A surprising thing happened this week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
No, wait, sorry – surprising things don’t happen on that show unless Joss Whedon has taken a direct hand and written a scene. A surprising thing happened to me this week regarding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I found that I 100%, unequivocally, couldn’t be bothered to cue up the episode I recorded and find out what horrible thing May did to Skye (Sky? Skie? S.K.Y.?).
Last week’s episode, with the big Coulson reveal, had me charged up. Sure, the episode itself had issues; but the horrific surgery scene was a big enough payoff that I didn’t care. It was well acted, unexpected, and haunting. I thought about it all night and felt satisfied that the show had made good on at least some of its promises.
So what happened this week? With at least a partial reveal completed for the only character I cared at all about, I’ve lost all interest in spending the 1 hour of TV time I get a night on Agents. Sky is boring. May is very interesting, but very one-dimensional. The rest of the crew…well, the less I know about Agent Perfect Fit Chinos and the Wonder Twins, the better. This was a surprising realization; because out of my Nerd Herd, I was the one championing this show, I was the one singing its praises from the rafters.
So what do they need to do to rekindle my interest (and hopefully gain the audience that they should have had in the first place)? Simply put; be a Marvel show. The comic does not operate in a vacuum where it’s all Secret Agent stuff and the heroes and villains never make appearances. No, there are frequent, if not constant, references and cameos. In order to make a sustainable audience, Marvel has to, at the very least, be able to draw in its core fan base. That means showing us the goods once in a while. Graviton was solid – I was excited about that and it turned out to be a good origin. The other no-name powered dudes; well they’re all dead, so no worrying about them.
There are rumors that Mike will end up being Deathlok; which would be fantastic – he’s a perfect fit for this show, being a rogue vigilante (or controlled by Centipede in this case). It also seems his injuries are lining up to be physically similar. Hell, his name’s even Mike (Peterson in this case instead of Collins; but artistic license, blah, blah, blah) and he’s African American. That would probably be enough to get me back for a few episodes.
But I have to care about the rest of the cast to make me stay. And that’s the bigger problem. Beyond Coulson, I just don’t. Maybe Skye’s big reveal this week will make her more likable? Probably not. It’ll just make her backstory more tragic, which doesn’t really help. I don’t need her to be more mopey or angry – then she just slips further into the template that Whedon established with Faith on BTVS. As for the rest of them. May just needs a nudge into two-dimensions to make me more interested in her. The rest I could care less about, a timely lab accident that fused them into a single vanilla-loving super lab rat, followed by an equally timely cargo door mishap while in flight would be a blessing.
I’ll watch this week’s Agents eventually, my completionism won’t let me do otherwise. But you can’t make me like it.
Post Viewing Update
Well holy SHIELD balls, this ep actually made me interested again (as mentioned in the comments). We got two origin stories (I’ll admit, I had to Google Blizzard) and some rounding out of the cast. The best take away is that I can actually see a direction for the rest of the season. We have Quinn setting himself up as the mini-boss to The Clairvoyant’s “Big Bad,” hopefully breaking out all the B-list super villains that SHIELD is conveniently storing in the Sandbox for him.
Hell, I even got some vulnerability from May and some snarky differentiation from Fitz, just like I wanted. Well done, Whedons. Well done.