Agents of SHIELD. Season 1 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Trekker4747, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The show hasn't delighted me yet, but the discussions between Hall and Coulson, and between Skye and Quinn, about whether SHIELD were really the good guys and about the dangers of their desire for benevolent control did feel like Whedon to me. Those themes were part of Firefly too -- the Alliance wasn't the evil empire fans often assume, they genuinely meant well, but their regulation in the name of order entailed a compromise of individual liberty, as it always does, and that led people to disagree on where to draw the line. It's just that this time we're seeing that question examined from the side of the "Alliance," as it were -- except for Skye, who comes from the "Mal" side of the ideological debate.

    So while the show does feel a bit generic so far, I can see hints of things that make it a Whedon show, beyond just quippy dialogue. That makes me hopeful that it will go deeper and be more complicated as time goes on. The thing is, sometimes shows have to start out disguising themselves as generic and formulaic in order to win over network executives (who don't like to stray too far from their comfort zones since there's a lot of money at stake), and then later start doing the deeper, edgier, more innovative stuff they meant to do all along. Look at how Dollhouse started out as more of a "client of the week" show, almost an anthology-type series of the sort that was popular in the '60s, but then became a much richer, serialized show about the world-shattering consequences of a profound technological advance.
     
  2. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Pretty much describes Angel too.
     
  3. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The problem isn't so much that it is formulaic and familiar but that the writing doesn't even attempt to rise above the formula. This episode especially seemed like you could swap out just about any generic characters and do the exact same plot. Our heroes should be driving the narrative, no matter how formulaic it is.
     
  4. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bull. Pilots are nothing new. Other pilots seem to be able to do both introduce the characters and tell a story. Come on, a police procedural has to do it every week, should they get a pass?

    Edited to add: and a network needs all the morons they can get, a network show can't survive with cable numbers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  5. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is a Whedon show. I expect a real game changer mid-season where it will really take of.
     
  6. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I do think they have to walk a fine line between being overtly comic book and not. They can't have a supervillain or superhero each week because it'll overshadow the movies. However, I get the impression this week that things are going to build to something bigger. That'll help with that issue.
     
  7. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe, but I've been rewatching Angel lately and even those early episodes feel much richer and deeper than anything we've seen on SHIELD so far.

    I hate to say it, but SHIELD almost has the simplistic feel of an ENT or some cheesy syndicated action show from the 90s (although the dialogue is clearly far sharper and wittier than in those shows, which is the main reason I'll probably continue to tune in for awhile).
     
  8. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    With this I agree. I always hate it when someone tells me I need to sit through half a season of a show I couldn't stand the pilot of. or if i saw a single ep or two and didn't like it I get told "Well you didn't see the good episodes." They should all be at least watchable shouldn't they?

    So i'm not gonna tell you you should keep watching. All I can say is I thought the pilot was great, and I'm still watching because i have different priorities than most people in this thread. One big one is this notion of whether the show is "Whedonesque." Some are complaining that it doesn't feel like a Whedon show.

    I find that a plus, because there are lots of things about "pure Whedon" shows that I honestly can't stand. Yep, liked the pilot, but if Joss's influence steadily decreases as the show progresses, I'm not counting it as a downside.

    And there's no reason a series that's part of the shared universe shouldn't keep reminding us of that. That's the point of sharing. It's a perfect reflection of the Marvel Comic Universe.
     
  9. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Uhm.. this is a show about an agency that exists in a superhero world out of a comic book.

    However they won't overshadow the movies because they don't have the budget to do A or even B list superheroes justice (try to do Iron man justice on a TV budget, not nearly as exciting) but they don't want to.

    They have outright said that the focus of the show is elsewhere and they even said so in the pilot episode. The big stuff will happen in the movies but the street level action will be in Shield.

    Some big stuff may happen during sweeps and season finales and might even include some cameos by the big boys (Samuel L. Jackson but he apparently loves the role very much and did it for fun) and they might be used as cross promotion for upcoming movie releases (would be a nice way to tie it together with the movies and i wouldn't mind that).

    It is quite evident that they are laying the foundations for things to come with small and sometimes not so subtle hints but the problem is that the rest is so generic. However i really hope that there will be a crucial episode not so far down the line that blows this whole thing wide open and makes it a must see TV event.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's a show about an agency that exists in a movie franchise that's currently popular. The fact that that franchise is based on comic books only matters to a small fraction of its audience, because the sad fact is, not very many people actually read comic books anymore. Maybe a few percent of the Marvel movies' fans have ever read comics on a regular basis.

    And it's self-evident that the movies try to tone down the more comic-booky stuff to appease the general audience. Characters hardly ever use their superhero or supervillain nicknames. The costumes are toned down or justified almost apologetically. The gods and magic are rationalized as aliens and advanced technology. So no, this is not an unadulterated comic-book universe the way an animated adaptation would be. The live-action audience, even today, would find that campy.


    I had a thought, though: What about using the show to pick up threads the movies seem to have dropped? Maybe they could bring back Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Stearns/The Leader. The movie wasn't successful enough to warrant the sequel they were setting up with Stearns, so why not do it on TV?
     
  11. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^That is a fantastic idea. The Leader could potentially be a season-long Big Bad, if handled properly.
     
  12. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not saying that you have to wait for anything to improve. I'm not trying to manage your viewing habits in the slightest. I'm just saying that in my own experience, I prefer to give a show a chance to grow a little before writing it off.

    I could've given up on TNG after three episodes. Encounter at Farpoint, The Naked Now and Code of Honor? Yuck! Hell, TNG didn't begin to get anywhere near good until 3/4 of the way through season 1. Glad I stuck with it.

    Sometimes I'll stick with a show that never quite gets it together (The Cape, No Ordinary Family), but I never regret giving the show a chance.

    And I can think of a show that I didn't like, didn't engage me and I gave up on early that I later regretted doing so-- Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The movie that started it off was horrible and gave no reason to keep following. Except the show ran five seasons and it is generally well liked. Should I not have given up despite the fact the movie/pilot did nothing for me? Or should I have given a chance to improve? I wish that I had given Clone Wars that chance.
     
  13. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    If the noises about Ruffalo's performance triggering a rethink about a future Hulk project don't bear fruit, maybe.
     
  14. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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    Agents of SHIELD may well have killed off ABC's touted Hulk TV show. If so then it might be nice to see AoS incorporate a little of the Hulk's mythology.

    Not that that would make things okay, of course.
     
  15. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Not sure that I'd make that assumption about SHIELD re: Hulk projects just yet.
     
  16. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Personally I go by a "three strikes and you're out" system. That is if a new show has three episodes in a row that felt like a waste of time, then (baring extraordinary circumstances) I give up on it.

    It's served me well so far. And of the few shows that I gave up on that made it past the first season, most were simply not my cup of tea. Haven for example bored me to death so I gave up around episode 7 or 8 and yet I gather it's not in it's 3rd or 4th season? Been a few close run things though. Almost gave up on Defiance and Jeremiah on more that one occasion.

    I get the arguments on both sides. On the one hand it's usually worth giving a new show a fair chance to build some momentum, but on the other hand there's a limit to what anyone is willing to sit through without being entertained. It's all about your personal thresholds.

    As far as SHIELD goes...I'll keep watching it for now. Though it's awfully hammy at times--almost a throwback to 80's & 90's action shows--it's not *horrible* and there has been the odd flash of brilliance. Enough so far to keep me interested. Plus of course having Whedon's name attached makes a big difference to what I'm willing to sit through. Buffy Angel and Dollhouse all started off a bit slow and episodic and didn't really come into their own until about a dozen episodes in.
     
  17. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The show certainly has... flaws. Mostly one is that I'm not sure what's going to sustain this show (story wise) over the course of several seasons. Hell, even one season. Aside from some threads here and there the episodes we've gotten have been fairly, well, episodic. And, worst of all, we've got some pretty bland and uninteresting characters. Aside from Coulson who else there really to root for? Blandy McSquarejaw? Cute Nerdy Chick Trope 27B-A? The Technoblather Twins? There's not a lot to grab onto here.

    As bad as the first few episodes of TNG were at the very least you had an interesting range of characters all with personalities coming together in an interesting group dynamic. Hell, we have that with the first episode of "Firefly" plus the establishment of the type of universe we're in and maybe *some* idea of where the show is going and focusing on.

    I'm sticking with SHIELD but, really, only out of some sense of loyalty to the MCU but, right now, it's not a show I'm raving about or would itch to get people to watch.

    Watching the first episode of "The Walking Dead" got me hooked and I watched the next episode right away! Same with "Firefly" or, hell, most other shows I watch(ed) and love.

    AoS, so far, nothing has really happened to lock me on. It's been fairly bland and generic so far and only has the MCU to carry it. It really needs more than that and, maybe, stop playing so safe.
     
  18. indianatrekker26

    indianatrekker26 Captain Captain

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    The actor who played the villain on this week's Shield, appeared on Law and Order: SVU tonight. He sure gets around.
     
  19. TemporalFlux

    TemporalFlux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know...to be honest, I expect something more mythic with this series. It's still early, and they may give us that; but there is a great deal they could touch on that would likely never be in a movie. Space Phantoms or the much more scary Dire Wraiths; Night Thrasher, Speedball and other New Warriors; Grim Reaper; etc.

    It sounds like their budget is really hurting, though; I believe that's what hurting the really showy stuff.
     
  20. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not suggesting that you are managing my viewing habits, but you did ask "what do you people want?" And I answered: I want to be engaged, I want to be entertained... and I'm not. Simple as that. I've given it three hours, and the general response is, "you have to give it time..." No. I don't Other shows don't require time to become engaging. The writers are paid a lot of money to do a job, and that's to engage me. I don't think they are doing a very good job.

    Given the context of the time and my age, I was very much engaged with the show right at the beginning.

    The funny thing now: I can't really watch TNG. I see an episode on BBC America... I watch for about five minutes and then I wish Top Gear was on. And I'm not a car guy. It's that Top Gear engages me who I am today.

    I feel like you are suggesting that I'm not giving SHIELD a chance. Are you saying that? If so why?

    Because I feel I have given it a chance. Three chances to engage me.

    Never saw the movie. Heard the reviews were terrible. I just started with the show.

    Like I said, I never watched the movie, so I can't say. But the movie is 90 minutes. That's less than I gave SHIELD. It's also one story. I gave SHIELD three stories.

    I guess I'm having trouble following you because you are suggesting that I have given up "too soon" which implies there IS a point that it's ok to give up.

    Look at it like a date. I go on a date with a woman, it's ok, but, there's nothing really there. It was ok. Maybe it was the night, maybe it was me. I go on a second one. Same thing. It wasn't great, not awful, but, I wasn't really engaged.

    How long should I keep going out with her to realize, "hey, maybe there's a better way to spend my time?"