I really wanted to like Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., I really did. But after seeing a few episodes of the new series on ABC I have to admit that the show is a subpar, uninvolving disappointment.
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has many things going for it, at least on paper. Start with executive producer Joss Whedon, who created the great TV shows Firefly and Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. He directed the pilot episode and the megahit film The Avengers and he is one of the driving forces behind the show. For fans, it’s clearly set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with its many references and name drops from various Marvel films. Also, the star of the show is fan-favorite Special Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who turns up alive and well despite being apparently killed by Loki in The Avengers. That’s about it in terms of what’s good with the program.
The problem with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that it commits two cardinal sins for genre fans; it’s dull and it’s a procedural-type of show. There are plenty of shows polluting the networks that are just like this one. Here’s the formula: the characters investigate some kind of crime, enter some forgettable guest stars, have everyone speaking in tech-ess that tunes out viewers and add in the Whedon touches. That would be adorably cute and perky female characters and actors speaking in a staged, witty manner. We’ve seen it all before and done better. Plus, in each episode there is an air of whimsy and lightness that doesn’t gibe with the situation in that world. What’s worse is that the light tone undercuts any sense of danger that is so badly needed with the episodes.
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place shortly after the movie, The Avengers. Society is dealing with the fact that superheroes and aliens exist in the world. S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) is a multinational agency that is a major player in the espionage field. Phil Coulson, who appeared in most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, puts together a special task force to confront supernormal threats to world peace and security. On his team are veteran agents Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), two scientists/engineers–Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Emma Simmons (Elizabeth Hentsridge)–and the newest S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit, a hacker called Skye (Chloe Bennet). Continue reading