Last week, we closed out the first half of the season for the brand new show Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. As a big fan of the all the Marvel movies we've been exposed to recently, I've watched the show from the beginning with keen interest. How has it fared so far? What am I looking forward to in the second half of the season? Read on to find out.
A Great Premise
I watched the pilot episode of SHIELD and walked away very excited. In the episode, we were reintroduced to Agent Phil Coulson, the SHIELD agent we first met in Iron Man and last saw (supposedly) dying at the hands of Loki in the Avengers. We are introduced to a group of people (mostly SHIELD agents) that Coulson has gathered to react to new threats/elements in this Post-Avengers Marvel Universe. This premise sounded great, and made me think that we are going to get a Fringe/X-Files type show set in the Marvel Universe. I was all on board with that premise, and was eager to see how it would pan out in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As the season trundled along, it feels like somewhere along the way, the writers did not quite know what they wanted to do with the story. A lot of time is spent on Skye and Agent Grant Ward, one is a hacker-turned-wannabe SHIELD agent (maybe?), the other a sterotypical hard edged solo spy type. Many of the filler moments between action scenes seem to revolve around some romantic tension between the two or focus on Skye and why she's joined up with Coulson. These storylines seem to just kill any sort of good moments that the show brings up. Neither character is really that interesting, and I really could care less about Skye and her desire to find her parents.
Instead, the character that the show should be focusing the most around, Coulson, is only give moments to shine here and there. I'd wager that about 75% of the people watching Agents of SHIELD are doing so because they fell in love with Agent Coulson throughout the Marvel movies and were excited to have a show focused around that character. Yet the writers on SHIELD are instead taking two of the most uninteresting characters of the series and forcing some drama down our throats. The interactions between the characters needs to be natural, not created for the purpose of filling up time. Case in point - one of the best episodes of the season, FZZZT!, spent half of the episode dealing with the two Agents Fitz and Simmons. Those moments are full of so much emotion and so much drama, while at the same time felt very natural and helped build a connection with the characters. Then, when that connection is tested at the end of the episode where it looks like one of them may perish, you find yourself on the edge of your seat hoping that it isn't true. I've yet to feel that connection with Agent Ward or Skye.
Make Mine Marvel
For a TV show supposedly based in the Marvel Universe, we've hardly seen that much of it other than an occasional reference. Instead, the show seems to want to create its own continunity, its own villians for the show to operate in, which is completely opposite of what ABC has been selling the show as. This show needs to have better tie-ins with the movie universe that made this show possible. For instance, the episode following the new Thor movie was advertised as this big tie-in with the Thor movie, which got me excited. Yet, the "tie-in" ended up being that the episode started with a few minutes of the agents cleaning up Thor's mess, followed by a new Asgard - related story that had nothing to do with Thor: The Dark World. The story was pretty good, but don't sell me on an episode being a tie-in when the biggest link to the movie is a joke about wishing for a "God of Cleaning up after himself".
Now, ideally it would have been cool to have Thor himself show up in the episode for at least a little bit, but I realize that gets expensive. There's two answers to that: A) This is DISNEY for crying out loud, I think they have the money to make this happen and B) there are other cheaper ways to tie into the movie. Like, could we have Kat Dennings character or the doctor appear in the episode. Since, you know, they *were* in the same area when the movie ended. That wouldn't have been that hard to coordinate. But if you are going to sell this show as being a part of the Marvel Universe then you have to actually link it to that universe - just like how in the movies characters crossed over to other movies.
I Still Have Hope
There is still time for Agents of SHIELD to impress me - we still have half of season 1 to go, in which I'm hoping we get answers to some of the bigger questions that they have been stirring up. Also, there will more than likely be a second season to this show, during which I hope they find their footing and get a better idea of what they want the show to be. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions that I have:
1. Get rid of the Skye character, and/or Agent Ward.
2. Focus more on the premise and/or Agent Coulson.
3. Give us more crossover/tie-ins with the Marvel movies (a LOT more).
4. Change up the writing staff - I figured out most of the big plot twists of the mid season finale halfway through the episode!
What have you guys thought of the first part of Agents of SHIELD? Have I missed anything important/not understood anything? Let me know in the comments below!