Agents of SHIELD: Someone please explain this to me!

I’m not a fan of Joss Whedon and haven’t truly, freely enjoyed something of his since the end of Buffy Season 3, I believe. Obviously, there are a lot of people who see this differently. Buffy and Angel are still popular, Firefly has a disproportionate (and often annoying) fandom. Even Dollhouse gained supporters.

Compared to the usual enthusiasm of Joss Whedon fans, the reactions to Agents of SHIELD have been very subdued. Now, a lot of people probably expected something more like The Avengers or at least a show with more superheroes and familiar names and faces. SHIELD basically has to disappoint them in this regard, for copyright and possibly other reasons. Be it that another company owns the film rights to various Marvel characters, be it – perhaps – that Marvel don’t want Whedon/ABC to use iconic comic heroes and villains. Agents of SHIELD is supposed to take place in the same continuity as the Marvel Movieverse, so it makes sense that every character that might appear in the films would be kept off the TV series. So that a movie wouldn’t have to use the characterization, backstory and casting introduced in the TV show. A matter of control and keeping one’s options open.

But it’s understandable that people are disappointed by the lack of familiar, iconic characters. Except Coulson and cameos from Nick Fury and Maria Hill, from what I’ve heard. What’s much more fascinating is that Agents of SHIELD is also disappointing its viewers with its original characters.

Even long-time fans of Joss Whedon, who went into SHIELD expecting to love it, are describing the cast as bland and the writing as uninspired. I mean … what happened here? I may not generally like Whedon, but I always got the impression that he had ideas and that he wrote the characters and stories that interested him. He should have been capable of coming up with an interesting cast, distinct characters that are immediately intriguing even after “only” two episodes. Come on, something is wrong when even fans find no stronger praise than “It just needs time to find itself”, “Remember the Buffy pilot was not perfect either”, “but the characters showed personality in episode 2, that’s good!” and “it has potential” …

Seriously, “it has potential”? Needs time to find itself? This is not an newcomer’s webseries where everyone involved is just starting out and slowly getting used to this kind of storytelling. Joss Whedon is not a newbie. This is not even a new franchise. I just don’t understand how Joss Whedon, who can usually deliver interesting characters if nothing else, can be failing here, with this of all things?

I really don’t understand this.


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