Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

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Dominic Appleguard
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Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 26 Sep 2013, 15:18

So, Marvel's new TV show aired this week.

I enjoyed it. It wasn't Firefly, but it definitely wasn't Dollhouse.

*And yes, I know it was Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen and not Joss Whedon, but they helped write Dr. Horrible so SHUT UP I'm sorry that was rude*

I like the cast so far. Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson is fun as always. Genero McHandsome had a character-building episode in the pilot instead of the season finale, which counts for a lot. Ming-Na Wen's turn as the jaded agent who refuses to return to the field is a novel way to incorporate an overused trope. Fitz/Simmons are a match made in heaven as the Squints.

In general, this show uses old ideas in a new, fresh way, and I think I buy it. Thoughts?
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Jamfalcon » 26 Sep 2013, 15:24

It seemed pretty good. Nothing groundbreaking, but probably entertaining. I intend to keep watching it. I'm hoping it will have some overarching plots and not just be episodic, and also that it manages to stay away from being just marketing for the movies when they come out. But it looks like it's on the right track to be its own thing, while still part of that universe.

Oh, and not to derail this thread on the first reply, but are you implying that Dollhouse was anything less than excellent? If that's the case, I may have to challenge you to a duel.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Bebop Man » 26 Sep 2013, 15:41

Didn't see it but I read they're already cockteasing the audience about the Avengers. Kind of like "Iron Man just left, you totally missed him", according to what I read. That true?
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby korvys » 26 Sep 2013, 15:48

People didn't like Dollhouse? I mean, it's not Buffy or Firefly, but I liked it.

This was... good? But I want to see more. It felt inconsistent, but then pilots often are. It will be interesting to see if it gets better once it's going.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 26 Sep 2013, 16:51

Bebop Man wrote:Didn't see it but I read they're already cockteasing the audience about the Avengers. Kind of like "Iron Man just left, you totally missed him", according to what I read. That true?
Well, we have to be honest about why the show got greenlit. So yeah, we are reminded that crazy shit went down in New York, and there is a plot element (one I don't intend to spoil for you) that relates to one film in particular. I think they do a good job of establishing that This Is Not About Them, though.

As to Dollhouse: that discussion probably merits its own thread (and indeed, one might already exist) but my take on it is that:
1) Eliza Dushku is not a good actor, and it was ill-advised to make a show that hinged on her playing lots of different characters.
2) the second halves of each season are amazing, but when I watch the rest of it I can understand why the show got in ratings trouble.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Master Gunner » 26 Sep 2013, 16:57

Bebop Man wrote:Didn't see it but I read they're already cockteasing the audience about the Avengers. Kind of like "Iron Man just left, you totally missed him", according to what I read. That true?


I read a review of the show that started like that, then immediately said that's not what happened, but merely what could have happened.

The show does drop several references to the movies, but that's to be expected: it is immediately following up on them and the wider fallout of what happens in the movies. Once the episode got going and the new guy/audience introduced to what the state of affairs of the Marvel universe is, it did a good job of been its own thing.

As far as the characters go, I'm mainly watching for Coulson (and Hill, if she sticks around as a regular character) and Fitz-Simmons. Generic McHandsomeHero has nothing that makes him particularly unique yet (despite allegedly been their best active field agent short of Black Willow, he could have been replaced by any generic agent in his first scene meant to showcase his skills). The hacker girl likewise has nothing that particularly interests me in her character. The anarchist hacker archetype has been done to death, so there's nothing special to see there. Melinda May looks to be a solid character though. She may not have had any more setup than the other characters, but the actress sells it very well.

For the plot - "Case of the Week" works well for cop shows, but it really depends on having strong characters to bring people back every week. Especially given the traps the show has to avoid (e.g. "Iron Man just left, you totally missed him!"), I'm not sure the cast is quite strong enough for that, especially given who the hardcore fans of the show is going to be. Agents of SHIELD needs to setup an ongoing storyline, and quick.


To make comparisons to Buffy and Dollhouse:
Buffy opened with a 2-parter that set up the characters, as well as the ongoing plot arc and villains for that season. While the plot arc was only directly dealt with on in two episodes ("Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" and the season finale), the rest of the season dealt with setting up very strong characters, as well as already giving them significant development (such as "Angel").

Dollhouse has a character introduction episode, followed by a season of essentially stand-alone episodes which only coalesce into a proper plot arc in the last two (other than Ballard's, but I just found him annoying). The characters weren't properly built up into ones I could get invested in until season two. By the end of the season, most viewers had already lost interest, because the lack of character development among the "main" cast and only vague references to an ongoing plot gave the potential viewers little reason to continue watching.

Now, I ended up liking Dollhouse, but it took a lot of effort and only a handful of episodes showed the show's true potential (namely "Spy in the House of Love", and once Alan Tudyk is introduced), and they were late in the season. Right now, Agents of SHIELD is feeling far more like Dollhouse than Buffy in terms of how the season (and viewership ratings) will progress, and that needs to change ASAP. We need an ongoing plot and antagonists introduced in the next couple episodes, and some serious character development for Mr. McHandsomeHero and Ms.CrashOverride to make them interesting.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Fezzul » 26 Sep 2013, 20:17

I have to be honest (because the voices are telling me to be honest), I'm not crazy about it. There are nice moments, but right now it all feels a little ham-fisted and, well, generic. I know it was just the first episode, I'm willing to give the next couple a view to see if it picks up, but I found it pretty hard to care about what was going on.

The characters so far have all come across as one-note archetypes. Case-in-point, quirky English girl scientist and amiable but slightly belligerent Scottish scientist.

I didn't really care all that much about what was going on either. It's a story we've seen before in a dozen other shows. Granted, the Marvel movies haven't always had the most original plots in the world, but when you've got two hours, an iconic character and that really cool actor that you love all swimming around, you can forgive those shortcomings. But for a series where you have none of those things, you need more interesting stories. I can remember episodes of 'Mutant X' that followed similar lines. Again, I know it's the first episode, but I expected more from a franchise which has really delivered these past few years.

Also, it's a pet peeve of mine, but everyone is really attractive. Everyone is glamorous and Hollywood gorgeous. The only exception being Coulson, and even he's unconventionally good-looking. None of them are bad actors, by any means, but it just feels (forgive me for sounding like a hipster) like mainstream pandering.

Ok, so I'm not sold on Episode one. I'll give it maybe one or two more episodes, but I'm not convinced it's off to a great start. Maybe it's just because I've been watching a lot of Breaking Bad recently, but this show feels very safe. Very much a colouring within the lines affair. Which is disappointing, given what a ground-breaking show it is, just in lieu of it being a continued extension of the Marvel universe in to the TV world. As MovieBob has talked about before, this is bringing comic-book style continuity in to the mainstream consciousness. That is a big deal, and this show just feels like 'generic action procedural with a twist number 134'.

So yeah, I was expecting more. Hopefully it'll pick up.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Geoff_B » 27 Sep 2013, 00:21

It's on UK TV tonight. I'll be sure to watch it.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Master Gunner » 27 Sep 2013, 05:13

So something that I just checked on: While Marvel/Disney have not regained the movie rights to Spiderman, X-Men, or the Fantastic Four (as well as various related characters)...they have gotten pretty much all the rights back as far as TV goes. So if nothing else, this show could be an avenue to bring those characters into the MCU.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 27 Sep 2013, 08:18

I wouldn't bet on it. It's constructed as a companion to the movies; if they started including characters or concepts from those franchises, the audience might think those films are in-canon with the Avengers, which causes more confusion than it's worth. I mean, some people already get confused about why Spider-Man's not an Avenger.

Also, fully half those movies were shit, so they wouldn't want that kind of press.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Kthanid » 27 Sep 2013, 08:26

I could see the show as a gateway for introducing some of the lesser known marvel heroes associated with the Avengers and SHIELD; such as Black Panther, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Machine Man, Nova etc.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Fezzul » 27 Sep 2013, 08:31

I think there might be a conflict of interest clause in their somewhere which would prevent them from using a lot of the characters, or at least using the same actors.

I know that in commercials you have to sign a non-compete (or whatever the term is) where you cannot represent a competing brand. So, if you are in a Burger King ad, you can't be in a McDonalds ad until the rights to the BK ad have expired, or a certain amount of time elapses. So it's unlikely that Hugh Jackman will be showing up in an episode to play Wolverine, because there's probably something in one of his contracts that says he cannot play the same character for a different production company.

You might, however, be able to bring in some of the unused outlying characters from those universes though. Like some of the currently unused X-Men. or what have you.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Master Gunner » 27 Sep 2013, 08:44

Yeah, so long as the X-Men franchise is still somewhat doing well and is so closely linked to Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen, it's probably more trouble than it's worth to bring the X-Men into the MCU. However, I don't think it's nearly as much of an issue to reboot Spiderman and the Fantastic Four into the MCU, even if only indirectly. Villains like the Skrull and Kree are also part of the Fantastic Four property, and so can't face the Avengers in the movies, but still could in the show.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 27 Sep 2013, 13:59

Apparently, the Daredevil rights reverted this year. So that's fun.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby MisterDee » 27 Sep 2013, 19:12

Watched it, and overall I'd say it was a somewhat weak spinoff-slash-pilot.

It's not awful, but the characters (except for Coulson) are at best two-dimensionnal, and Generic McHero is one of the flattest, most boring protagonist I've ever seen. And the actor is a graduate of the Keanu Reeves School of Wooden Board Imitations.

That said, I'm willing to give it a shot, if only because Whedon is really, really good at characterization and he's enough of a geek to be aware that the generic plot hooks won't keep the target audience engaged for very long. I'm willing to bet that we'll go through the cliché hooks like Coulson's Dark Secret, the Asian chick's PTSD, Generic McHero's need to grow into something beyond combat and espionnage, and the hacker's anti-government tendencies much faster than you'd expect.

And on the plus side, the SFX and production values are just amazing for TV. The pilot's bland setting didn't really allow those to shine, but I'm willing to bet we'll see some amazing sets and shots over the series' run.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Elomin Sha » 29 Sep 2013, 07:57

I enjoyed it. It's nice to have a return to sci-fi that isn't overly realistic.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby JustAName » 29 Sep 2013, 09:02

I liked it *shrug*. And I actually liked the one-off episodes of Dollhouse. When it started getting overwrought it was less fun for me. I mean, I also love the episodes with Alpha, etc., but season two gets a bit too... thing... for me. I can't words. Sorry.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby RedNightmare » 29 Sep 2013, 09:29

I'm kind of in the same camp as Fezzul, I wasn't blow away, but I don't really mind. It felt a bit unfocused, but that's not that strange considering you need to:

- establish fall-out from Avengers
- introduce all the characters
- actually have a story to tell
- point the camera to Mike's side once in a while

all in only 44 minutes. I'm convinced all the characters will evolve to be far less generic than we think, even McHero (note the shot where he calls Coulson at the end. They were clearly celebrating with some chinese and beer, but he still looked very awkward. This guy can't handle people even in a normal, friendly setting)
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby 2stepz » 29 Sep 2013, 11:12

I think I need to have a marvel movie marathon before I get too far into this...
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby ex-Lurker » 29 Sep 2013, 15:38

It has promise but not uber excited about it, I'll definitely keep watching for the next few episodes at least.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Kapol » 29 Sep 2013, 15:42

I think that ABC has too many freaking ads during an internet stream.

But the series seems like it'll be pretty good at worst. The show does feel very generic. It feels a lot like Eureka, or Warehouse 13. But... I think I can forgive that, since I like both of those shows. We'll see where things go from here. But I think it's going to be a pretty good show.

Also, I was wondering about Culson being back. I have to say that I'm hardly surprised. And the explanation of his dark secret likely won't be a shocker. But then again, this is Wheadon, so we'll see.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby ex-Lurker » 29 Sep 2013, 15:44

I'm actually looking forward to the explanation, not a big comic book fan, so it will probably be a shocker to me.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Geoff_B » 30 Sep 2013, 06:43

I thought it was quite good. I've even formed a couple of theories. As you do. Nothing earth shattering though.

Theory #1: Agent Coulson is dead and this is a Life Model Decoy

Theory #2: Mike Peterson needs a new identity - Luke Cage maybe? Before they revealed his name I thought it was going to be Luke Cage.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 30 Sep 2013, 11:47

He's not Luke Cage.
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Re: Agents of SHIELD: Whadidyathink?

Postby Elomin Sha » 30 Sep 2013, 12:01

From what I can tell from Coulson, he's a clone with/or he has the super soldier serum in him.
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