Editorial: Agents of M.E.H.
Over the past several years, Marvel has been expanding their hold on the entertainment world. Of course, we all know about the impressive and ground-breaking cinematic universe that was established starting in 2008 with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Since then, they have progressively compounded on that idea to include numerous new franchises like Captain America and Thor, as well as producing a film that was the dream of many Marvel fans, both young and old. The Avengers ended up being one of the highest grossing films of all time and a sequel that is likely to be just as big. In between the two team-up films, we have more films in established franchises and the introduction of a new one in Guardians of the Galaxy, the studio’s first venture into the cosmic world. On the television front, Marvel introduced a new cartoon, Avengers Assemble, which coincides with the cinematic universe, and a new live-action series based on the S.H.I.E.L.D. program, creatively titled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
When this new series aired last week, it proved to be a huge hit with viewers, making it the highest premier of a drama in four years and, to date, the biggest premier this fall. This really didn’t come as much of a surprise, for several reasons, which I think are fairly obvious. Despite the huge showing, reviews on the show have been a mixed bag, with the consensus being that it was just OK. This week, the second episode aired and the ratings took a nose dive, dropping by 34%. Now, it’s not unusual for a new series to have a drop in its second week and even though that’s a pretty big dip, the series still pulled in a 3.1 rating in the coveted 18-49 demo, which is nothing to turn your nose up at. The coming weeks and the next few episodes will be crucial in determining the series’ success.
But, let’s get back to the reviews and feelings on the series. As I mentioned, most people feel like the show is OK, but there is certainly room for improvement. For some, the concept and premise seems all too familiar, comparing it to the typical “cop drama” that can be found on any given network on any given night. Others feel that it’s not “comic book-y” enough. Sure there are mentions of the Avengers and the events that took place in the massive film and the other films in the cinematic universe, but the constant and unrelenting mentioning of those events isn’t quite enough for some. They are looking for more comic tie-ins, specifically more of a comic book style and the inclusion of more familiar characters. The inclusion of a certain character this week is a jump in the right direction. Is there a need to bring in Captain America, Thor or Iron Man? Probably not, but Marvel has hundreds of un-tapped characters at their disposal and for them not to tap into that would be a shame.
Another approach to this is that fans need to adjust their expectations a bit and realize that we are watching a television series and not a big-budget summer blockbuster film. In addition to that, viewers have been treated to television series in recent years that have superb quality to them, such as Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Hannibal, so the bar has been raised in regards quality. But, there are also shows out there that are entertaining as hell and are made without busting the budget.
At this point, we play the “wait and see” game and see where things go in the coming weeks. The series has a ton of potential and backing to be a big success. There are promises of new characters and, after this week’s episodes, some promising story lines. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can find that balance of “police procedural” and “comic book,” then it’s possible the series could be a huge success. We are only two episodes in and they have hinted at some potentially huge reveals later on. Hopefully they can use those story arcs to really blow this thing out of the water.
What are your thoughts on the series? Is it something you’ll continue to watch? If so, will it be as a genuine fan or more of “I want to see what happens” type thing? Do you think the series will make it into a sophomore season or will it fizzle out completely? Sound off below!
And don’t forget to check back to ComicBookTherapy every week for all things Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with ComicBookTherapy’s “Helicarrier: The S.H.I.E.L.D. Podcast.” Plus, follow the crew on Twitter: @SHIELDassemble