Agents of SHIELD – Awesome For A Different Reason

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Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on its own, is a good television series.  If you haven’t watched it, (and based on the ratings a lot you haven’t or aren’t), it covers a diverse set of characters that are part of the Marvel universe’s ultra-secret spy agency SHEILD.  If you’ve not heard of SHIELD, you must have missed the Iron Man films, Thor, the latest Captain America flick, and the Avengers and really have no business looking at my blog.  Shame on you! Even my wife saw the Avengers.

I like the show on its own.  The series has some elements of the X-Files in some episodes, as the team tracked down strange anomalies and contained them.  There were some bigger plot themes – the mysterious Clairvoyant which seemed to be waging a covert war against SHIELD, as well as “how in the hell did Agent Colson die in the Avengers and come back?”

The characters started out rather lackluster – but that’s typical for a series in its growth stages.  The pacing of episodes was pretty fast.  The storylines were downright engaging.  My wife, who hates action series of movies and is lukewarm (at best) about anything related to comic books, really enjoys the show.  We even had Samuel L. Jackson appear as Director Nick Fury and Stan Lee made a cameo.  Come on, this is pretty cool.

I’m a comic book reader and I know a lot of purists (aka True Believers) see the show as weak and not entirely true to the Marvel Universe.  I understand their angst.  But at the risk of isolating myself from my fellow geeks, let me say that this show is doing something that no other series has done – it is effectively filling the gaps between the Marvel movies.  It is a crossing mediums and adding onto the larger storylines.  Not only are the Marvel films all interconnected, they are directly tied to the series.  So after Thor trashed England in The Dark World, we had the SHIELD team there the following week cleaning up the mess.  We’ve seen Asgardian characters show up for stand-alone episodes.

Most recently, with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where we saw SHEILD implode on the big screen, we saw the direct impact of those events on the series.  Agents of SHIELD has morphed in the last three weeks, it’s characters caught up in the Hydra vs. SHIELD conflict.  Things have changed between the characters.  Some, like Agent Ward, are emerging as a more dangerous threat to the team.  He’s much better at being evil than he ever was when he was fighting with SHIELD.  He’s emerging not just as a muscle-character, but a true spy working in deception.  And Bill Paxton – fantastic casting choice.

We have never seen a television series directly tied to a broader media universe like this – constantly feeding us as viewers with more story depth.

This is proof positive that Marvel understands how to mange intellectual properties.  Warner Brothers is decades behind them with their DC properties.  They only seem to score successes on the WB TV network, and, let’s face it, it’s the WB so how good can it be?

We’re in that season where they decide the fate of TV series, where the cancellation axe is wielded with wild abandon.  With 2015 bringing us Avengers 2 – I say to ABC/Evil Disney Empire – “PLEASE keep Agents of SHIELD on the air.  You’re breaking new ground and it will take time to build a good following.”

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