Season 2 of Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” Will Only Feature Woman Directors

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones (IndieWire)

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones (IndieWire)

Hey Hollywood, you know all that bluster about how you can’t find female directors/writers, etc.? You know how you keep saying you want to diversify but you just can’t? Even though you’re trying really hard? Well, “Jessica Jones” is calling your bluff and raising it.

The Netflix series, which focuses on the Marvel character of the same name (played by Krysten Ritter), has been praised for its depictions of sexual assault and female friendship, among other aspects. And now showrunner Melissa Rosenberg has thrown down the gauntlet and declared that no one shall sit in the director’s chair unless their chromosomes are of the XX variety.

This isn’t the first time a TV series has hired solely women directors to direct its episodes. That would be “Queen Sugar,” co-produced and written by Ava DuVernay (who’s the first Black woman to direct a $100M movie). And that happened earlier this year.

No word yet on who’ll be gracing the director’s chair for the second season of “Jessica Jones” (and also no release date), but I can’t wait to find out.

But one thing’s for certain: Your move, Hollywood.

 

 

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“Luke Cage” Breaks Netflix

Luke Cage on Netflix (Metro UK)

Luke Cage on Netflix (Metro UK)

Marvel’s newest superhero Luke Cage only arrived less than two weeks ago, but he’s already made a name for himself. And not just for his heroic deeds.

The titular character’s thirteen-episode first season dropped on Friday night, Sept. 30th. Not even a day later, Netflix received so much traffic that the site went down for two to three hours on Saturday afternoon. The outage affected the U.S. and most of the UK.

It’s posited that so many viewers streaming the new series at the same time led to the site crashing.

If anything, Netflix’s crash proves that there’s a very real audience for non-white superheroes that’s been underserved for far too long. I hope the success of “Luke Cage” changes that.

Trends: Emmys 2016 Diversity

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

The Emmy Awards aired this past Sunday night, honoring the best in TV. The twin themes  that popped out from the night were diversity and inclusion. And they played out in many ways.

Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek won Best Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the first Egyptian-American to do so. Malek also became the first non-white actor to win the award since 1998, when Andre Braugher won for Homicide: Life on the Street. On the actress side, Black-ish lead Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Though she didn’t win, Ellis was the first Black woman to be nominated for the award in 30 years; Phylicia Rashad was nominated in 1986 for The Cosby Show. Ellis was only the fifth Black woman ever to be nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.

Inclusivity also prevailed behind the camera. Comedian Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang won Best Writing for a Comedy Series for Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None. (Ansari was also nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.) Women directors were honored: Jill Soloway won Best Directing for a Comedy Series for Amazon’s Transparent, and Susanne Bier won Best Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special for AMC’s The Night Manager.

Diverse narratives are gaining more traction. Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for the second consecutive year for his role as a transwoman.

It was good to see some progress made this year in terms of inclusion, but there’s still a long way to go.

 

 

Trends: Companies Expanding Maternity/Paternity Leave Policies

Netflix 2014 logo (Under Consideration)

Netflix 2014 logo (Under Consideration)

A very positive trend has sprung up recently: Companies are their expanding parental leave policies. The main goal is to recruit more women with work-life balance policies, and to retain talent by allowing time off for family matters. Because trouble at home often means distracted employees and lower productivity. (I feel like that’s on a modern-day Mather Work Incentive poster somewhere.)

Big strides have been made this year: Consulting powerhouse Accenture bumped up its maternity leave policy to 16 weeks in March, which applies to both full-time and part-time employees. In April, Johnson & Johnson announced a new eight-week paid leave policy. In June, major bank Goldman Sachs began offering new fathers and “non-primary caregivers” four weeks of paid leave. (The company currently offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.) The U.S. Navy and Marines mandated an 18-week maternity leave policy, effective immediately, in July.

This trend has become especially prevalent in the tech industry, with a lot of changes occurring just this past month. In August, Microsoft recently announced a new parental leave policy, in which employees would get paid at 100% of their salary for 12 weeks. New mothers will have eight weeks of paid maternity leave, which, combined with disability leave, could entitle them to 20 weeks of paid leave.

Adobe’s policy also changed: Mothers will now receive 26 weeks of paid leave, up from the nine weeks off from the previous policy. It’ll be a combination of medical leave (10 weeks) and paternal leave (16 weeks).

Netflix announced they’re bumping up their maternity and paternity leave policies to an unlimited amount of time. New mothers and fathers are allowed to take as much time off as they like during a child’s first year, whether though birth or adoption. (Netflix isn’t a stranger to expanding time off: Employees already get unlimited vacation time.) But the policy isn’t all inclusive: It only applies toward salaried employees, so hourly workers aren’t able to take advantage of it.

It’ll be interesting to see if (when) other companies follow suit, and if paid parental leave will eventually be federally mandated. These are definitely steps in the right direction.