Everyone likes a good story about superheroes. Stories about extraordinary men and women who do incredible things, defeat the bad guys, and continue to dedicate their lives serving a cause to protect the innocent and the world. After the huge success of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, the announcement of a TV show about Marvel universe’s most top secret agency sounded like a spectacular idea. If only the show didn’t feel like everything that came before.
With Agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg) back and not dead as we originally thought (you need to watch The Avengers to know what I’m talking about here), he leads a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to investigate and help those with extraordinary abilities. After watching about seven episodes of the series so far, I’m not finding myself liking this series all that much. I find the cast likable with good chemistry, from Clark Gregg playing fan favorite Coulson to Ming-Na Wen’s no-nonsense, badass pilot Melinda May. I really wanted to like this show, but there isn’t a lot about it that makes me excited to watch a new episode week after week.
Watching an episode of SHIELD feels like eating a sloppy Joe for dinner when you really want to have a prime rib. The show feels mediocre at best. I’ve read other people review the show as a monster of the week show, like The X-Files, and I have to agree with this assessment. Considering there’s a whole slew of other Marvel superheroes they could have introduced into the show, the writers and producers have opted to go with minor characters they introduce in each new episode. Once a threat by those people who have special abilities has been averted, you’re more likely to forget about them just as quickly as they were introduced. It’s a revolving door of your freaks and monsters. A good friend of mine said it best by describing the show as, “It’s like Heroes, except everyone is Horn-Rimmed Glasses man.” He’s also not wrong in saying that either.
My problem with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD is it looks like everything else I’ve already seen. The X-Files did have monster of the week type episodes, but at least there was a much larger story going on in the series, like huge government conspiracies, Mulder’s relentless quest for the truth and to find out what happened to his sister, and what is Cigarette Smoking Man’s agenda in the grand scheme of things. TV’s now defunct Heroes was once a promising show filled with interesting people who led ordinary lives until they discovered they were special.
SHIELD is struggling to find what it’s large scale, ongoing story should be. Or there is one, but I’m having a hard time figuring out what that is based on the show’s main focus on trying to keep their audience entertained by showing us people with cool powers and how our rag tag team of agents are able to save the day from these people who don’t understand their powers, or protect them from shady individuals who are looking to exploit them for their own personal gain. Watching all of it has been a bit of a snore fest for me. It’s disappointing that the show did seem to have a lot of promise, but is failing to make themselves stand out from all the other shows that came before. Nothing about this show feels like a Marvel production. It feels like a repackaged version of X-Files or Heroes.
SHIELD was on my must-watch list of new shows for the season, but after trying to stick with the show a little longer to see if it’ll pick up and improve, I may very well decide to drop it all together. Heroes lost steam after the second season. Fans of X-Files found the show to have lost steam after eight or nine seasons, but I still loved it to keep watching until the very last episode. It’s going to take more than people with cool powers and an attractive cast with good chemistry to keep me watching. That thing would be a better main storyline and better direction.