If we weren’t already counting down the days until “Jessica Jones” Season 2 premieres on Netflix, we’re definitely doing it now.
In a progressive move to promote the talents of female directors, showrunner Melissa Rosenberg announced on Friday that all 13 episodes of “Jessica Jones” second season will be helmed by women.
At a panel hosted at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Rosenberg said they’d decided early on (with Marvel’s full support) to start contacting female directors before reaching out to male directors, and eventually the idea to have the entire season directed by women took over.
This kind of move isn’t unprecedented, but it’s certainly a first for a show like “Jessica Jones,” which is so widely followed and critically acclaimed.
The first season garnered a lot of attention from TV critics and fans, alike, for its positive portrayal of women, from complex female characters to the tactful handling of sexual assault storylines. It’s arguable that this positive trend will only continue in Season 2 with female directors handling the way these stories are told.
Assuming “Jessica Jones” Season 2 is as big of a hit as Season 1, we can only hope this will open more doors for other showrunners to follow Rosenberg’s good example and incorporate more women in the process of making great television.
In the 2015-2016 TV season, only 17% of directors were female reports Variety, and that statistic drops even more discouragingly when you zero in on some of the most popular shows on television.
“Game of Thrones” has hired a grand total of one female director in its six-season run, while shows like “The Walking Dead” and “NCIS” had around a 12% and 16% average, respectively, for female-directed episodes in the 2015-2016 TV season.
We’re not saying every popular TV show needs to have an entirely female-helmed season — though some certainly have no problem having entirely male helmed seasons — but reaching for that 50% mark doesn’t sound like too much to ask.
Directorial choices aren’t the only place “Jessica Jones” is excelling in the diversity department. Rosenberg uses a similar yard stick when it comes to hiring her writing staff. “When I interview a writer, I’m less interested in what you’ve been doing professionally than I am in where you’re from, what your parents do, what’s your life experience, what are you bringing to the table personally?” Rosenberg told Variety. “I don’t want a bunch of people who look and sound [like me] and have the experiences I have.”
Thanks to a strong dose of feminism hitting Hollywood in recent years, we’re seeing real change in the industry, but few are brave enough to speak and act so boldly about the advancement of female storytellers as Rosenberg.
“Jessica Jones,” which will start production on Season 2 in 2017, has officially raised the bar, and it’s time for other big name shows to follow suit.