Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

I'm going to be honest with you. I'm not sold on this show yet. So if you absolutely adored it... you may want to skip this blog post altogether. Maybe check back next week and see if I've given it a higher rating yet...

I mean if it wasn't for Coulson I don't even know if I'd keep watching. but Coulson is so wonderfully wonderful - he's just awesome. I have to get my Coulson fix.

The other characters? They're... far more meh than anything I've come to expect from the mind of Whedon, which makes me wonder just how much he's really involved with this show. Fitz and Simmons are one dimensional squabbling comedy right now, Agent Ward is stiff and boring, Skye is cocky and annoying, and Agent May... okay Agent May is pretty cool. Not Coulson cool but close. I want to know more about her.

And that's what's sad. We're two episodes in and we know almost nothing about anyone. When you consider how much we knew about everyone in the first episode of Firefly - or even by episode two of Dollhouse... it's sad. Last night's episode was so action heavy, they didn't leave time for character. It wasn't just not Whedon quality, it wasn't even well-written/plotted/characterized television.

But no one is talking about this because they're in love with the cameo at the end. And it was an awesome cameo.


I mean. Nick Fury saves everything. His 45 second appearance may be all that gets the show good ratings next week, because if it wasn't there, I think a lot of viewers would not be intrigued enough to continue on. The only interesting things at this point are "what REALLY happened to Coulson", and "What is Agent' May's backstory." Skye's apparent infiltration motive would be more interesting if we actually loved or hated her at this point... and while some people do, she's honestly not that well developed at all. And she should be. For a show of this profile with everything it has behind it... it's sad. And this week's mysterious object was a not-even-glorified MacGuffin. For a show whose selling point is their connection to the Marvel Universe, they're going to have to actually do something awesome with the sci-fi stuff (and NOT just more cool gadgets) if they can't get the characters up to par, or this show is going to be dead in the water.

"Once Upon a Time" (for comparison) may not have had a perfect first season, but they had an intriguing plot and I, at least, cared about every character shown on screen in the first episode and continued to do so (except for when Snow and Charming just got stupid but whatever). 

I'm not giving up. I said I'd give it six episodes before passing judgement and I'll keep watching. But this was a pretty disappointing episode apart from the ALL HAIL THE GLORIOUS CAMEO. Hopefully next week will be less action intense and more plot and character heavy and make me care about somebody besides Coulson and May.


Miranda said...

Unfortunately, altho I know I will keep watching (because any Joss is better than no Joss, and diddo for Coulson), I think this show bears unmistakable the marks of the lesser Whedon's attached to it. Jed Whedon is a poor substitute. However, I have hope, considering that every single first season of Joss' long running shows, and even Dollhouse, started off pretty cheesy . . . and with some serious weaknesses (altho, even early Buffy was far more magical than this). Not so, Firefly, of course, which was strong from the first shot. But that got cancelled. Maybe Joss is sticking with the formula he knows best: Campy beginning = fabulous middle = unforgettable ending.

Arwen said...

I have to agree with you. I've been dragging my feet through the first two episodes. I liked the first episode's plotline, with extremis and all that. But even Coulson feels kind of weak as a character. I wish we had more. There is little to no character development in this show.

Andy Hauge said...

It's definitely not like the strongest of Joss' shows. My first episode of Firefly ever was The Message, which took a quirky premise, and then suddenly showed me it had incredible depth. Even the pilot episode had delightful subversive moments in it, though it was largely a paint-by-numbers plot with a couple of exceptions. That's largely absent here. (Possibly because there's a larger creative team than Joss here, since Joe Quesada and Jeph Loeb are involved.)

That said, I find it immensely entertaining and interesting for a few reasons. For the one--I went into it expecting a fun show with Coulson at the helm, and it's certainly that. There's overarching plotlines, monster-of-the-week shoutouts to the MCU, and I like the fact that the team structure is slanted towards the geeky side. Plus little touches like Fitz and the Seven Drones. A lot of little touches, really.

Coulson definitely sells the show for me. His climactic standoff in the first episode was the moment that enthralled me the most.

Generally very pleased with it so far, though. There's no major plot arc yet, but the show touches on the rest of the MCU in different ways--so it's a great vehicle for shedding light on the smaller fallout of events we've seen in the movies. (It's most definitely not nearly as good when viewed in isolation.)

I'm interested to see where this goes. (Technicality: the 0-8-4 wasn't really a MacGuffin as defined in most places, Hitchcock especially. Its origin was important, tying into the MCU, and so was its function, because a substantial part of the resolution leveraged that function to move the plot forward. A MacGuffin is something where the function of the thing doesn't matter. It's just there to be pursued.)

Though I'm still scratching my head on how a relatively flimsy life raft can seal up a hole in the side of a plane. Maybe I just don't know physics well enough?