“woman superhero” never meant just one thing
November 23, 2015
So we’ve got three comic-book inspired TV shows centered on women characters now. All in the same year. It’s like we’ve turned a corner or something. (Now if someone can just manage to put out a movie… Wasp, we need you!)
But what I really, dearly love is that the three shows are completely, utterly different in just about every way you can name.
Agent Carter: Stylized period piece, un-powered main character dealing with old-school comic book style villains, lots of competency, capability, with a believable amount of angst that ties into the larger franchise.
Supergirl: So, so happy. Girly, even, and I mean that in a good way, with Kara’s insecurities and joy. (I’m reminded of that scene in Tangled, where Rapunzel alternates between happiness and feeling like she’s a horrible person. Supergirl also captures that very real emotional state.) It’s also a bit over the top and cheesy, but intentionally so. So much fun.
Jessica Jones: Dark, in the “gritty” mode of comic book storytelling, focused on the pathology of superheroism. This is not a fun world. These are not happy people. The story is agonizingly difficult. The “anti-Supergirl,” if you will. (I’m not finished with this yet — couple more episodes to go. No spoilers!)
Whatever anyone thinks about these shows, and I’m sure everyone will have a different favorite (I think I’m going to have to come down on the side of Agent Carter, ultimately), I just want to recognize this moment: We have three really different, really awesome shows about women heroes.
That’s what we’ve needed all along. Not one show about a woman hero. Not a “token” show. Acknowledgement that “woman superhero” never meant just one thing. We needed to have a number of shows, with enough variety, that we can finally not even mention that these are “women superheroes.” These are just more comic book shows, and they happen to star women.
So freaking great.