But the past isn’t done with her yet.  Continue reading “Jessica Jones: Messed-up Characters Pushed to the Limit”

Black Panther: A Futuristic Wakanda Inspired by African Cultures, Tackling Responsibility

This was a great movie that paired Marvel’s style of adventure and humor with a fresh feeling. The setting and costumes were absolutely gorgeous, blending a futuristic/sci-fi feel and inspiration from numerous African cultures for its aesthetic–from the Maasai people in East Africa, to the Zulu people in Southern Africa, to the Akan people of West Africa. (Waris @diasporicblues details several in a Twitter thread; Lynsey Chutel and Yomi Kazeem wrote Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ is a broad mix of African cultures—here are some of them for Quartz Africa, which I was super excited to see mention Dahomey’s historical female warriors.) Black Panther is quite feminist as well, including black women as both major characters and a substantial chunk of the background characters. Continue reading “Black Panther: A Futuristic Wakanda Inspired by African Cultures, Tackling Responsibility”

The Gifted: An X-Men Series Embracing the Mantle of An Embattled Minority

Synopsis: The Struckers live in a world where mutants are heavily policed in the interests of public safety. Like most people, they never really think about it–not even the father, whose job is to prosecute mutants for using their powers. But then they find out both of the Strucker children are mutants, who will face the scrutiny their own father has turned on people just like them. Continue reading “The Gifted: An X-Men Series Embracing the Mantle of An Embattled Minority”

We’ve Seen Friends Team Up. We’ve Seen Rivals Team Up. But Now We Finally Get a Superhero Team-Up of…Reluctant Acquaintances? (The Defenders)

Four people standing in front of the New York City skyline.
Image: Netflix via ComicBook

Genre: Superhero

Synopsis: New York vigilantes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist all team up–quite reluctantly–to combat an old organization of immortals who will destroy the city to get what they want. (Reluctantly, except for Iron Fist. He just wants friends.) Continue reading “We’ve Seen Friends Team Up. We’ve Seen Rivals Team Up. But Now We Finally Get a Superhero Team-Up of…Reluctant Acquaintances? (The Defenders)”