Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D isn't THAT Bad

1/08/2014 Stephen Colbert 1 Comments

I'm going to go ahead and try to do this one with minimal spoilers considering I'm trying to convince people this show is worth watching.  Not because it's the best show on TV.  Just because it's enjoyable and does relate to the Marvel movies we've thrown billions of dollars at over the years.

The first and biggest thing that strikes me when I watch Agents of Shield and then go read reviews is that it seems like the show is set up to fail.  The creators were very clear about what the show would be about and what the show would look like from the get go.  In February 2013, TV Line published one of the first descriptions of the show.  In that article, they describe exactly what I've seen in the first 11 episodes of the show.
"...It is definitely a Marvel show.”That said, Whedon says to expect 'not a ton' of familiar faces from the Marvel-verse, though “there’s a little bit of talk of that” for any possible future the project has in primetime. 'Right now, I want to involve people in the characters that we’ve created for the show,' Whedon said, 'and then we’ll worry about [the other stuff].'"
I was not nearly so let down as many people (especially many other bloggers/reviewers) seem to have been, despite the fact that we were all reading the same things leading up to the show.  I would say that a lot of the problem may be from there being so much build up and speculation as to the potential of a TV show linking into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, but all that speculation and rumors were harshly downplayed by all the show creators.

It's irrelevant anyway.  The show isn't what some people hyped it to be.  The show isn't what some people wanted it to be.  So... Does that mean it's a BAD show?

I know many people will debate me on the quality of the characters (at least initially) and I'll agree to a point.  The characters could have definitely been more interesting from the beginning.  I find they were interesting enough, but whatever.  For the sake of argument I'll concede the initial quality of the characters.  I do think, though (and I will argue), that the characters have drastically improved and that the universe building has been successful.

Maybe it's not fair for the show to be linked to the larger MCU in any way.  Maybe it's impossible for the show to be accepted when that link exists.  One of the biggest problems with all the universe building we are seeing in other platforms the form of Marvel, DC, the CWs DC properties, Fast and Furious, and etc. is that there is too much homework.  You want Avengers to lean on Iron Man 1&2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America, but do you want to alienate all the audiences that didn't put in the time?

It's the same thing for Agents of Shield.  Yes, it is cool for it to exist hand in hand with the world of The Avengers, but should the show open with a warning: "DO NOT WATCH UNTIL YOU HAVE CAUGHT UP ON X, Y, AND Z MOVIES!"

Seriously.  DVR it.  Study up.  We'll wait.

So this show must start with some universe building.  Yes, that means boring origins stories, grinding through some arbitrary character melodrama, and being patient with them holding back some of the potentially stronger points until it's established what world the show takes place in.  Yes, it takes place in the same world as The Avengers, but they can't just dive in head first.  It only makes sense for them to start at (nearly) zero and build the world and characters from there.

So the question is, after the mid-season premier, have they established a world worth watching?  I'd say so.  I just watched an episode that used characters in a way that would have never worked without the previous 10 episodes happening first.  They finally began to give answers on how and why Coulson is still alive.  What episode should have contained the reveal? The first? The fifth?  I got tired of being teased and the payoff was mediocre, but they have somewhere to go now.

I was about to give up on the show too.  I had decided after 10 episodes that if they didn't give me a show worth watching I would probably wait to maybe binge watch the rest on Netflix sometime.

Treat the mid-season premier as a soft reboot.  We established the universe, we know who the characters are and what they care about, we know what every one's motivation is... The groundwork is now laid for a show people may find a little more interesting and they have managed to gain a little momentum.  I plan to ride it through to the finale.

Anyway, all that to say  it's not all that different from Firefly, but I seem to be the only one that didn't find Firefly flawless, so I'll hide this last statement at the bottom where only people that agree with me will have the patience to find it.

For real.  If you think Nathan Fillion isn't just as wooden as anyone on AoS, then I don't trust your blind fandom anyway.

(No hate on Firefly, it just wasn't perfect...)



1 comment:

  1. Agreed, AoS feels very much like Buffy and Firefly. Which are both shows I enjoyed very much. I actually just picked up the new Firefly comic book over the weekend.

    People that are hating on the show, just had impossibly outsized expectations. Not every episode has been perfect but there is a lot more happening in each episode than I think most people even realize. A great deal is being set up in Marvel U by the show. Hopefully, it succeeds because I love having a Marvel show to follow. It is hard for me to imagine another show that is able to touch on so many places of the universe.

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