September 27th, 2013

Cooper and Bowie

Periphery of S.H.I.E.L.D.



The world now has a S.H.I.E.L.D. show without Nick Fury. I guess Samuel L. Jackson was busy guest starring on Boondocks. But that's okay, we have a cell phone salesman.



Honestly, no offence intended to the many, many people who inexplicably adore Agent Coulson. I just don't see it. I know he's idealistic despite experience and he has a good heart. That doesn't make the actor adhere to my affections any more than a rubber ball adheres to a wall. However hard Whedon pitches this guy, he bounces right off my interest.

Although it's rather obviously hinted in the premiere episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that this is in fact a clone or android copy of the man we know from the Marvel movie franchise. Or it's a poorly concealed secret, I'm not sure which. In any case, I guess this means we can have the movie's pathos cake and eat the television Coulson too.



But this episode wasn't really bad. J. August Richards, from Whedon's Angel, guest stars as a regular guy down on his luck who's offered super-strength by a mad scientist's gadget. Richards gets increasingly frustrated when his abilities don't bring him any closer to getting a job and provide for his family, tilting him a little towards supervillainy. His speech at the end to Coulson as a representative of the U.S. government about what a sham the American dream is is pretty effective, resonating maybe more actually than the Avengers film's story about mankind needing to be dominated. It's not far from the original Spider-Man comics, actually.



Aside from Coulson, the show's cast includes a spunky hacker with a mildly annoying affected way of speaking and an improbably good sense of style--this show's version of Kaylee. She's not the only thing reminding me of Firefly as the hanger set on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s plane looks uncannily like a refurbished Serenity hanger set.



I think the character I like most so far is Ming-Na Wen's quiet and deadly veteran agent. Maybe just because she gets to be subtler than everyone else. Her quiet trepidation and confidence speak volumes.



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