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18 Nov 2015

True TV: 'Marvel's Jessica Jones' Brings the Grit; 'Northpole: Open for Christmas' Arrives Too Soon

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It’s going to be tough for Netflix to follow-up Daredevil, especially with a lesser-known character like Jessica Jones—but Marvel’s too big to fail, so why worry? It’s going to be tough for Netflix to follow-up Daredevil, especially with a lesser-known character like Jessica Jones—but Marvel’s too big to fail, so why worry?

The Art of More (Thursday, Nov. 19, Crackle), series debut: Small-time crook Graham Connor (Christian Cooke, Witches of East End) slips into the high-end art world of the super-rich—but if the dark side of the auction house doesn’t sting him first, his shady secret past will. The slick and sexy Art of More is relatable to your life in no way whatsoever (sure, Graham came from nothing, but he’s still ridiculously good-looking), but the show is deeper than you’d expect luxury porn to be, and the supporting cast (Dennis Quaid, Kate Bosworth and Cary Elwes) ain’t bad for a show on a streaming service you’ve barely heard of, either. Given the app/network’s (appnet?) recent surge in original programming, it looks like reports of parent company Sony’s lack of interest in Crackle are greatly exaggerated. Also: There’s now really Too Much TV.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Friday, Nov. 20, Netflix), series debut: It’s going to be tough to follow-up Daredevil, especially with a lesser-known character like Jessica Jones—but Marvel’s too big to fail, so why worry? Based on Brian Michael Bendis’ darkly fantastic Alias series, Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter as an ex-superhero trying to lead a relatively normal existence as a private detective, even though most of her clients end up being of the super-powered variety. Also impeding her process of powering down and fitting in: Jessica has more issues than, well, the Marvel Universe. Considering Netflix’s Daredevil revelation, as well as the show’s creator (a former Dexter writer) and the solid cast behind the always-winning Ritter (David Tennant, Carrie-Anne Moss and future Luke Cage Mike Colter), Jessica Jones is another gritty smack upside the head. Or in the SUV door, whichever you prefer.

The Man in the High Castle (Friday, Nov. 20, Amazon Prime), series debut: In an alternate universe where the Germans won World War II, early-’60s USA is halved into the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific States—and yes, of course there’s an underground resistance working to take back ’Merica. The Man in the High Castle’s production and attention to detail is impressive, bringing the 1962 Philip K. Dick novel to full-blown life, even as the lead actors appear lifeless. (You could have done better than Pretty Little Liars’ Luke Kleintank and Mob City’s Alexa Davalos, Ridley Scott.) Atmosphere and high concept mostly win out, however; just set aside any Danger 5 nutty-Nazi memories—this is serious business!

Northpole: Open for Christmas (Saturday, Nov. 21, Hallmark), movie: The crime here isn’t that Hallmark is dropping a new Christmas movie on Nov. 21—it’s that the network already began the jingle-blitzkrieg three weeks ago! On Halloween! Northpole: Open for Christmas is just another one of the Mad-Libbed holiday-rom-com-shot-up-with-fuzzy-feels treatises on the True Meaning of Christmas that we’ve come to expect/endure from Hallmark (and ABC Family, Lifetime, etc.) every year the millisecond a leaf turns brown. Says here, “Dermot Mulroney stars as Ian, a small-town handyman who comes to the aid of Mackenzie (Lori Loughlin) to help restore a cherished local inn she inherited, but wants to sell. Unbeknownst to Ian and Mackenzie, Santa sends his trusted elf Clementine (Bailee Madison) on a special mission to help Mackenzie rebuild and rediscover the magic of the holidays.” By not selling her rat trap? Maybe she wants out of this money pit and into a new condo on the gentrified side of town, next to the microbrewery and the artisan crepery! You don’t know, Santa! Damned hippie …

The Last Man on Earth (Sunday, Nov. 22, Fox), continuing series: Is this show about to blink out of existence? Fox’s revamped schedule (coming in January, because who cares about December?) will involve moving Brooklyn Nine-Nine back to Tuesdays to help New Girl save Grandfathered and The Grinder; debuting two-years-on-the-shelf animated series Bordertown on Sundays; kicking off the final American Idol death march; reinstating The X-Files; and pretending Minority Report never happened. Meanwhile, there are no plans for The Last Man on Earth. It’s too weird to slot anywhere but Sunday amongst the cartoons, and too healthily (relatively) rated to outright cancel. Glimmer of Hope: Last Man’s “replacement,” Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life, is even worse than the title suggests. Tandy and the gang could/should be back by February.

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