Agents of SHIELD

agents_of_shield_logoYears: 2013 – present

Synopsis: The resurrected SHIELD agent Phil Coulson, who later is made controversial Director of a depleted SHIELD, leads a team of super-spies that protect the Earth from extraordinary threats.

Pros:
The show regularly evolves, directly or indirectly thanks to its deep connection to the overarching MCU. It is always interesting to see how the films affect the show, running contemporaneously. Whedon-esque dialogue is always a pleasure.

Cons:
Particularly after the events depicted in Captain America: Winter Soldier reverberated into the show, the writing can be a bit predictable and whiny at times. So far, the films have affected the show and largely not the other way around. Some of the early character arcs, particularly of Sky/Quake and Ward/HYDRA, did polarize some of the show’s early adopters.

Discussion:
In spite of the writing inconsistency, the show is rather unique in its connection to the MCU. It is, however, not unprecedented. Star Trek, between 1987 to the early 2000s, also had overlapping films and shows. The events of the original cast film The Undiscovered Country (1991) did have an affect on The Next Generation (1987-1994) and later series. Generally, the Trek films were released between the seasons of the technically overlapping shows, so there were rarely any dramatic narrative reverberations one way or another. As such, there are experimental underpinnings with SHIELD running contemporaneously with the films.

It should also be noted that, while critics generally applaud it, the show has been weak with ratings since the first season. Shows have been canceled on greater viewership than this show has been getting over the years. A big reason for this is the cheaper than usual licensing deal it has with the producers now, and that is certainly related to the billions the films are making. All the better for those still watching. Writing has been tightening since the introduction of Ghost Rider in season 4, and the season 5 time-loop storyline — with a later dash of Thanos of Infinity War — is the most apocalyptically Marvel thing the show has done. Bizarrely or not, Legion is also doing a vary Marvel time-loop story currently, including very similar discussions on parallel realities and averting a disastrous future. #ItsAllConnected perhaps.

Update: The S5 storyline ultimately has a profound yet almost silent affect on the continuing MCU, and is a good change, albeit done in a bittersweet way.

Related:
Marvel Cinematic Universe

Torchwood


Official Website

Rotten Tomatoes
S1 — 86%
S2 — 97%
S3 — 100%
S4 — 94%
S5 — 100%

On SHIELD’s renewal

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