Agents of SHIELD Review
What a difference the best Marvel movie can make...
Despite being an extremely hot property, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got off to a terrible start, losing many of its viewers within the first few episodes, and only keeping the rest out of a loyalty to all things Marvel.Since it kick-started as one of the highest rated shows, there were initially no real concerns about the fans it lost along the way, and, even several episodes in, things did not appear to change. The show was plagued by a stilted cast of newcomer characters who were not yet accustomed to their roles; moderately witty Whedon-inspired dialogue that still didn’t live up to the genuine article; and lacklustre super-event-of-the-week plotting which got tiring pretty damn quickly.Coming off the back of the events of Iron Man 3, and taking place concurrently with the rest of the Phase 2 chapters, Agents had all the opportunities to be one of the best shows on TV, acting as a side-dish to the main courses served throughout 2013 and 2014. But it wasn’t. It was a disappointment.
Then something changed.
It’s difficult to know precisely when it happened. Episode 6 was a change in tack, actually starting to put characters in genuine jeopardy, and developing their personalities along the way, although it wasn’t until the turning point at Episode 10 when things started to get consistently good. But that’s not actually the best news. The best news, particularly for those who struggled past the first four or five episodes, and enjoyed the rest of the way up to the middle of the season, is where things start to interact with the events in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
There’s no doubt that those who watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. up to the release of Winter Soldier – in order – and then watched the feature film, and returned to the series immediately after, would have had the best possible experience of Agents. But, for those who watched Winter Soldier first (as is certainly the preferred option over vice versa), there’s no doubt that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – by its very name – is dramatically affected by how things unfold, and suddenly becomes compelling, practically unmissable, viewing for Marvel fans.
Turning off some viewers along the way, it finally earned its stripes as a worthy – and even sometimes integral – part of the Marvel Universe.
It’s difficult to know what went wrong at the start of Marvel’s flagship TV series, which was supposed to seamlessly compliment the feature films in Phase 2 of its Marvel Cinematic Universe cycle, but, particularly for those who gave up after just a few episodes (it isn’t unreasonable to expect a show to have hooked you after its first 4 or 5 episodes), you should seriously reconsider that decision. A slow starter, Agents is now an integral part of the Marvel Universe – its characters, character-arcs, interaction with the MCU, scripting, and stories now more worthy of the Marvel label. It just took a while to get there. Let’s hope that Season 2 keeps things up.
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