NYCC: Marvel Television Kills It with Jessica Jones and Agents of Primetime

Marvel Television presents Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter

If there’s any sort of Marvel vs. DC rivalry going on at this year’s New York Comic Con, then it’s more than likely going to happen on the television front, as both Marvel Television and Warner Bros. Television has their best present at the 10th annual nerdfest, although Marvel got an early advantage by rolling out new footage and entire shows from their serialized television shows with ABC and Netflix.

Unlike last year, Marvel Television’s offerings were divided into two separate panels for each of the “networks” with Friday’s “Agents of Primetime” showcasing ABC’s two shows, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Agent Carter. The following evening, Marvel dominated the main stage once again with the first footage from Netflix’s “Daredevil” Season 2 and the entire pilot episode for “Jessica Jones,” starring Krysten Ritter and based on the Brian Michael Bendis/Michael Gaydos comic Alias.

We’ll start with the latter, because getting to see the entire first episode of Netflix and Marvel’s anticipated follow-up to their early 2015 hit “Daredevil” was one of the main reasons why people had been lining up for hours.

While I can’t say too much about the show, because that wouldn’t be fair to everyone who will have to wait until November 20 to watch the entire season on Netflix, I will talk about a couple of things that were pretty cool about it, hopefully without getting into spoilers. (If you’ve read the “Alias” comic, then you’ll already know the basic story beats and characters; if you haven’t read “Alias,” what are you waiting for? It debuted in 2001!)

Marvel Television Head Jeph Loeb was on hand at both panels to introduce the talent on stage as well as tease what to expect over the next few months on their various shows, but almost immediately after coming out for the Netflix panel, he ran backstage to bring out “Daredevil” Charlie Cox and the stars of “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage,” Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter, to give the audience the very first, very brief look at the first part of what ultimately will form to become “The Defenders.” 

The panel for “Jessica Jones” featured Ritter and Colter, as well as Carrie-Ann Moss, who plays Jerry Hogarth, a lawyer who often employs Jessica (and is a man in the comics), while Rachael Taylor plays Jessica’s best friend Trish Walker, a radio talk show host (and if that name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s eerily similar to “Patsy Walker,” the alter ego for Avengers member Hellcat). Erin Moriarty plays Hope, a character who was kept a secret until the first episode was shown, while Eka Darville plays Malcolm, a low-life who lives in the same building as Jessica. Not present was David Tennant (aka Doctor Who #10) who plays the show’s big villain, Killgrave (sometimes referred to as “The Purple Man” in the comics), but he sent a taped greeting to the fans.

Similar to “Daredevil,” the show has a noir-influenced look, which tips a hat to the roots for Jessica’s private investigator roots, although she’s a detective with super powers that she uses in her investigations. The opening credits have a jazzy theme that plays over painted visuals that seem to pay homage to Gaydos’ original artwork, but let’s get to the actual show.

Anyone who is familiar with Krysten Ritter’s work is probably already a fan because she’s equally good at doing emotional drama and quippy humor–you may remember her playing with a similar tone when she appeared on “Veronica Mars.” We got to see both of these things in the first episode as Ritter brought the same fragility to Jones as a damaged and often drunk woman who is desperate to get work and money to pay for her Hell’s Kitchen office/apartment.

She gets two jobs during the pilot episode, the main one involving a young girl who has gone missing (Moriarty’s Hope) which ties into something from Jones’ past. Those who can’t wait for the Jessica Jones-Luke Cage relationship to emerge don’t have to wait long as the show follows the comics in that respect with Colter’s Cage running a local bar and having an “interaction” with Jessica Jones.

We get to see a few scenes with Jessica and Malcolm, while Trish mainly appears on posters for her radio show throughout the episode until Jessica turns to her for help towards the end.

We don’t get to see David Tennant’s Killgrave so much as we are constantly feeling his presence through Jones’ memories, and it leads to an incredible last 15 minutes to the show as Jessica starts to figure out what is going on.

And that’s all I’ll say about the show for now, although I have a feeling that like “Daredevil,” few people will just be able to watch just one or two episodes and I will be shocked if Ritter doesn’t score an Emmy nomination… and that’s just from the episode I saw!

The second season of “Daredevil” was more of a tease because they’re still filming it, but they showed a sizzle reel of footage from the first season and then a really short teaser with Matt Murdock, Karen Page and Foggy Nelson talking to a priest as Matt feels guilty about something and it leads up to the very first shot of Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher, basically just the back of his head as he walks down the hall. And after it goes dark, we just hear one word from him which sounded like he said, “Beg.” (As if he’s holding a gun up to a bad guy ready to dispense his vigilante justice.)

Despite the lack of new footage, New York Comic Con was a bit of a victory lap for the creators of “Daredevil” since it was one year ago that they debuted the very first footage of Cox as Matt Murdock, Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page and Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson. They were all on-hand to answer questions, as were Bernthal and Elodie Yung, who is taking on the role of Daredevil’s greatest love (and rival) Elektra Natchios. While they all talked about the show, there were no major spoilers or reveals other than giving fans a chance to interact.

They have also started filming the first season of “Luke Cage,” presumably in some of the same New York locations where they filmed the previous two Marvel/Netflix series, so there should be a consistency with that show as well.

Although ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” might seem like old hat entering its third season, the show’s fans still packed the Main Stage at the Javits for Thursday night’s Agents of Primetime panel which, like last year, included the early airing of next Tuesday’s episode. Although most of the cast didn’t make the trek, Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulsen) joined Loeb on stage before and after the episode was shown.

Again, I don’t want to say much, because if you’re a fan of the show, you’re probably going to watch on Tuesday night, but I will say a few things about the episode titled “A Wanted (Inhu)man.”

* Most of the episode deals with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the newly-formed task force ATCU (Advanced Threat Containment Unit) trying to find Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell), a man with Inhuman powers of electricity, who is on the run after an incident and has a connection to Chloe Bennett’s Daisy Johnson (formerly Skye).

* Coulsen is forced to negotiate with the ATCU leader Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer) over what to do about Lincoln.

* Ming-Na Wen’s Agent May and Nick Blood’s Hunter have their own side mission where they’re trying to find an arms dealer to sell some illegal weapons and it ends up turning into a “Fight Club” scenario where once again, May kicks major ass.

* There are a couple really nice, even tearful moments between Fitz and Simmons.

* The episode ends in a great place with the status quote changed and an interesting tease for the next episode.

* Maybe it’s because I’m a movie guy, but this is the second time I’ve watched an episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a full theater at New York Comic Con and it really works well with an audience in ways that makes me wish that ABC would make a deal with a theater chain to show the series in theaters across the country so fans can see it as a group.

They didn’t forget about the popular “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” which is also currently shooting for its second season to debut in January during the winter break for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” Because they’re filming, they didn’t have much to show but Peggy Carter herself, Hayley Atwell, and James D’Arcy (who plays Edwin Jarvis) had taped a greeting that was shared with the fans. Loeb also showed a short clip where Peggy Carter is being given a tour of Howard Stark’s car by Jarvis, being shown all the cool gadgets including (what else) a bar that flips out of the dashboard and a tracking device. Not bad tech for a car in the ‘40s.

They also announced a number of new cast members, including Lotte Verbeek as Edwin’s wife Annie and Wynn Everett (“The Newsroom”) as Whitney Frost, who will be best known among comic fans as Iron Man “villain” Madame Masque. Currie Graham will play Whitney’s husband Calvin Chadwick, a powerful businessman, while Reggie Austin will play a scientist and possible new love interest for Peggy.

That’s it for what Marvel Television had to show at this year’s New York Comic Con, but just like last year, no one who stood in line to get in left disappointed because there was some great new footage as well as a good tease for what’s to come.

On Sunday, Warner Bros. Television will be putting their own best foot forward to show stuff from the upcoming CBS show “Supergirl,” Fox’s “Gotham” and the anticipated CW superhero spin-off “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.” Stay tuned for that!