Thursday, 26 September 2013

S.H.I.E.L.D.S. U.P.

Tuesday night saw the debut of the much anticipated TV series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. As expected, it garnered a lot of viewership.

Set in the Marvel universe, the show is focusing exclusively (for now) on the CIA-like S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, and plays off the of the popularity of Agent Coulson's character from previous Marvel movies.

Since we're nerdy enough to have read some comic books and watched many of the Marvel movies, my wife and I watched the series, to see what the hype is about. I know many of my other nerdy friends likely watched the show, too :)

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After watching the premiere episode, here are my thoughts and first impressions.

1. Polished - The series obviously has a large budget, and the whole aesthetic is extremely polished. The world has that unusually clean look about it, including the characters, machinery, and settings. You can tell that the powers that be have put in a lot of their chips into this bet.

This look does bother me a big, since the real world, even in fantasy, is a lot dirtier and gritty than what we were shown. Everything was just too pristine and sparkly. A little more realism, please.

2. Beautiful People Syndrome - The one thing that bugged me was that almost every character was cast from a modelling agency's catalogue. Looking at the IMDB entries on most of the lead actors, it seems most of them don't have a lot of experience. From watching their stiff performances, I can see why.

Obviously not cast for his looks. 

We know Hollywood loves to cast beautiful people quite often, but many good TV series will cast fairly regular looking people. This series? Ugly people just don't exist in the Marvel universe, apparently.

This is after she ran a 30-hour marathon.

The worst example of this is the character of 'Skye' (pictured), the computer hacker who helps out S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first episode.

This character lives in a tiny little van with no bathroom, and yet her makeup is *always* flawlessly smooth, her clothes are fashionable and well ironed, and she never has a hair out of place?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

The only character who doesn't look like a model is one of the nerdy, male scientists. Even the female scientist is impossibly hot.

This isn't enough to make me not watch a series, but it does just make me shake my head in disbelief. Such lazy casting.

3. Debut Expectations - Like most any show's debut, the writers try to shoehorn so many things into an hour of TV. The introduction of characters is done quite hastily, and there isn't a whole lot of deep character building.

I can't hold that against the writers, though, as they need to capture the attention of the masses and get all of the characters known to the audience. I expect most debuts to feel rushed, safe, and a bit hokey.

4. Agent Coulson - Why in the hell is he so smiley? His character jokes a lot more than I remember, and just seems a lot different from what I expected, and a bit 'off'. Maybe it's because of his 'death'?

I do like the snarky version of Coulson, though, and appreciate that he's not just another humourless FBI-drone. He's not nearly as bland as the pretty boy agent.

5. Intriguing - At least the debut episode is enough to get us invested in watching more of the series. Given that this is a Marvel vehicle, they are bound to get more leeway than most.

I like the idea of this shadow organization trying to create superheroes, expose the government (shades of the real world NSA), and potential of other Marvel universe plotlines to enter the series. There were a lot of names dropped, so there is a lot that could happen.

Until Game of Thrones and/or Sherlock are back, this is likely our series of choice in the near-term.