In Defense of… Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Not everyone sees eye-to-eye. You might love something that’s reviled by most others. When we at PoP! feel like that, we make an argument In Defense of…

Agent Coulson shows off his new iPad.

I’m tired of hearing all the same complaints. “The plot is moving too slowly.” “[Insert character here] is annoying.” “Where are the Avengers?” If you had told me a year ago I’d be writing an article defending Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I would’ve said you were crazy. Yet here we are, Internet. After I’m entertained by each new episode, I go online only to find people bitching about it, and it’s getting tiresome.

AoS had an uphill battle right out of the gate, having to live up to huge expectations by fans thinking it would immediately be the Greatest Show Ever. But with all but one of the main characters being brand new, some world-building was required. Actually, world-building isn’t quite right. The world of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe was already pretty well established. Character-building would be a better term. And even Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson wasn’t that fully developed in the films, being as much a plot point as a character. And you know what it takes to get an audience to really care about a show’s characters? Time. I’ll admit, AoS took a little time to find its feet; some of the first episodes are a little clunky. Now we’re a little more than halfway through the first season, and I think it’s improved greatly.

When it debuted, the big question was how was Coulson alive after the events of The Avengers. Now that that’s out of the way, we can get to the meaty stuff of him having to deal with the repercussions of his resurrection. (It’s nice to see Gregg get to occasionally set aside the snark and show off his acting chops, as anyone who’s seen Joss Whedon’s film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing can attest.) Just when the questions surrounding Skye’s past started to drag, things took an interesting turn upon the reveal that S.H.I.E.L.D. classified her from birth as an “0-8-4,” or object of unknown origins. The sexual liaisons of May and Ward came out of left field, but makes sense given what the characters have been through and will hopefully delay what seems like an inevitable Ward/Skye pairing. When Simmons was going to sacrifice herself to save the team, I actually believed she was being killed off and started to get bummed out. (Thankfully she’s still around, because any time Elizabeth Henstridge gets to do “Simmons attempting to be sneaky” she’s both comedic gold and totes adorable.)

On the road to Deathlok.

The future looks even brighter. J. August Richard’s Mike Peterson has been revealed as becoming this universe’s version of Deathlok thanks to the mysterious Centipede organization. Speaking of Centipede, they’ll benefit greatly now that David Conrad’s smarmy Ian Quinn is their mouthpiece. (Is it too obvious a guess that the Clairvoyant will be revealed as Marvin “Mentallo” Flumm, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned super-villain in the comics?) Jaime Alexander is set to reprise her role as Sif from the Thor films in what should have been the tie-in from Thor: The Dark World. (If CBS will let Colbie Smothers away from How I Met Your Mother to guest as Maria Hill, is it too much to as for Kat Dennings’s Darcy to make a cameo? Just imagine a scene between her and May.) Bill Paxton will be guesting as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent John Garrett, who’s cybernetic in the comics and could play a part here in the Deathlok story, and Saffron Burrows is welcome back any time as Victoria Hand. The seeds have been planted for super-villains Graviton and Blizzard, and Peter MacNicol’s Asgardian Dr. Randolph is still out there too. And a tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been all but confirmed. (I know Cap and Widow are too much to ask for, but Anthony Mackie’s Falcon on the other hand…) Heck, they managed to wrangle Sam Jackson for a Nick Fury cameo, so anything is possible. (Pairings I’d love to see: Widow/Fitz, Hawkeye/May, Banner/Fitz/Simmons, Stark/everyone) It would be great to see the reverse, too. I know I’d love to see any of the cast show up in a quick cameo in one of Marvel’s feature films. I’m hopeful there will come the time I won’t even need to defend the series anymore. Then I’d be content to merely say “I told you so.”

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Who ARE these people!?

As one of the co-founders of Panels on Pages, Robert Eddleman will happily read any comic that catches his interest, regardless of publisher. Aside from comics and PoP!, his other passions include worshipping Joss Whedon, getting lost in TV Tropes, and watching muscled men hit each other with folding chairs.

Comments (2)

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  1. matweller says:

    I concur. I would say the same for Arrow too. Very few shows hit a home run out of the gate. Generally they suffer from rough acting (have you re-watched the pilot for BSG lately) or writers fining their path (*coughLOSTcough*) or both (try watching some 1st season XFiles).

    I’m not going to say it would ruin my life if AoS or Arrow disappeared forever, but they’re here, I DVR them, and they’re solidly done and worth watching.

  2. budpaul says:

    People seem to forget that both Angel and Buffy were slow out of the gate as they found their footing. This is just another example.

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