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agents of s.h.i.e.l.d.


Open letter to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Dear cast and crew of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,

After seeing this interview linked to by userinfojames_nicoll, I’ve got to ask: seriously? Seriously? Did your lead actor just call those of us who’ve bailed on watching your show “not geeks”? And “losers”?

If so, I’d like to note that just in case you were wondering, this is not an effective strategy to get those of us who tried your show and bailed to come back and check you out again. I’M JUST SAYIN’.

Because look. I get the whole idea of “not all heroes are super”. I really do. I am coming at this out of general love for the universe that Marvel’s set up in the movies; I don’t have any particular history with Marvel comics outside a few years in my adolescence reading the X-Men, so I have no particular investment in whether specific characters out of the comics show up in your show. But specifically because of the affection I’ve built up for the portrayed universe in the movies, I wanted to like your show. I really did. I swear.

I didn’t bail because you had no superheros in your cast. I bailed because with the exception of Coulson and maybe Agent May, I didn’t like any of your main characters. And for the most part, I’m sorry to say, your stories just were not engaging me, and that’s not accounting for the parts where they were actively pissing me off.

This isn’t a question of me being impatient for stuff to happen, either. I also understand the notion of a show sometimes needing several episodes to get its feet under it. I gave Torchwood a good season and a half before I finally bailed on it–again with the primary reason being “not liking any of the characters”.

And I’m sorry, if I just don’t like your main cast, I don’t see much reason to be spending time hanging around hoping they’ll change my mind. What incidental other characters you bring in to drive the plots means very little to me if I’m not invested in your central cast and what happens to them.

Before you tell me I’m not patient enough either, I’ll point out that I hung in there through Babylon 5’s first season as it got its act together–because even though it was rough out of the gate, I was nonetheless engaged by the characters and the plots. Likewise with Castle. Castle was REALLY rough in its first short season, and Castle as a character had all SORTS of flaws. But he was engagingly flawed, enough to keep me watching.

I’m just not getting that with S.H.I.E.L.D.

I’d say I’m sorry if you think this makes me “not a real geek”, except I’m less sorry and more pissed off by that, too. If any of you have awareness of geek culture at all, you’ll be aware that geek women have been fighting against accusations of not being real geeks for too damn long as it is.

For the record, cracks like “those aren’t geeks, those are losers”?



Edited to add:

Other places reporting on this. I’m seeing in particular in those articles that Mr. Gregg appears to have realized that shooting his mouth off in this particular fashion is, shall we say, unwise. I’m glad he’s realized this, but still, I’m not pleased at the waffly tone of “I guess I don’t mean to say that people who have been frustrated by that discovery period are necessarily losers. I just think they should be, perhaps, a little more patient.”


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.