My weekly TV column is up at Torontoist.
I managed to avoid watching That 70s Show, so I don’t get that vibe watching Kurtwood Smith. Just the usual “how many dirtbags, villains, and monsters” has this guy played again?” sensibility.
That 70s Show didn’t take off in the UK, so Kurtwood Smith is Clarence Boddicker for me.
Nobody on the internet seems to have much to say about Continuum. Which is weird, because it’s a pretty good show with a genuinely interesting moral compass.
AoS has been on an upswing recently, IMO.
Having Skye in a coma will do that, yes.
I’m also enjoying Agents of SHIELD, but I think it takes an ability to ignore most of the acting and instead try to pick out the stuff from the larger Marvel Universe. We’ve got Dethlok, the possibility of the Kree (and therefore some flavor of Captain Marvel), and, of course, the Asgard. I agree it’s picked up, and while I like Agent Coulson, I’m not too hot on the rest of the cast. Fitz & Simmons have gone down on the annoying-o-meter since they debuted, but the show is a bit like watching the final season of Star Trek Enterprise: There’s some writing to be enjoyed there, but the actors are kind of in the way.
I’ll give it another season at least to improve. I’m kind of amazed it got this far, but then again, it’s got a billion-dollar box office film behind it, so…
Agents of SHIELD is not nearly as bad as people on the Internet make it out to be. It just isn’t as good as it could be, so the potential feels wasted.
But the show certainly isn’t any worse acting wise or story wise than NCIS. Which is actually the closest thing on the air to it, and has been running now for 10 freaking years.
(The last handful of episodes have ramped up the sci-fi elements and so have been much better than the first 3 really weak episodes as Marvel tried to figure out how much Marvel Universe stuff they were going to let them play with, and how much they were going to hold back. They are still holding too much back, but at least they’re opening it up a bit.)
I’m also enjoying Agents of SHIELD, but I think it takes an ability to ignore most of the acting and instead try to pick out the stuff from the larger Marvel Universe… I’ll give it another season at least to improve.
Sorry to jump down your throat, I’m like you in that I gave the show more chances than my wife and will probably watch the Sif episode, but this is why we can’t have nice things. If the main appeal of AoS is Marvel Trivial Pursuit – “A cyborg being forced into an unethical mission? Sure, they can call him Deathlok! A blue humanoid alien on a lab table? Maybe it’s Kree!” – and it’ll still get at least a season, what incentive do they have to even think about good writing or acting? That billion-dollar movie, whatever else you can say about it, at least had some good actors and was funny.
EDIT: if people are saying it’s getting better, I guess I have to ask which episodes they’re talking about. For the record, I saw the first nine episodes, and then the one where they were trying to rescue Coulson and he finally had a flashback to having his brain exposed. If the better ones have come after that, fair enough, maybe I should give it another chance. But if that’s considered one of the better ones, no thanks, we can agree to disagree. It had some good moments, but they’re still developing the plot way, way too slowly. I had the impression we were supposed to feel like his flashback answered some longtime questions, and/or raised new ones, but it really, really didn’t.
The T.R.A.C.K.S. episode was the best one, Cyrus.
Speaking of sometimes scary badasses, how’s “Growing up Fisher?” I’m curious how JK Simmons is there.
The thing about SHIELD is that the scripts tend to be weak (and, when not weak, formulaic), the characters don’t pop, and with the exception of Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg, the acting is usually sub-par.
When you have those three problems, your show had better have some really goddamn interesting plot hooks to hold interest. And in the case of SHIELD, that means that we need to feel like we’re watching a show about the MCU.
Only it doesn’t actually feel like that most of the time. It feels sort of like a more action-y X-Files knockoff that only vaguely connects to Marvel. The strongest episodes so far have been the ones that explicitly connect to the MCU, which tend to have guest stars who knock it right out of the park (Peter MacNicol) and stronger plotting and dialogue in general.
More to the point, those episodes make us FEEL like we’re watching the same universe that Iron Man and Captain America and Thor take place in, which is sort of the whole point of SHIELD.
I think one of the problems is with SHIELD itself. I saw someone listing off all the superheroes they’d like to see, and in every case, I thought: “Yeah, but why? You need a reason for them to show up that ties in with what SHIELD represents in the movie continuity.”
Saying it’s like the X-Files isn’t too far off, but I’d say it’s got a lot of SCP Foundation going on as well. It also gets bonus points for having the budget to allow the team to have lots of agents join in when needed (like when they were raiding a Vegas hotel looking for an Asgardian criminal) instead of it always being just these few people with guns (like in the X-Files, a lot of the time).
Wanting to bring in the larger Marvel U is hampered by it needing to fall under their purview where it makes sense, what characters Marvel/Disney has the rights to, which actors are willing to show up, etc. For all that, I’d say they haven’t done too poorly. Still, I hope the rumors that they got the TV rights to Spider-Man away from Sony are true. That’d be a nice cameo.
Fair enough. I’ll probably give it another chance then.
I’ve enjoyed SHIELD – as, yes, about the same level of harmless fun as NCIS – and T.R.A.C.K.S. was definitely a very good episode, but since then have had some issues with it.
(Vague Spoilers Ahead)
They’ve had some pretty questionable moral issues come up – and not in the sense of “as secret agents, we sometimes do bad things for good reasons”, but more of the “hey, let’s not care if we happen to murder some innocents in the course of pursuing our own personal agendas.” Or the sense of, “Hey, my partner got mind-controlled and raped by an alien, let’s blame the victim and use it as an excuse for a breakup.”
So… more of a morality issue with the writing rather than the characters, but it has made it a lot harder to root for the team in light of such things.
Myth, that break-up might have to do with the whole “you love someone else” thing. (I am not an apologist for the show; it’s just ok.)
Resurrection is the first Sunday night show that doesn’t involve cooking competitions to pique my interest in years, and I felt that Kurtwood Smith did a really good job of playing an ordinary man faced with a most extraordinary situation.
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