S.H.I.E.L.D. Makes Good

It finally clicked for me. As of Episode 1.7 “The Hub” S.H.I.E.L.D. has officially grown on me. And now I’m worried that they’ll possibly either get rid of one of my favorite characters (Ward) or cancel the show altogether. Internet chatter says people aren’t loving the show. People want more references to super-heroes, people want actual super-heroes, people want whatever it is that S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s not dishing out. I couldn’t agree less.

The true test of a show, for me, is whether I can watch episodes repeatedly without getting bored or sick of it. And with this show, I can. There are enough bits of quirk, good enough dialogue, and enough unsolved mysteries (what’s going on with Coulson, where did Skye come from, etc.) to keep me hooked. And I was so happy, at the end of 1.8 “The Well” that Ward went into Agent May’s room at the end of the night. I’d been worried that he’d hook up with Skye, which would have been both sappy and predictable. In real life, the two actors are hooking up (which is sappy and predictable.) But it is much, much cooler for Ward to hook up with May.

However, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a deeply flawed show. I have gone on at length about this. Its biggest problem is that it is sometimes boring. The biggest mistake the creators have made is to repeat the mistakes of so many shows that have gone before – to deliberately make the episodes episodic, with no real overarching plotline. The biggest “big bad” we’ve seen so far is Project Centipede, but a) the only time that came up after the pilot was in the very worst episode so far (“Girl In The Flower Dress”) and b) they already killed off the doctor! What a waste of a potentially good character.

I don’t understand why anyone would deliberately make a show so episodic. It has been proven time and again (see: Angel, Season 1, Dollhouse Season 1, Buffy Season 1) that it just doesn’t work. Not for a Whedon show anyway (my expectations are higher for a Whedon show than an ordinary show.) Every time there’s a new Whedon show and it starts out this way, I’m baffled. What’s it called? “The definition of insanity?” Trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You’d think they would have learned by now.

But all complaints aside, I still like this show better than anything else on TV! So please don’t cancel it, ABC. Let Joss get back and start working on it, and let’s see if he can turn it into something excellent. And if he can’t, then I will sadly agree (with him) that he’s done doing TV and should concentrate on new media instead. He’s out to make things better, not worse, so maybe this is just no longer his medium. Sucks for me, but I’d rather see him doing excellent movies than mediocre TV shows, even though it’s TV that I want more of. We shall see what happens, won’t we?

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