More Thoughts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I’m clearly not the only one who has issues with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Dara of Crime and the Forces of Evil also has issues with the politics of S.H.I.E.L.D. and particularly the fact that the show expects us to sympathize with a clandestine organisation dedicated to keeping things secret for our own good. We’ve also been having a good discussion in the comments to my last S.H.I.E.L.D. post.

James Nicoll points out the continuing race fail of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D at his livejournal.

At the neatly named Entertainment Geekly blog at the Entertainment Weekly site, Darren Franich offers his take on how to fix Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. A couple of good ideas there and many bad ones. As for S.H.I.E.L.D. being revealed as the bad guys, actually that would excuse a lot of the problems I have with the show. Though I don’t think they are that clever.

One of the things that most annoys me about current pop cultural criticism is the insistence that everything should be more like the new Battlestar Galactica or The Walking Dead or whatever the cool genre show of the moment is. Look, I can’t stand The Walking Dead and hate the new Battlestar Galactica with a passion, since it took a favourite from my childhood and totally destroyed it. You know all these people who whine that George Lucas raped their childhood when he made the Star Wars prequels? Well, Ron D. Moore raped mine. And also please stop holding up Breaking Bad as a model for everything that’s good in television. Breaking Bad was a horrible show about a despicable person, so please stop extolling the virtues of a show that tried to make its audience sympathize with a fucking drug dealer.

It’s the whole grimdark thing again. Yes, I understand that grimdark is popular and that some people believe it is deep and meaningful. But not everything needs to be grimdark. You know which TV shows I like best? The much despised “procedurals” (which used to mean “a show focussing on the process of police work” and now seems to mean any show that isn’t grimdark and doesn’t disappear up its own backside into convoluted arc plots) with likeable characters doing stuff like solving crimes or sometimes (e.g. Hustle or Leverage) committing them. Agents of S.H.I.E.l.D could have worked just fine as a lighthearted show about likable characters dealing with supernatural and superheroic occurences. Only that the characters are bland and the antagonists so very problematic.

Jim Steranko, creator of the psychedelic S.H.I.E.L.D. comic of the 1960s, is not pleased with the TV series either. Again, his solutions would be worse than the problems with the show and result in some sort of ugly grimdark superpowered take on 24.

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