When the CW announced their fall line-up in May, I thought Jane the Virgin sounded and looked terrible. I had absolutely no intention of watching until reviews started coming in. While not the definitive word on what I will like, critics whose opinions I have historically agreed with started raving about how good this show was. That got me watching the pilot last week. Less than halfway through the pilot, I was hooked and by the time the episode ended, I was ready to fast-forward a week and watch the next episode immediately. It is unexpectedly one of my favorite new shows of the year and one that should really have a larger audience than it does, especially now that it has been picked up a full season. So I’ve put together a list of reasons why this show is worth a look in the hopes that it will inspire more people to check it out.
One of the best things going for this show is the gem it found in its lead actress, Gina Rodriguez. As Jane, she exudes this warm energy that draws you to the character and backs that energy up with some grit and determination. Jane is strong and smart and proud of who she is. Off-screen, Rodriguez shows the same level of intelligence and understanding of what a powerful role this is. Until more shows embrace diversity in their lead roles, those lead actresses (and actors) of color will have to answer questions about their race and how it has affected the roles they have been offered and ultimately chosen and Rodriguez has handled all of those questions beautifully. She understands that this role will give young Latina women in the future a chance to see themselves on TV and what that means for them and she relishes that opportunity. She’s unafraid to stand up for herself and take roles that are meaningful to her, even if it means a lower-profile career. She refuses to simply play a stereotype and I think that is something to be commended.