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

I’m beginning to see rumblings going around the Net of disappointment in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m beginning to sympathize with the rumblers.

Cora Buhlert calls out some race and gender fail in the show here, and has a followup post here. Likewise, James Nicoll has a big discussion on race fail in the show here on his LJ.

And Dara’s got strong opinions on the politics of the show over here.

Likewise, I saw two different critiques pop up on the Whedonesque blog. and have disappointed reviews, and meanwhile, the aforementioned Cora links off to’s thoughts on how the show could be fixed.

Me, I’m just a bit sad that something with Whedon’s name on it so far is just completely failing to grab me. Just about all the critiques I’m seeing aired are ones I’m agreeing with. I find the cast mostly really bland, even Coulson–and I’m sad to have to say that given how awesome Coulson is in the movies. But he’s only occasionally gotten interesting in the episodes that have aired so far. Telling us with big stone hints that OH HEY LOOK SOMETHING MYSTERIOUS HAPPENED TO COULSON is feeble characterization. I liked it much better when we saw Coulson’s frustration at having lost his skill at the quick draw. That was a tantalizing little bit of characterization, showing us his actual reaction to what’s happened to him, rather than trying to drop anvil-sized hints on our heads.

No one else in the cast is impressing me yet, either. Particularly Agent Ward, who Dara dubbed Agent Truthserum. And really, that’s about the only really interesting thing he’s done so far. About all I can say about his characterization is that he’s gotten slightly less assholish in five episodes. But this is not enough to get me on board with his character.

I’d like to like Agent May, since she seems to have the greatest concentration of clues–except that so far she has no interesting characterization beyond “stereotypical female badass”.

Likewise, I’d like to like the nerd duo–except that they have no interesting characteristics either. And in fact, they’ve been specifically set up to be so interchangeable that their own teammates have trouble thinking of them as individuals. Instead, they’re “Fitzsimmons”. Because it ain’t like the brains on the team need to be interesting characters above and beyond spouting nerdy technobabble.

And I’d like to like Skye, of course. She at least has had glimmers of character development, and she’s been generally entertainingly competent by comparison to the others in the cast. And I did like the reveal of her motives in the last episode that aired, at least a bit.

But after seeing what Dara’s pointed out about where the show’s going with its politics, and seeing the trend of problematic treatment of the PoC guest characters… well. I don’t have much time for TV as it is, and I especially don’t have time for TV that’s got too much fail in too many ways.

Just sayin’, S.H.I.E.L.D. I’d like to stick around. Get your shit together, won’t you? Thank you.

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