Saturday, September 28, 2013

Don't Yield, Back Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

While thinking about the show after watching the premiere episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD on Tuesday night, I found an unusual question coming to mind:  Would my dad have liked this show?
While it is definitely a product of the twenty-first century, there's somewhat of a 1960's vibe to the show.  It evokes not only the old Jim Steranko Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD comics, but the original TV version of Mission: Impossible as well.  Mission: Impossible is a show that I remember my dad liking, thus inspiring the question in the previous paragraph.
Like Mission: Impossible, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD focuses on an elite, autonomous squad of agents, each with their own specialty, who take on the most dangerous and difficult assignments.  So far, with only one episode aired, these agents are more stereotypes or archetypes than fully rounded characters.  I expect they'll be developed further as the series progresses.  However, it does seem as if Agents of SHIELD is going to be primarily a plot driven series, with the emphasis on action and high tech gadgetry over characterization.  This is something else it has in common with Mission: Impossible, not to mention those old Steranko comics.
That's not necessarily a bad thing.  If the action is fast paced and exciting and the gadgetry impressive enough, a certain lack of attention to characterization can be forgiven up to a point.  The initial installment suffers a bit from being a pilot episode and having to set up the premise of the series and introduce the characters while also trying to squeeze in a story, the potential is indeed there for Agents of SHIELD to develop into one of TV's best action/adventure series.
One thing that Agents of SHIELD has that Mission: Impossible lacked, but that is a trademark of series creator Joss Whedon, is a sense of humor.  The most oft quoted one-liner of the pilot is Skye's twist on Spider-Man's famous catchphrase when she tells nascent super-hero Mike Peterson that "With great power comes...a whole bunch of weird crap that you are not prepared to deal with."  My favorite line, however, comes from Agent Ward.  While being debriefed by Director Maria Hill, he is asked what SHIELD stands for.  After he gives the correct answer, which, by the way is Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, Hill asks him what that means to him.  He replies that "...someone really wanted our name to spell out SHIELD."
So, to answer my own question from the beginning of this post, I think the answer is yes, my dad might just enjoy Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.   True, being set in the same universe as many of the Marvel super-hero films gives Agents of SHIELD  more of a fantasy/science fiction feel than a lot of spy dramas, such as Mission: Impossible.   However, I also remember my dad liking Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which was flat out science fiction, so I don't think those elements would bother him so much.
Oh, and just in case you care, I happen to like the show, too. 

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