The idea behind Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a spectacular one. A television series directly tied into the established Marvel movie universe is ripe with potential. It opens up this amazing superhero world for all sorts of storylines and characters that may not have the strength to carry an entire feature length film. Yet they could add a fun and entertaining depth and dynamic if the show utilized that potential.
The first episode was a good one for the most part. It gave us a basic introduction to the characters and planted itself nicely into Marvel’s movie world. It also established its tone which felt strikingly similar to the successful movies. But while I did think the first show was a nice setup that left me interested in where things will go, it wasn’t an episode that blew me away. Still, it ended in a manner that left me anxious for the next show.
Last night brought us the second episode. It attempted to draw a better picture of what type of series this will be as well as open up the main characters more. In what looks like an X-Files styled format, the team headed out on their first full mission together. I gotta say I was pretty interested to see the show take off. Unfortunately I don’t think it ever did. In fact I would call this episode a big disappointment and it gave me real reason to be concerned about the series as a whole.
First off the story just wasn’t that interesting or satisfying. The buildup from the previous show never bore fruit and the story had little energy or life. It did try to incorporate a few connections to the movie universe, but for me they weren’t enough to keep me engaged. There were also moments that were just silly and impossible to believe. For example, an inflatable raft stopping up the huge hole in the side of a midair jet. I guess you could say that S.H.I.E.L.D. rafts are stronger, but come on. I can’t help but be optimistic and believe that there is better material on the way. But as a whole, this show was a step back and if the rest of the episodes follow this lead, I don’t see myself sticking with it very long.
Another problem I had is with the production value. Now don’t get me wrong, I never expected this to have the same look and polish of a big-budget Hollywood motion picture. But this thing looked pretty cheap. There were a few money shots and there were instances where you can tell money was spent. But there were other moments that simply looked fake and very low budget. That was pretty disappointing.
But perhaps my biggest gripe is with the cast and characters. It saddens me to say but so far none of them have kept my interest. Every one of them are lifeless, cardboard cutouts that either fit a familiar stereotype or just spark no interest at all. And the characters aren’t helped by the combination of shoddy acting and weak dialogue. Even Agent Coulson, who I really do love, was way off in this second show. For me this could be the death blow to the series. If you can’t create an interesting and entertaining cast of characters, especially in a show like this, you’re in deep trouble. After the second episode I can’t say I really care about any of them yet.
In a nutshell I can say I’m pretty worried about where the series is heading. I was that disenchanted with episode #2. But I haven’t lost hope. A fun appearance at the end and a cool reference to Thor’s hammer where the highlights for me. They are enough to give me hope that the show can get back on track. Yet suddenly I’m not so sure anymore and as I reflect on this week’s show I can see cracks that may turn out to be irreparable.
So have you watched it? What were your thoughts on episode #2? Please take time to tell everyone what you think.