Mamo 431: Genresode


There was a lot of conversation in the comments for our previous episode regarding the genre of Marvel’s Jessica Jones – particularly, is it film noir? Is it a superhero show? Is it neither, or both? The Matts have opinions on what makes those genres genres, and what genre means, genre-ally. Listen in!

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Good episode. I abstained from the Jessica Jones convo as I’ve only seen one episode so far (and tactfully muted any potential spoilers here). Can’t think of any current TV series that constitutes a neo-noir but Twin Peaks obviously comes to mind as Lynch has always dabbled in that genre. I think the Angel TV series spinoff from Buffy is an interesting one as it blends the supernatural with many noir elements.


“there are no film noir TV shows”
Just gonna toss some titles out there for other ones that tried or flirted with it:

Bored to Death
True Detective
Veronica Mars
The Singing Detective (havent seen, know of)
Mike Hammer (havent seen, know of)

Matthew Price

no. kinda. no. haven’t seen it. no. haven’t seen it. sometimes, but not very well.


What genre is X series or Y film? I couldn’t give a crap.

Are X series and Y film good? Yes? Then I’ll watch them.

A lot of recent Oscar winning screenplays have been multi genre.

To sum this whole debate up – ‘It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ (Bill Shakespeare – I’m not saying from what play but you’re keen to see the film version soon.)

Matthew Fabb

The interesting thing, is that Matthew Price’s definition of the story elements of noir, fits with the very storyline of the comic book of Alias, which is the title featuring Jessica Jones when she became a detective. Marvel smartly changed the name of the tv show to avoid confusion with the existing tv show alias. Anyways, the very first storyline a missing person case that slow unravels to be huge conspiracy with people powerful enough that despite her superpowers she can’t really touch. Most of the story she has evidence that keeps in her a stalemate, as the two main choices available to her lead to bad end.

That said, stylistically it’s still very different than noir is supposed to be, once again well lit, no rain with a main confrontation at the end happening on a golf course on a sunny day. That said, they do make a nod to the story element of the main character getting knocked out in noir, where it’s set up to look Jones is going to pass out, only to turn the page and she starts kicking ass because it’s not a full noir story it’s a superhero story.

Also going forward as more of the obscure superhero comics are brought forward, I think we are going to see a lot more of genre mashing. As for a long time superhero genre really dominated the comic book industry. There were a few successes of other genres, but for a very long time if a creative team wanted a decent sized readership, it had to feature superheroes. So creators would use all sorts of genres and stretch the definition of the superhero genre into all sorts of ways. I think we will see more of this as the studios and networks go deeper for source material to adapt.

Matthew Fabb

First of all, I know nothing of the new Star Wars movie. I’ve seen the first teaser trailer and have avoided everything since then beyond posters and stumbling on some still images.

That said, I reached out to Matt Brown on social media about something Star Wars related that he probably ignored. It didn’t have to do with the movie, but the fact that there is a Star Wars pop-up store in Toronto. As avoiding social media and all Star Wars related content, I figured he might miss that announcement and it’s only open until just shortly after the new movie comes out. Beyond just selling Star Wars merchandise they also have some of the costumes used in the movie and a life-sized replica of BB-8. They even have a booth where you can get your picture taken with BB-8. Anyways, since that is something that I think Matt Brown would love, I hope he doesn’t miss out through avoidance of Star Wars information.

Matthew Fabb

Oh and the Marvel Comics version of people fixing up infrastructure & property damage after big superhero battles is called Damage Control. They got a quick call out at the end of the first Iron Man movie, with footage in the background of a scene mentioning that Damage Control was rebuilding the area that had been destroyed in the climax of the movie.

Rick Vance

The only show I would throw into the any version of Noir is a BBC show called the Shadow Line it is 7 or 8 episodes and is brilliant.

Courtney Small

I have had a chance to listen to the Super Zero episode yet, so I don’t know if it was raised there, but I had not even considered the idea that some would view Jessica Jones through a noir lens. It felt more like a superhero-horror hybrid to me, at least as far as a Marvel production can go without hitting Blade territory. Jones and the other victims are essentially trapped in one long harrowing nightmare with Purple Man representing is the most dangerous type of Boogyman, the one we might actually encounter in real life. Again, that was the way I interpreted the show (at least the back-half), so I could be way off.