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Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg on the best way to binge Jessica Jones

Krysten Ritter
Photo: David Giesbrecht (Netflix)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15. All times are Eastern.


Krysten Ritter returns for one last run of great performances as Jessica Jones, Carla Gugino steals stuff as well as scenes, and JJ showrunner Melissa Rosenberg gives us her picks for some shows that Jessica might watch to blow off steam.

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Top pick

Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete final season): Pour yourself a stiff drink, because she’s back.

TV’s most seemingly hardboiled detective (sorry, Jessica Fletcher) returns for her final stretch in the MCU today, leather jacket and fifth of whiskey in tow. (Not in tow, at least at the outset: Trish, divided again from Jess, perhaps permanently, in the eventful season-season finale.) Caroline Siede’s recaps will run throughout Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so feel free to binge along with her—that is, if you think bingeing JJ is the right speed at which to watch the show.

We asked Melissa Rosenberg, showrunner for each of the show’s three seasons, about whether or not a Jessica binge is a good idea, and got her to share some thoughts on the series’ great villains, how the characters’ arcs have shifted over the years, and what other complicated women she’s watching (which you’ll find below, in the wild card section).

The A.V. Club: Jessica Jones can sometimes be a very difficult series to watch, but it’s also the kind of addictive viewing experience that makes it hard to stop. What do you think: Should we binge Jessica, or not?

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Melissa Rosenberg: You know, different people watch it at different paces. It’s meant to be a continuous storyline, and at the end of every episode, we want to draw you back in. If it were me watching for the first time, I’d be bingeing. But maybe the best pace is to stop about every four episodes, and reflect.

AVC: How much of Jessica’s full-series arc was planned, and how much emerged in the writing process?

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MR: I’m gonna say 50/50. We knew starting off that Jessica was going to progress. The first season about her looking back at her recent trauma. The second was looking back at her origins. For the third, we knew we wanted to move into the future with her, looking forward rather than back. So this season kind of wraps up, in a really general sense, what were our intentions were from the beginning. What shape those things took was found as we went along.

AVC: What about Trish?

MR: Boy, the world was our oyster with that role and that actress (Rachael Taylor). We imagined all sorts of different directions to take her in, and sort of let the storytelling guide us. Because she’s really of our own invention, we could really go anywhere.

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AVC: Like “I Want Your Cray Cray.

MR: Oh my God. One of my favorite moments of all time was shooting that video. And if you accidentally hear the song, you’re screwed for like three days. It is going to be in your head.

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AVC: You’ve got another incredibly compelling villain this season. Without giving anything away, what, if anything, links the three primary villains of these three seasons?

MR: Let’s see. Kilgrave (David Tennant), while being absolutely heinous and this terrible being, we were also able to dig into him—who he was, and why he was the way he was. That was looking at the making of a murderer, the making of a serial killer. That’s always what we do with all of our characters, really dig into what makes them who they are, and ultimately you understand it, but you can’t live with it or forgive it. That ultimately was the case with Jessica’s mother (Janet McTeer) as well. The fantasy of being able to live with this killer was just that, a fantasy, which Trish kind of proved, or tried to prove.

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And then with Salinger (Jeremy Bobb of Russian Doll), we do get into who he is a little bit. He’s a very, very different kind of villain. Kilgrave is more of a classic villain. Then, we went in the opposite direction with her mother, someone deeply personal and connected. So it was more about the relationship, than some outside villain coming in. And then Salinger is different in that he’s human, has no powers, and forces Jessica to deal with him on a very pragmatic, human level. So they’re all very, very different from one another, and hence force Jessica to explore different parts of herself, in how she deals with each one.

Regular coverage

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, Friday, 8 p.m.)

Wild card

Jett (Cinemax, Friday, 10 p.m., series premiere): Go ahead and make it a weekend of watching great actors play complicated, compelling female characters with this new Carla Gugino-starring series, in which she plays a master thief. After that, dial up a show that Jessica herself might watch to blow off steam, according to Rosenberg.

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MR: Jessica would love Russian Doll. Oh, and Killing Eve, for sure.

AVC: Yeah, that seems like a sure thing.

MR: Oh, and she’d watch GLOW, and Gentleman Jack, probably, which is just really good.

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About the author

Allison Shoemaker

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.