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Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (2013)

There's a certain kind of tenor to Whedon's writing that's unmistakably his, and that works both for him and against him in this show. On the one hand, the stories so far have ranged from average to great, and the overall pacing of the show is incredibly solid - the right balance of action vs dialogue, plot vs character development, etc. On the other hand, the actual dialogue and script writing feels pretty contrived and in that familiar "Whedon voice" as opposed to the characters having any voice of their own merit, and most attempts to create character depth or the larger plot arc depth suffers from such familiar tropes and clichés that it's difficult to feel invested in them. It probably says something that i feel like the best written characters are the two scientists - the ones that are written as side characters that are more or less straightforward and aren't burdened with something mysterious about their past or with this strong-with-a-sweet-vulnerable-side backstory with some hidden agenda foreshadow that will probably play out very predictably by the end of the season. I could watch those two scientists go at it all day, but there's only so much of Skye and Ward and even Melinda May and Colston that i can take at once.

I'm sure that he's sick of this comparison and i hesitate to bring it up because i feel like he shouldn't have to live behind this shadow that will follow him forever, but one of the biggest strengths to Firefly was how invested the audience could get with every character aboard that ship because they all had their own voice and styles that never tread on each other and they all had their own unique stories that made you love every one of them for different reasons. So putting them in a strange science-fiction western chinese universe didn't matter because the characters drove the heart of that show. SHIELD fails at capturing that sort of magic, and therefore doesn't do a great job of drawing in a new audience rather than playing to an already existing fanbase.

still, it's a fun enough romp that i'll probably keep watching, and maybe those inevitable cliché down-the-road moments that i can see coming a mile away will be things i can just roll my eyes over as opposed to getting truly annoyed about. one can only hope.

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