Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why Joss Whedon should cancel The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Like many fans of the Marvel Movie hits, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Avengers, I was excited to learn that a show featuring S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulson was being developed.  I thought it was a good idea from a studio production standpoint.  The movies are being released 2 at a time each year.  If they were tied together with a TV show the audience would be kept in the light regarding the goings on in the Marvel Universe.  The core audience of this show will be people who loved the movies.  Given the big hits the movies were, this should be a great hit.

However, the execution of the show is downright awful.  In fact, I would say it addresses the audience like they are imbeciles.

The show constantly refers to The Battle of New York from The Avengers as if that was the only topic.  While I didn't mind the first mention of it, after all the show must set a timeline, the 4th or 5th mention got to be a little much. 

Then a little Red Alert went off in my head  when the character Maria Hill played by Cobbie Smulders makes a comparison about Grant Ward played by Brett Dalton in the following manner:

"espionage, highest marks since Agent Romenoff"

I felt like what she actually said was, "espionage, highest marks since Agent Romenoff, played by Scarlett Johansson in the hit movie The Avengers, available now on Blu-Ray and Netflix."

It didn't stop there.  More lights went off

Agent Coulson insists on staying below RADAR, they should not be seen or noticed.  An irony given the S.H.I.E.L.D. Eagle Insignia is emblazoned on nearly everything in every scene.  Driving down the street with the Insignia on the SUVs, surely won't be noticed.  Neither will that C-17 with the logo painted in multiple locations designated "the Bus", because a spy won't crack that code word.  The Bus transports the agents around the world for their missions.

In the second episode, the problems only get worse.  The show winks at the audience to get the joke so much, it makes one wonder if they are having a seizure or something worse.

A device is found in a Mayan temple.  The Agents arrive and discover the object emits Gamma Radiation, "much like that found in the Tesseract, you know the chief maguffin in the movie Captain America which was reclaimed by Thor at the end of The Avengers /wink /wink."

Agent Coulson runs into an old flame Camilla Reyes.  They begin talking about all the missions they took together.  "Remember those 30 people you killed."  "Yea, what about that time you escaped from that prison with nothing but half a shoelace."  The audience is spoon fed their hokey history.  Once again it was like the actors could have just looked at the camera and said "We are filling in backstory about how tough and dangerous we are." /wink /wink

Predictable?  Yup, Agent Coulson and his girlfriend are on board the plane  This time they picked up Coulson's girlfriend and her 8 or so guards, who surreptitiously ask if they can go up and get a bite to eat.  This is about 20 minutes into the show.  As a viewer I simply looked at the time remaining in the show and just waited for the surprise hijacking to commence.  When the hijacking happens its just bad.  The presentation is just bad.

Thinking the audience hasn't been insulted enough the show runners decide to use this crisis to build up the character of Melinda May by saying she used to be called the Calvalry.  Then everyone acts shocked and says "You mean that Calvalry."  No reference for the audience to wink at here, unless you were falling asleep during this boring predictable plot.

Naturally the good guys retake the plane.  A friend of mine said it was like a bad episode of Charlie's Angels.  If you need more specifics then watch ANY EPISODE of Charlie's Angels.

I do get it.  A show needs to build up the characters.  There are smart ways to do that and they are not being utilized.  If someone is smart have them demonstrate it.  In the pilot Episode of Bones, we are told Dr Brennan is smart and then we watch as Dr Brennan painstakingly assembles a completely shattered skull.  The scene is great because her character is shown in some decent shots working alone.  This demonstrates to the audience that she has the knowledge to do her job.

Compare that to The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where Agent Coulson says "We still need to iron out the kinks, but Ward you can speak 6 languages, Simmons you have 2 PHD's in fields I cannot pronounce, and Fitz you ARE a rocket scientist, so work it out."

This is something many network TV Shows try to do.  It is not isolated to this one.  TV Shows trying to cram multiple areas of expertise into a single individual.  If that isn't enough when a skill is needed for the hero that normally isn't brought up, its given as a "Oh yea, I was a summer intern at my Uncle's garage, your transmission is fixed"

Finally, I come to the title of my post.  Joss Whedon, the Executive Producer of this show, gave an interview to EW.  In the interview, Joss Whedon stated he thought the start of the downfall of Hollywood came in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

In the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones is cornered by two swordsmen.  Indy gives that smirk and reaches for his gun.  This is a callback for the audience to Raiders of the Lost Ark.  However since this movie takes place before Raiders of the Lost Ark, there shouldn't be a callback.  Joss doesn't want to rely on any callbacks to the Avengers for it sequel.  If that is truly how he feels about entertainment, then please quit insulting the audience and pull the plug on this show.