Did you enjoy Joss Whedon’s new televised hour-long drama, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
I did. A lot. But not everyone shared my post-viewing enthusiasm. The all-out PR assault leading into last Tuesday’s series premiere had reached a fever pitch over the course of the summer, and it’s hard to blame people’s excitement – a televised tie-in to 2012’s The Avengers certainly deserved our attention. However, the bar was set just a little too high for some; and with great hype (always) comes great disappointment.
I spent the last week reading the glowing praise, as well as the angry grumbles…and of course, the complete nonsense. If you didn’t like it, here are my rebuttals to your complaints (and why you should hang in there):
1. Where were all the Avengers?
As Joss Whedon mentioned before the show launched, this wouldn’t be an ‘Easter Egg Factory’, constantly spitting out guest spots from Marvel Movie alum.
Yes, the possibility exists for a guest spot, and I’m sure we’ll see them in the very near future – but this is about the human, non-powered agents, and not the superheroes.
I want to see the A-listers show up as much as you do, but you’re just gonna have to wait.
2. Why didn’t they have recognizable superhuman characters – why make new ones up?
One complaint is that J. August Richard’s character, who looked similar to Luke Cage, was indeed not Luke Cage.
In the premiere, I would guess that they didn’t want to focus on any one superhuman, and just make it about the Agents. Especially since the point was to put the character on the sidelines by the end of the episode…so it would be a little silly to say, “Here is Luke Cage! Remember him? Wait, now he’s gone.”
I’m sure there will be some big name characters appearing at some point, but that won’t be until the main players are established.
3. What about the effects? They weren’t as good as the movie.
I know. It’s a TV show. The budget isn’t $200M.
4. The scale was too small.
I actually like the idea of a ‘mystery of the week’, as opposed to ‘the goddamned Apocalypse is upon us’ every episode. Let the blockbuster movies deal with the bi-annual world-ending event, and let the Agents do their own, more X-File-y type of stuff.
I think the scale will allow for deeper character development, and hopefully even more continuity as it weaves in and out of the events of the movies.
5. I didn’t like [insert grumble here]
Let’s face it: there was simply too much hype going into this show – period. Anything short of Tony Stark soaring from the sky with AC/DC blaring in the background was going to cause at least some measure of disappointment.
If you are a fan of Joss Whedon, you know that he likes to world-build. This is what’s happening here. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse – they all required several episodes to hit their stride, and really grip the viewer. Hell, I wasn’t a hardcore Buffy fan until the middle of season 2, and then it went on to become my favorite series of all time. That’s just the way he operates; Joss takes advantage of the medium, and uses multiple hours to develop characters, relationships, and to reveal ‘the big bad’ – the ultimate hurdle that the protagonists are going to try and overcome.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will get better. It’s inevitable. As great as I thought the initial outing was, I can definitely see it improving, and taking care of all the complaints that people are having.
We will get guest stars. And recognizable heroes. And big budget moments. All that good stuff. Just give it time, relax, and enjoy the ride.
And if you come complaining to me on Twitter or Facebook, I will be forced to write an assessment of your behaviour. And rest assured, it will involved a drawing of a little poop with knives sticking out of it.
Love and kisses,