Every episode of ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2 will be directed by women
The world of TV production is oversaturated with dudes, especially behind the camera. But that’s starting to change for the better, as demonstrated by the welcome announcement that every episode of Jessica Jones Season 2 will be directed by women.
Although female directors and producers such as Ava DuVernay (Queen Sugar), Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad), and Shonda Rhimes (too many shows to list here) have been responsible for bringing groundbreaking TV shows to life, there is still a glaring absence of women in the field. An analysis of all TV shows airing in 2015-2016 showed that only 17 percent of episodes had female directors, which dropped to 3 percent when the focus was narrowed to female directors of color.
While getting more women behind the camera is important across the board, it’s particularly significant for Jessica Jones, a show acclaimed for its complex female protagonist and insightful portrayals of recovering from sexual assault and domestic abuse trauma. The show already has a woman at the top — executive producer Melissa Rosenberg, who made it on the Hollywood Reporter’s list of this year’s most powerful showrunners — but many of Season 1’s episodes were directed by men. Now that Marvel’s expanding Netflix lineup is getting major hype, and in the wake of Jessica Jones snagging Marvel Entertainment its first Emmy, eyes are on the network to start hiring more women.
No names have been confirmed yet, but much of the response to this all-female directing roster has been very positive. Of course, there are some “WHAT ABOUT THE MEN” outcries… you know what? I’ll let Jessica answer that one.
Although the character of Jessica Jones was originally created by two men, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, it took a female showrunner to bring out the most interesting part of her story. In the comics where she first appeared, Bendis and Gaydos depicted her as more of a generic private investigator in the modern crime mold. She drank too much, got pissed off a bit too easily, and had trouble maintaining romantic relationships: the usual traits of a main character who’s a loose cannon but gets the job done, damn it. The only difference between Jessica and her PI peers was her gender, which in a way was revolutionary in itself.
However, the material dealing with her past sexual and psychological abuse, which ended up as the core of the TV show, was only a short story arc wrapping up the end of the series. Under Rosenberg’s supervision, the Jessica Jones show contravened this sort of quickie resolution by exploring the lasting effects of abuse- and rape-induced trauma. Hiring exclusively female directors for Season 2 means that women won’t have to stand back while men tell these stories. As the saying goes, nothing about us without us.