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  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    WOW! I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Way too "TV show."

    Here is the pitch - We're going to form a mixed gender team full of genius experts who all have specialties and are attractive, look like they are 19 to 26, and we'll give a couple of them accents. Throw in a beautiful 22 year old (they didn't actually mention her age) rebel expert hacker who is so good she can hack S.H.I.E.L.D. They'll ask her to join despite the fact that they can't find anything about her background. Everyone will use smart-ass humor and we'll put a couple of real adults in charge.


    I expected it to be smarter. Turns out you can literally visualize a bunch of Disney marketing executives sitting around a table writing the script . . . That is a little harsh. I am sure they just wrote the first draft, hired a writer, and gave a green light to the final draft.
    Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

  • #2
    I have to agree Looney, BUT this is the pilot episode. Even the best shows often have less than stellar pilots. I’m going to give it some time to grow before I pass judgement on the series.

    However, if I were to level any criticism at this episode I’d say the following:

    It was just trying way too hard to please.

    The trademark ‘funny / smartass’ Whedon dialogue left me pretty cold, in fact much of it came off really badly. That’s coming from a Buffy / Firefly fan too. The British / Scottish accents of the ‘geeky yet beautiful’ scientists grated on me. They seemed like they belonged in a modern a Dr. Who episode, or were at the very least modelled after that idea. Being British, it really gets to me.

    I almost showered my laptop in tea when agent Coulson’s car re-enacted the closing scene from ‘Back to the Future’. I laughed so much. It was so…cheesy.


    To me, it all felt a bit rushed and too compressed. It could have done with being a feature length episode to flesh things out. I have faith in Whedon’s ability, but Jeff Loeb is involved so that could water it down (anyone remember Heroes?! What a mess that was by the end). I’ll keep watching, but it does need to improve over the course of the next few episodes to hold my attention.
    Last edited by Ubik; 09-30-2013, 03:19 AM.
    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

    Kosh: Good!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ubik View Post
      The trademark ‘funny / smartass’ Whedon dialogue left me pretty cold, in fact much of it came off really badly.
      A disarming and snappy one liner can work brilliantly in the right situation, however, here I think it slipped from snappy to forced and contrived, like it was expected to be there, but whilst not actually needing to be.

      To me, it all felt a bit rushed and too compressed. It could have done with being a feature length episode
      Yes, exactly yes. It had a run time of 42 minutes, but you'd never tell. I think that it is time to get show back nearer the 50 minute mark, than nearer and nearer to the 35 minute mark. It's all starting to get to be a bit of a joke. How is a drama supposed to make any sense and build any real sense of adventure or excitement when you only have 42 minutes of actual screen time? An hour long drama runs for just over half an hour one one whole third of that hour is advertising time, and even worse, even more over the credit adverts at the end, whilst the show is still on.

      We get enough crap thrust down our throats between the segments of a programme, we don't need it during the show too!

      Apart from the advertising overload, It seemed to physically run short too, weird.
      Last edited by DGTWoodward; 09-30-2013, 03:38 AM.
      http://www.lddb.com/collection.php?a...er=dgtwoodward
      Yes, I still collect Laserdiscs!!
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      • #4
        Originally posted by DGTWoodward View Post
        Yes, exactly yes. It had a run time of 42 minutes, but you'd never tell. I think that it is time to get show back nearer the 50 minute mark, than nearer and nearer to the 35 minute mark. It's all starting to get to be a bit of a joke. How is a drama supposed to make any sense and build any real sense of adventure or excitement when you only have 42 minutes of actual screen time? An hour long drama runs for just over half an hour one one whole third of that hour is advertising time, and even worse, even more over the credit adverts at the end, whilst the show is still on.

        We get enough crap thrust down our throats between the segments of a programme, we don't need it during the show too!

        Apart from the advertising overload, It seemed to physically run short too, weird.
        Exactly. This is why I tend to love HBO shows so much. They get a full hour per episode. Can anyone imagine The Wire or Deadwood wrapping an episode in 42 minutes?
        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

        Kosh: Good!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ubik View Post
          It was just trying way too hard to please.

          THAT WAS THE PART I LEFT OUT ! ! !

          And I agree with all other assessments. They explain what I meant when I said it is "too TV show." I didn't explain that well enough and then you both did the work for me. Thank you!
          Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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          • #6
            It does have potential though, I'm happy to give it a good go.
            http://www.lddb.com/collection.php?a...er=dgtwoodward
            Yes, I still collect Laserdiscs!!
            47" Phillips 1080p 46" Samsung 1080p Toshiba HD-30E (2 both Multi Region) PS3-80G 120G BR Multi-Region Maidstone MD-BR-2102 Sky-HD Freesat-HD Pioneer DVL-909 CLD-D925 CLD-2950 (AC3) CLD-D515 CLD S315 Yamaha ADP-1 Meridian 519 Pioneer 609 (DD/DTS) x 2 Speakers & subs Jammo M/S Pioneer Technics Sony Eltax Akai Aiwa

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            • #7
              Oh yeah, definitely. I'll keep watching.
              Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

              Kosh: Good!

              Comment


              • #8
                I am going to keep watching, but I am not happy about it.
                Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                • #9
                  I fully expected that first episode would be mostly about establishing the series and would be slightly clunky. The show has potential. I will continue to watch, but its not in my top 10 at the moment.

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                  • #10
                    I enjoyed this second episode. Some good character development.

                    So far it's my only new 'appointment' show this season.

                    Jan
                    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                    • #11
                      I watched the second episode last night. It WAS an improvement on the first. I guess I have to get used to the tone of the show, i.e. very light and pretty silly. I was half expecting them to 'modify the van', it really did feel like an episode of the A-Team or something.

                      It will take a lot more to make me consider Agents of Shield anything other than silly throw away TV. BUT, I will wait and see how it develops.

                      I still want to throttle Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). As I said it probably grates on me more because I am British, but THAT ACCENT, and the plucky Brit attitude, it's... just... awful. Makes me grind my teeth whenever she opens her mouth.
                      Last edited by Ubik; 10-09-2013, 01:52 AM.
                      Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                      Kosh: Good!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've only seen the pilot thus far, but I'd say my biggest let down was that there didn't seem to be real chemistry among the cast. Everything felt just a little flat, and, I would agree, trying a little too hard at times. Since that chemistry rarely happens in a pilot, I'm certainly going to give it a chance.

                        The thing that draws me to TV procedurals is always the characters. For me, I want to like most of them, I want them to be interesting, and I want to see them grow, so the above concerns aren't trivial for me. It hasn't hooked me, but there is still a chance it might.

                        Looney and Ubik, as far as the basic premise goes, I'm not quite sure what you expected to be different.

                        1) For a drama, you are typically looking at an ensemble. You need multiple viewpoints and backgrounds to feed to stories in a (hopefully) multi-year run.

                        2) Your team needs to be the best and brightest. Who'd be interested in watching a group of mediocre agents? A group of bad agents would be comedy, not drama.

                        3) Beautiful people? American TV -- 'Nuff said.

                        4) You definitely need a good number of young characters. Their growth will fuel storylines, (plus young actors can be had for less money.) I will note, though, that one thrid are in the 50 year range. Ming Na is 49 and Clark Gregg is 51. Of course, I think Ming Na is the most attractive woman on the show, but then I'm past the half century mark myself.

                        5) You need an outsider to give a reason for exposition. The skills of the outsider have to be great to justify the risk of bringing them in. Potential conflict or a manifestation of danger as a result of the risk are, again, fuel to storylines.

                        So what of those elements would you change and what would you substitute? Given a procedural drama, how do you alternatively structure a series of weekly stories that can go on for at least 3 - 4 years (to produce enough episodes to strip in syndication?) It can be hard to convey in writing, but I don't mean the question to be at all snarky or critical. I'm really ineterested in your thoughts.

                        As for the flying car, that actually has a lot more to do with the comics, iinm. That along with the flying command centers that were replaced by the helicarrier are pretty much straight out of Marvel comics.
                        "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WorkerCaste View Post
                          Looney and Ubik, as far as the basic premise goes, I'm not quite sure what you expected to be different.

                          1) For a drama, you are typically looking at an ensemble. You need multiple viewpoints and backgrounds to feed to stories in a (hopefully) multi-year run.

                          2) Your team needs to be the best and brightest. Who'd be interested in watching a group of mediocre agents? A group of bad agents would be comedy, not drama.

                          3) Beautiful people? American TV -- 'Nuff said.

                          4) You definitely need a good number of young characters. Their growth will fuel storylines, (plus young actors can be had for less money.) I will note, though, that one thrid are in the 50 year range. Ming Na is 49 and Clark Gregg is 51. Of course, I think Ming Na is the most attractive woman on the show, but then I'm past the half century mark myself.

                          5) You need an outsider to give a reason for exposition. The skills of the outsider have to be great to justify the risk of bringing them in. Potential conflict or a manifestation of danger as a result of the risk are, again, fuel to storylines.

                          So what of those elements would you change and what would you substitute? Given a procedural drama, how do you alternatively structure a series of weekly stories that can go on for at least 3 - 4 years (to produce enough episodes to strip in syndication?) It can be hard to convey in writing, but I don't mean the question to be at all snarky or critical. I'm really ineterested in your thoughts.
                          How about changing every single one of those points, with the exception of keeping Clark Gregg and Ming Na (The "couple of real adults in charge" I mentioned earlier)? How about breaking all of those marketing rules? Two thirds of the ensemble could be made up of characters who look like they really are the best and brightest experts in their fields instead of looking like sophomores in college. People don't have to be young to grow and develop. I want originality and ingenuity not formulaic "procedural drama". I know all of those points make sense for mass marketing purposes, but they also make for a predictable and uninteresting product. I don't want cookie cutter assembly line characters who's actors were chosen because of their date of birth, their accent, their measurements, and their abs (-that is an Arrow jab). I want smart and engaging characters. I want quality entertainment, not quality formula. And I am never going to get what I want from a show like this because it is attached to a big marketing machine and that means it will never be more than eye candy with no depth. I was fully aware of this before I saw the show. I hoped I would be wrong and the show would be more than a formulaic procedural drama, but it is exactly that - shallow predictable eye candy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . All of that being said I did enjoy the 2nd episode much more than the pilot and I totally plan to keep watching. LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL Sorry I make myself laugh a LOT. Those LOLs are quite literal.
                          Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                          • #14
                            Looney, you crack me up. Your screen name befits you!

                            Okay… Here’s my two pence…

                            I don’t really have a problem with the procedural nature of the show, or the ‘beautiful people’ cast, or indeed their age. Some of the accents, maybe… but I’ll get over it! I feel I may have set my expectations a tad too high is all. The first two episodes just felt a bit cheap to me, and were far less serious in tone than I’d expected. Sure, I’d expected the token Whedon humour, but not the light hearted romp that the series has been thus far. I hope it will slowly build to more serious territory as it progresses, right now we are in the ‘forming’ phase for the cast and the show itself. We need to be attached to the characters before they can be thrust them into more dramatically interesting situations. And, that’s okay. I think it just needs a bit of time to grow.

                            Perhaps I was foolishly expecting ‘classic Whedon’ right from the go get. I mean, I should have known better, I thought Dollhouse was unwatchable trash until they hit their sixth episode, then it gradually improved. Admittedly, much of that had to do with the network enforced re-shoot of the original pilot, the original was so much better than what aired. The original pilot actually explained the premise in a believable manner and set a number of things in motion the revised pilot didn’t. When I finally saw the original pilot, I had an ‘ahhh’ moment, ‘…so that’s the show you wanted to make’. Case in point with Dollhouse, I initially I hated Topher as a character, but he ended up being my favourite by the time the second season concluded. It would have been great to see his arc play out in a more stately fashion. The end was so rushed! Anyhow, enough of my digressions…

                            I may yet warm to Agents of SHIELD, as I said, the second episode was an improvement on the pilot. So if that upward trend continues it should all be fine. I’ll check out the third episode soon, as I believe it already aired in the USA.
                            Last edited by Ubik; 10-09-2013, 02:54 PM. Reason: Gaaahhhh
                            Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                            Kosh: Good!

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                            • #15
                              Okay, third episode down... still not feeling it.

                              The 'funny' dialogue isn't funny, and STILL the only character I really like is Coulson. Fitz and Simmonds still make me want to punch them repeatedly. They're scientists but they talk like 12 year olds. It all comes off like a script writer trying too hard to do quirky / cute Whedon dialogue and failing miserably.

                              Sigh... I'll give it a few more episodes, but then I'm out.

                              Anyone else notice how 'Dollhouse-esque' this episode was? There are plenty of parallels between Skye and Echo. I'm also struggling to care about Skye, I had the same issue with Echo.

                              Actually, come to think of it, Fitz and Simmonds are like Topher, but a really sub par (not at all amusing) version.

                              I hope this show improves soon, cause they're losing me pretty fast right now.
                              Last edited by Ubik; 10-09-2013, 02:11 PM.
                              Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                              Kosh: Good!

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