Agents of SHIELD: stay tuned for Samuel L. Jackson

It's very familiar, it's way over the top, but it's pretty entertaining. Photo:

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 8, 2013 — The Avengers movies have been some of the most popular, and top grossing films in recent memory. Even Iron Man 2, which was not among the best, turned a tidy profit.

Now, with Thor: Dark of the World coming to theaters in November, and Captain America: Winter Soldier following not long after, the studio has come to the conclusion that one or two movies a year is not enough.

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The result is Agents of SHIELD on ABC.

Agents of SHIELD cannot be described as anything other than a filler, something to distract you while the latest Marvel adaptation simmers on the stove top in preparation for its release.

Our favorite non-super power endowed mortal from The Avengers movies, Agent Coleson, returns as the head of a small but elite team of agents who hunt down artifacts and individuals under the authority of a giant international treaty which grants them the right to do so.

Their mission is to identify and contain any potentially dangerous material such as left over Hydra weaponry from the movies, and other objects which they deem too dangerous to “fall into the wrong hands.”

ALERT: Spoilers follow.

While this show has a cool concept in introducing us to the group in charge of protecting the world from falling into chaos, the follow through is a little cliché. If you loved the movies, you want this show to be good. You like Agent Coleson, and there are plenty of attractive, and sometimes lethal, women.

But it’s done in a manner that leaves you thinking that you’ve been there before, and you’re stuck inside the Matrix.

The concept of a team of highly skilled individuals gallivanting around the World to counter threats in an episodic, almost procedural manner has been overplayed in movies and television. This show is Warehouse 13 meets Men in Black meets Supernatural, with dozens of other references cooked into the brew.

Alas, this is a well-traveled path.

You can do a show that others have done well before. Unfortunately in The Avengers too many things seem to be more of the same, and done poorly. There is so much needless technical jargon and so many references to old missions and partners that you quite literally feel that you are trapped in Hollywood manufactured déjà vu.

The characters fall very neatly into dramatic tropes: the leader, the reluctant warrior, the lone wolf who has to watch over noncombatants, the outsider, and the nerds. They women, and some men, are all are gorgeous with flowing hair, impeccable manicures and styling, which in a show about aliens and magical weaponry gives it the feel of The Vampire Diaries rather than The Avengers.

The action is unnecessary. The constant flips and summersaults cause one to point and say “right there, that’s where he would have gotten shot.” The unnecessary cocking of guns, overly dramatic karate moves, and terrible, terrible one liners abound. The dialogue matches the action, clichéd and filled with implausible jargon.

It’s like “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” with Geordi performing a “level-three diagnostic” in every episode.

The show needs to simplify. Instead of calling an unidentified object they are going after an “O-84”, call it “the device” or something not as robotic. Trying to sound official in a TV show like this does not play well. The “lone wolf” character needs to cut his hair and they all need to stop summersaulting when a punch to the face is probably more effective.

Where the show does it right is with the nerds, the quintessential scientist brought out into the field story. There are three members of the team who are not combat oriented, and the two nerds are the best. They are pretty much rocket scientists and ridiculously talented engineers, and they are both British (English and Scottish respectively) so anything they say and do is amusing. The third non-combatant is a gorgeous hacker girl who may or may not be a spy, but for some reason it’s plausible that Agent Coleson or Col. Fury will say tada!

And they will have known the entire time. And yes Col. Fury is played by Samuel “L is for Let’s do this $h*t” Jackson. He has two minutes on camera and they are two of the best minutes on the show.

With all of that said, and despite the fact that it is in all probability just a way to market the rest of The Avengers movies, Agents of SHIELD provides a safe and entertaining (because of the nerds) Tuesday night show that isn’t crazy violent and is slightly reminiscent of the movies. Of course, since you will already be watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl, it leaves Agents of SHIELD to the DVR.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific/9 p.m. Central. 

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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a B.A. from Catholic University in DC in American History, with a concentration on guerrilla warfare on American soil. He has an M.A. in US History from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with a concentration on Cold War insurgency. He believes that all news and all information should be taken with a grain of salt, and implores people everywhere to seek news stories everywhere. 

Higgins is also a fervent believer in the traditional role of media, in terms of acting as a balanced check on government policies and individuals regardless of party affiliation. But in the end, he believes that no matter how heated an issue is, there is nothing that can't be discussed over a smoke and some whiskey. 

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