Jessica Jones

Jessica-Jones

I finished watching Jessica Jones roughly a week after it came out on Netflix. I kind of enjoy the binge-watch that Netflix’s release schedule (as in: dump it all on at the same time) permits, mostly because they don’t put too much up for one season. 13 episodes was about my limit really, across 4 days. Any more than that and I start to get stressed out about not getting other things done but also really wanting to know what happens…which is why I don’t go back and watch tv shows that I have missed and now have 6 seasons to plough through because the stress would probably split me in half.

And by that I mean I’d just watch it all and do no marking.

So, uh, spoiler free review, I guess? Or more really just random thoughts about it.

I really liked Jessica Jones. That is to say, I found it compelling and well worth the time spent watching it. It was not a comfortable watch. It was challenging, and more than once I found myself having to press pause and think about my own reactions. And that more than anything else makes me want to recommend it as a show.

It’s not a perfect show – there are more than a few points where the curves of telling a superhero story and telling a story about surviving abuse do not sit on a shared tangent – but in the broad context of the MCU and their spinoffs it is making a *really good effort* to give rape and abuse the serious treatment they deserve. They do a really good job of creating one of the most terrifying (and powerful) baddies on screen without requiring that he want to rule/blow up the Universe, and then putting him in situations where you begin to feel…if not sympathy, then pity, at the very least…and then confront you with how sorely misplaced your pity has been. I loved the show for the wringer that it put me through.

Other things:

Krysten Ritter does good work with a really tough part. The mask of deadpan misanthropy that shows just enough of the damage behind it? *Patrick Stewart saying “ACTING” GIF here, please*

Mike Colter’s ridiculously perfect face and torso is a joy.

David Tennant turning on the charm where almost ever other actor in the world would have gone full ham.

It’s *almost* 50/50 women:men on the writing team (5/11, damn you Edward Ricourt and your 1 ep credit)!

Manuel Billeter’s cinematography. Shot by shot, the series is like a class in how to create tension through POV and palette. Flashes of purple, shots that create ambiguity about who Killgrave has (or might have) control of? YES. Looking forward to seeing what they do with the Luke Cage series now. Really looking forward to it.

 

Any excuse to post GIFs, really.

So! Let’s get off on the right foot here. I really enjoyed the Agents of Shield pilot. As a bridge between the longer format (and canon) of the movies and a weekly tv show, I think it did really well. It was fun and didn’t take itself too seriously and Coulson was exactly what a show like that needed to give it that twist that lifts things above the standard level of tv fare.

But.

it did lose me at one point. Very close to the end, and no, it wasn’t the flying car (although I did suddenly get an urge to watch Kopps again.*)

There’s a kinda, sorta maxim in fantasy writing** that magic should be consequential. I’m paraphrasing a lot of other people here because generally the saying goes that magic should have rules, or magic needs to have limits. I don’t agree with either phrasing, because I’m kind of fond of the idea of magic being this wild and limitless thing, but I do agree with the concept that whatever you do with it, there needs to be something else going on.

The same thing applies (for me) to science-y woo in tv and movies. I am perfectly happy with credit cards that can open any lock, cameras that enhance beyond their resolutions, “computer hacking” as an essentially meaningless thing that can be done in seconds by rattling out a few lines of code. I am fine with all that because they are nothing more than window dressing.

Here’s an aside. I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol the other day. You know what I love about that movie? The Renner stretch.

Renner

 

 

 

 

 

(This one’s for you, Lou!)

Okay. Renner aside, the movie is packed to the gills with science woo gadgets and – here’s the fun bit – most of them don’t work. The corridor gag dies when more than one guard is in Line Of Sight; the rubber mask machine dies on its arse; the contact lens camera irritates Brandt’s eyes and gives them away; the climbing gloves slowly fail as the sandstorm begins to pick up around the building. Nothing goes right for the disavowed IMF team and every time it happens the stakes are raised.***

Back to Agents of Shield. Near the end, Science Bod Leo Fitz informs Coulson that there is no way of stopping the reaction that is consuming Mike’s body. Either they kill him, or he will explode and cause a major incident. Coulson retorts that it’s unacceptable – that they need to find a third option and find it fast. This is all fine. We’re racing unstoppably towards two conclusions, both of which are – to achieve viewer satisfaction – just not on. Everyone has to live, and the team have to find a way to make that happen that (according to Fitz) defies their expertise.

But then we see Fitz and Simmons in the lab. Fitz is running a sim and panicking****, Simmons is telling him to calm down, and in the foreground a magic fucking bullet is being loaded in a press. That single shot lost me. Right there I knew there would be no difficulty in succumbing Mike. There would be no consequence, no price to be paid. Science woo would pull through – an impossible solution in an impossible deadline – and all that we had to do was wait.

Which was a shame, because I enjoyed the rest of it. Apart from Skye’s excessively perfect hair, of course. Did she park her van next to a salon? What the fuck was that all about?

 

*Swedish comedy from 2003. It’s hilarious. Trust me.

**I say kinda, sorta because if you’re REALLY, REALLY good then you can just do whatever the hell you like and still have it work.

***also the bit with Simon Pegg’s inflatable arm kills me. The simplest tricks are the best.

****side note – if they can run simulations of that complexity, how about Coulson being an artefact of a SHIELD training sim used to prep potential agents (Ward, Skye, Fitz, Simmons) for the field under the supervision of a desk-bound field agent (May)?

Beethoven’s Fifth, the new soundtrack to my life.

One of the birthday cards I got last week is a musical one.  It plays about sixteen or so bars of Beethoven’s fifth, lifted from a 2002 performance by the Royal Philharmonic.  I now use it to add dramatic weight to even the most mundane of sentences.

“Want a cup of tea?” DA DA DA DUUUUUUM!   DA DA DA DUUUUUM!

Brilliant.  I’m certain Lisa isn’t quite so enamoured as she was the first fifteen times I did it.

Right now I’m registering and installing the software that came with my camera.  It’s probably not worth the install but my computer is so application-light that I might as well do it anyway.  it makes me feel as though I’m actually using the system as something other than Firefox-in-a-box through which I get my daily dose of “news”.  Today’s “news”, of course, is that a fuck-and-tell blogger with associated book and t.v. deal has revealed her identity to prevent being outed by the Daily Mail.

It’s a laudable aim, I suppose, but that won’t really stop all the students in her department looking at her funny and swapping comments about being “well-travelled” and/or the possession of physiological features that resemble the top end of a wellington boot.

Next week, I suppose, she’ll be telling the papers about how telling the papers has affected her life or some other shit that supposedly eases her conscience and increases understanding but really just pads out her bank balance a little more and makes everyone around her increasing discomfited.

Back on the software thing, I’ve just clicked on my fourth licence agreement during this install.  That can’t be right, can it?  Four licences for one program…or maybe it’s a bundle of programs.  They’re taking long enough to get on the system.  I should’ve just stuck with MS paint.  That’s about my level.

One save draft and a reboot later, and I’m uploading images to Flickr.  Woo, and indeed, yay.  While that interminable process grinds away, I should probably go over what Alistair got me for my birthday.  First up, a bottle of Glengoyne 10 y.o. single malt, which is nice, although I haven’t tasted it yet.  We had a cocktail and a bottle of wine with dinner at Alistair’s on Saturday night and I’m such a lightweight that I had to stop drinking right after dinner to make sure I’d be fit to drive the next day.  It’s not something to be really proud of, that I just can’t drink beyond a certain point anymore, but it’s better that I’m upfront about it.  Not vomiting for the entire day afterwards is a reward in itself.

He also bought me some books: The Stuff of Thought by Steve Pinker, Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf, The Elements of Style by Strunk Jr. and White, and a digital photography book.  The last one I’m not going to link due to me encountering a vicious dislike of the author on opening the book.  He spends a good five pages right at the start promoting his other books, website, newsletter, promotions, etc, and therefore really doesn’t need any help from this quarter.

Hrm.  65% uploaded.  What else can I talk about?

Doctor Who, oh yes.  Spoilers after the jump.

Continue reading “Beethoven’s Fifth, the new soundtrack to my life.”