Posts Tagged ‘ABC’

Agent Melinda May - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "A Magical Place"Always trust May, she’s got this.

The second half of the season starts off with giving us the best episode yet. First off, Skye is not the most annoying character ever. She does get a fair amount of screen time but she’s actually being useful and productive rather than just running around whining then suddenly saving the day with her ‘mad hacking skills’. The way she gets what she needs in this episode is interesting and fun. For once I’m not rolling my eyes at her. Ward on the other hand…

But more importantly, in this episode, we learn about Coulson’s death… because he apparently did actually die, but Nick Fury does not take ‘death’ as an answer.

Coulson went through several operations to bring him back to life, seven at the very lease, and the brain surgery scene we saw was only the tip of the iceberg. But here’s the thing, if they took his skull off like that… why isn’t there a scar? There is no way they put the skin back on and completely avoided even the hair growing a little strange… unless they are saying that MCU medicine is just that good? It’s possible, they did bring a man back to life. Or maybe something more sinister is at work. It was pointed out that Let Me Die = LMD and Life Model Decoy = LMD. Coincidence?

There is still a lot more here they aren’t telling us but at least they gave us plenty to keep us satisfied for now.

Hopefully the improved quality of this episode is signs of better things to come in the future, but with the teasers pointing to being more about Skye and her background… ugh.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.This is what you call a slow simmer to a boil. But I don’t think the stew is quite ready yet. Though I bet it’s going to taste fantastic.

Metaphor aside, I realize I haven’t reviewed “Repairs” yet which was Episode 9. That’s nothing against the episode, it was just the last week of NaNo and I was in crunch mode, big time. I’ll review it during the hiatus. At the moment I want to talk about the mid-season finale.

The point of the mid-season finale is to give us a reason to come back in one (two-ish) months. “The Bridge” certainly did that. Not only do we not know what happened to Mike, but Coulson has been captured… in possibly the worst S.H.I.E.L.D. op in history.

Seriously, I know that they had the whole “no police or the kid gets it” kind of set up but this is freaking S.H.I.E.L.D., the fact that they waited to put the comms on, the satellite wasn’t already tasked, that they didn’t do something other than just sit in the van with one, ONE, sniper trained on the bag guys, and no one made the Helicopter, you know, the thing that can be heard for (well, it’s over water, so humid, plus echoing off the bridge) half a mile?

It just… I just… what? I know they are supposed to be a super team… but what? Sorry AOS, but your logistics really failed me on this one.

As for your story telling… it was pretty bland. It was all set up to get you to the bridge and the capture of Coulson. Even with a fight scene in there, it was too early and too straight forward to be very exciting. Then you have Skye’s constant whine and whatever the hell is going on with May now. They pulled out the “you don’t need to protect me since we’re sleeping together” trope with May and Ward and they tried to be clever about it, only to fall flat.

Even the capture of Coulson seemed a little too neat, but I think that might be on purpose. Coulson is a clever man and Mike is trying to be a good man. I have a feeling some of that was staged (it would explain the lousy op). At least I hope it was otherwise the scene literally played way too connect the dots to actually be interesting.

It seems though that we’ll actually get to find out what is going on with Coulson in the second half of the season, so, yay! Unless they’re just trolling us… one can never be too sure.

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Marvel's Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.I’m going to come out and say this is possibly the best episode yet.

I had really hoped the hype about the Thor tie-in wasn’t over-hyped, because you kinda knew it would be over-hyped, but, alas, the connection was very tenuous. In fact, they could have had this episode without the Thor 2 info-tie-in. But in a way, this was really a good thing because the show introduced its first non-canon Asgardian, a mason who got bored of breaking rocks after a few thousand years… that nearly defines perfect. 

I saw comments last week lambasting AOS because they weren’t bringing in ‘named’ characters like Arrow does. The fault in that logic is that Arrow brings in characters just to throw them away again like tissue paper. A ‘named’ character, like The Huntress, is treated as a plot device rather than a real character. Then later on when they realize their mistake, like with Deadshot, the character is haphazardly thrown around for ‘name value’ only. By AOS bringing in new characters it allows the show to be its own entity and give us a broader, much richer, environment outside the comics.

  • Pro – It’s easier for non-comic readers to enjoy the series as they don’t feel like they need a comic-encyclopedia.
  • Con – They have to make us feel invested in these new characters when we’re already invested in others.

It’s a tight rope, but if AOS can produce quality episodes like it did this time, then we’ll want to be invested in the new characters as well as the old.

A few other points, I do like the whole sequence in the beginging with Coulson wishing the Asgardians would send down the “God of Cleaning Up After One’s Self”… because, yeah, London, New York, these places got ripped up pretty bad and of course the heroes don’t help clean up (except maybe Chris EvansCaptain America). I really want to see an episode just about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s legal department after one of these events. Especially the department which deal with the outfit’s liability insurance. 

We also get a look into Ward’s tortured (of course) past, but it’s not played up like I thought they would. They avoided many of the obvious cliches, but unlike the previous episode, they didn’t seem to constantly default to the polar opposite of said cliche. He dealt with his exposure to the Berserker Staff like a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent of his caliber would… and of course May totally outdid him. And then, in something that was refreshingly realistic, Ward follows May into her room, rather than Skye, because, let’s face it, May is someone who can actually connect to him and understand his pain as a soldier. Skye, all she does it talk like a neo-hippy. 

The show still has its issues but seems to be working through its growing pains. I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more interconnection in the back half of the season, esp if they focus less on Skye and more on the team as a whole. If they can also get Jonathan Franks back directing, more the better, cause he’s a really good director and the quality of this episode compared to some previous ones definitely shows how good he is.

Next episode seems to involve poltergeists… should be fun. 

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Let’s all have a moment of silence for the sandwich.

The latest episode of AOS is called “The Hub” because the team goes to The Hub which is a central location for S.H.I.E.L.D. ops. We also meet Victoria Hand from the comics and Agent Sitwell from the Item 47 short film. We get to see an ops room, some hallways… but that’s it. There is talk of a lot of cool things, places like tech/research levels, etc, but all we get to see is basic white walls. Other than the fact that the team gets their next mission while being at the The Hub and Skye uses the visit as a chance to find out about her parents… it’s pretty much just background noise for what, essentially, is a trust exercise.

Victoria sends Ward and Fitz on a mission with no extraction plan because they didn’t have the resources… even though the rest of the team is doing nothing, at all. Then they are able to extract Ward and Fitz fairly easily with very little notice (and apparently that plane is super fast). The whole situation makes no sense unless Victoria was specifically trying to see what Coulson and/or his team would do. Coulson trusted ‘the system’, Skye didn’t (surprise?). Then the whole anti-trust/hacking-into-the-system discussion is just dropped, sorta, the episode ends without letting us know if Victoria was really testing them (her smile suggests it but that is all). It’s one of those storylines that needs a payoff or else it’ll become a glaring plot hole to nitpick at later.

Speaking of pay-off, we continue to get trolled about Coulson. It seems ‘it’s a magical place’ is some kind of hypnotic response to the mention of Tahiti. Apparently he’s also not allowed to look at his own health records. I have a feeling we’ll get the pay off on this one at the mid-season break, it was something they likely planned in case they didn’t get their back nine. Okay, that’s how I would have played it.

The episodes are picking up, Skye is given the B-plots now and we’re seeing more of the other characters… but it almost seems formulaic. Last episode was Simmons. This one was Fitz. Next looks to be Ward. If the one after that is May then it literally is count-by-numbers character development. And while the plots have been used for character development, this episode was pretty much the ‘anti-cliche’. It felt like every time a situation came up they would automatically choose the exact opposite of the stereotype, which, is kinda just as bad because it doesn’t allow for the anti-symmetry of life. Sometimes we are the cliche, sometimes we surprise you… they tried to do this here but it just kinda came off as very safe.

But all in all, it’s still a good episode, they are working towards finding their niche… and unfortunately destroying awesome sounding sandwiches.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Fitz SimmonsWith this latest episode, AOS takes great strides towards getting there.

One of the banes of the last five episodes is that they where pretty much about Skye and we got no character development from the rest of the group. In FZZT we get some much needed time with Fitz and Simmons, the resident geeks. We learn more about their back story and their strange relationship. There is a lot of love there, and you almost want to ship them as a couple, but they play very well as siblings. I’m honestly not sure if ‘sibling’ was supposed to be the vibe or if they are just that clueless about each other. They definitely have more chemistry than Ward and Skye.

There were some problems with the episode and a lot of that had to do with the speechifying. Ward is especially bad at just stating his emotions/thoughts rather than showing us. Also, as powerful as the scene was with Coulson comforting the dying man, I felt that there was too much inaction. Usually in shows/comics like this, there is more “we have to do something” and less “so yeah, let’s just stand out of the blast zone”. It’s like no one cared that this man was going to die other than “we should comfort him” when they should have been “hey, maybe we should try to save him”.

Then there was the jarring  cut scene between Ward’s rescue and Coulson’s rant. On a technical spectrum, it wasn’t the best put together episode and I have a feeling a lot was cut.

But what FZZT did right, it did exceptionally well. Once I got past the ‘why isn’t anyone doing anything’ when Coulson spoke to the dying man, it was a fairly powerful moment. Coulson died, he knows something isn’t right about that, and it’s slowly eating at him. The show is seriously trolling us, but so far it hasn’t reached LOST level trolling. It’s still the delicious level of trolling. Then we have Coulson’s discussion with May at the end… there is a lot of pain there, and you can feel it.

Also, in contrast to what I said earlier, I loved the level of inaction in this episode when it came to the team dynamics. Most often in these situations, the non-scientist gets sick and the scientist has to save them, this way everyone is doing something. The non-scientist is ‘being sick’ while the scientist goes around solving the problem. But here, the scientist is the one who is sick and is trying to find the cure. All anyone else can do is literally stand around. It’s a painful situation to be in (and Ward got a little speechy about that) but it was extremely accurate. You can identify with the team moreso here than at any other time I would wager.

And the moment Coulson realizes that Simmons is infected, your heart literally sinks.

This is the kind of emotional jockeying that we’ve been expecting and it paid out in spades here. Let’s hope that Skye’s plot line has been shelves for now and move on to some of these more juicier bits.

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Marvel's Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.And now we discover how AOS will be getting around the no-mutant legal gag that has been put on the MCU… and I kinda like it.

Step One, find a new name. Chan is a pyrokinetic and they couldn’t use Pyro, Match, Human Torch, or any of the already taken names. So they call him Scorch… which works, all thing considered.

Step Two, don’t explain why he’s a pyro, at least not completely. They make an off comment that could explain why he’s a pyro (he lived next to a nuclear plant that went kablooey) but they don’t really make it concrete. In fact, later on, one of them states they really aren’t sure how he’s a pryo.

Step Three, just run with it.

I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more of these base-set powered ‘gifted’ humans. PK, TK, TP, etc, these are all powers that can’t be copyrighted so they will use them, hopefully, in the same manner above. This means that we can explore some of the plot lines seen in the comics (just with out known mutant characters) and if the fates love us then if we get a merge of Marvel and Fox (or even more unlikely, Marvel gets the license back) then they can slot in mutants as if they were always there.

Yes, this is me wishful thinking… what?

As for the story itself, I’m really getting tired of Skye. Finally got my ‘twist’ and it’s just another big trope. I still want to know more about the rest of the team, especially this interesting relationship between Coulson and May. And just Coulson in general… something is wrong with him but what?!?! And they get rid of one evil doctor and bring in another shadowy bad guy? They are really keeping us in the dark on this, I hope they don’t try to go too LOST on us.

I think the best part though is I do like the little moments, there are a lot of them and they are pretty fun. When Coulson and May hear that Scorch has a moniker now… the look on their faces are priceless. There is a fun factor here that really makes the show an enjoyable watch.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.As much as I’m digging the comic book vibe, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. mustn’t forget they are a still a live action tv series. There is no way Ward kept from looking at his hands (especially while driving) or avoided all reflective surfaces for that long of a time. If you’ve read my Arrow reviews, then you know logistics fubars like this really annoy me. Thankfully, this isn’t Arrow, it is edging there, but only just.

The issues I have with AOS lay in the oversimplified dialogue, i.e. restating what’s previously been said and verbally stating the themes. Thankfully, unlike Arrow, AOS hasn’t gone so far as to completely speechify everything, were way too much screen time is used to show a character droning on about whatever deep point the writers feel they need to make.

Also, AOS isn’t taking itself so seriously. The problem with the ‘dark, gritty’ theme is that it leaves no real room for anything else. Everything has to be so serious and existential… which gets really old, really quick. AOS is keeping the adventure theme which offers a lot more latitude. It can be funny, it can be dramatic, it can be thoughtful, it can be insane, or it can be dark. That’s what AOS is bringing to the table, a much broader sense of the universe which doesn’t have to fit in a mold.

In this episode, the action (still with awesome productive values btw), the comedy, the intrigue, and a good dose of comic book adventure, makes up for the visual fubar, relegating it to just an annoyance rather than a glaring pain. The guest character also wasn’t there as fodder, and the little touch at the end in her cell seals an emotional connection with her. The intrigue is neither bluntly tossed around nor is it insanely over-complicated.

I didn’t mean for this review to become an Arrow vs AOS (DC vs Marvel) but these points needed to be made. If AOS could just fix the dialogue then this series would be near perfect. Well, I could at least forgive the logistic issues.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Agent MayCalled it!

via Marvel

ABC has picked up new hit drama “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” for a full season, it was announced today by Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group.

The series opened as TV’s highest-rated drama debut in nearly 4 years (since 11/03/09) and ranks as the No. 1 new show of the 2013-14 season among Adults 18-49 (4.0 Live + Same Day rating/5.7 Live + 3 Day rating). On average, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is No. 1 in its Tuesday, 8 o’clock time period, and has more than doubled the young adult delivery in the hour year-to-year (+150%).

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz and Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons.

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Marvel’s first television series, was co-created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen (“Dollhouse,” “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”), who also serve as executive producers along with Jeph Loeb (“Smallville,” “Lost,” “Heroes”) and Jeffrey Bell (“Angel,” “Alias”). “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television, and is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Last week I talked about how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ratings dropped in its second episode but it wasn’t anything to worry about. Ratings dropped again on Tuesday, Oct 8th, but the whole night seemed to have crashed a bit.

Ep 1 – 4.7/14 rating/share – 12.12mil viewers
Ep 2 – 3.3/10 ratings/share – 8.66mil viewers
Ep 3 – 2.9/9 ratings/share – 7.87mil viewers

That’s a drop of .4 points, but heavy hitter NCIS only came in with a 2.8/9 rating share. Okay, so AOS only beat them by .1 of a point, but considering just how big of a series NCIS is, I’m sure ABC is calling that a win. AOS was also just shy of being #1 for the night as NBC’s The Voice came in at 3.0/9.

So yeah, context is important when it comes to the ratings, and so far it’s looking good. I’m positive we’ll get a back nine, and it’s looking good for a renewal.

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Agents_of_SHIELD_logoOh, now they’re just trolling us.

Coulson: You forget – I saw plenty of action with the Avengers. [walks away]
May: And you died.

Followed up later by…

Coulson: Should just be muscle memory.

Totally trolling us with what really happened on the Helicarrier. It screams Life Model Decoy, but would that be too obvious? But what other option is there? In theory, it shouldn’t be long before we find out.

As for the rest of the episode, this show has started to gain a dual personality much like fellow ABC series Once Upon A Time. The stuff with Ward and Skye is pretty lame, obvious, harsh on the dialogue. The stuff with Coulson…  OMG, freaking brilliant!

Every moment in the Ward/Skye/Training story line you could see the next piece in line. It was laid out like a high school drama play and predictable at every step. There was the occasional cute comment, but for the most part, it was where the episode dragged the most. The writers continue to flux with Skye’s seemingly questionable loyalties but it’s nothing new, nothing fresh, and it was predictable. No way she was going to turn on the team this quickly and not for that reason. Still no chemistry between Ward and Skye as well.

But then we get to Coulson’s plot arc. Only Coulson would just wear a suit to an infiltration like that. I mean, he doesn’t put on a flack vest, he doesn’t even strip to a t-shirt. Nope, just wearing the suit cause he’s classy like that. Then when he confronts the scientist, Dr. Hall, the whole scene with the rotating gravity was spectacularly well done for a tv-budget.  And his decision at the end, to sacrifice the man who was sacrificing himself. It was cold, it was calculating, and was probably the right thing to do. I literally sat up and said a few choice unrepeatable words.  This is the kind of thing we want to see more of in this show. The soft underbelly, the moralist existentialism. Basically, the stuff we’ve come to know from Whedon. I hope this is just the beginning.

Speaking of beginnings… yeah, way to go creating a super-villain there Coulson… couldn’t be more proud.

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