Molly Jackson and the Mystery Quota
A couple weeks ago, Jessica Jones premiered with much fanfare. The internet vomited up so much detail about the character you would have thought Alias had been Marvel’s biggest selling book since Amazing Spider-Man. Fans are tripping over themselves to talk about Jessica and her abusive relationship with Kilgrave. But another, more disturbing line of conversation has emerged: the competition between female superhero shows.
Yes, people are taking to the Internet now saying Jessica Jones should and will get Supergirl cancelled. Because those two shows are exactly alike, have the exact same audience, and must compete as per the laws of the Internet.
Oh wait, none of that is true. But sadly, this type of fear mongering will always continue.
In geek culture, we are taught from a young age, that things we love will get cancelled by the network, the creative team will get taken off the book they made big, our childhood loves will be rebooted into a steaming pile of crap or our favorite character will get ret-conned into an asshole. Just because we have suffered through that kind of trauma doesn’t mean we need to succumb to it. Right now there are geeks who are saying Supergirl should be cancelled because Jessica Jones is a better show. I’d surmise that each has their own place in entertainment. I’d also like to point out that I don’t think Netflix shows can be considered anything similar to network television due to the differences in distribution. The entire show structure has to be thought out better since viewers are more likely to binge watch. Though, that is really an argument for another column day.
My point, long and rambling as it is, is that geeks seem to need to compete against other geeks, like we are all fighting for a limited spot in the geeky quota. Yes, the quota does seem to show up on occasion. In comics, we’ve seen a limited expansion of diversity on creative teams and in characters. At DC Comics, they were even told to stop “Batgirling” a.k.a. stop exploring new things.
Entertainment as a whole has stuck with the basic “meat and potatoes” idea. But when a new idea takes off, it does explode with similar stories and genre exploration. I don’t see why superheroes, which is having an amazing renaissance in television, would be any different. Would it be great if there was more? Of course. But that is no reason to take two slightly similar shows and say one can’t be on the air because another show is. Then we wouldn’t have 30+ different cop shows on TV. (That is an entirely arbitrary number. I was going to count but it already seems like a lot. That’s probably closer than TV would want to admit.)
Show the entertainment companies what you love and you might get to keep it. Just don’t knock other creations in the process.