December 12, 2014 by JImbo
I’ve tried watching that new TV show “S.H.I.E.L.D”
I wanted to like it.
I enjoy the comic books.
I hate the organization of course. Much like Captain America, I deplore the idea of a world-wide “CIA for the United Nations” that is unaccountable and pretty much does whatever it wants to whoever it wants whenever it wants…. “for the safety of the world.”
No there’s no way THAT can’t be abused…..
Anyway, I’ve made it half way through the first season so far. I gotta take a break. It’s SO bad.
I can’t just blame Joss Whedon on this. He’s hit home runs before with Buffy, Firefly, etc. I think it’s partly format (TV series) and partly trying to “dumb it down” without all the background or details that a comic series needs.
However, mostly it just seems like really crappy characters. If a robot is written correctly you can believe it’s alive. If a human is written badly they never do.
I realize you have to suspend disbelief for the land of make believe. That’s pretty standard.
It’s not just the standard themes common to TV shows.
It’s not the redundantly repetitive storylines.
It’s not the unrealistically attractive, intelligent, ninja-warrior heroes that can’t die.
It’s not that there are aliens or super powers on display in everyday life but no one seems to notice.
Those are part of being a TV show. I get it. In much the same that cops can shoot all sorts of people on TV and never worry about being charged with a crime, it’s necessary to keep the show going.
What I don’t get is the combination of faulty internal logic and personal hypocrisy. I suppose they go hand in hand. If you can’t be consistent in the plot, how can you be consistent with characters?
That’s all it is really…consistency. If SHIELD uses anti-gravity technology all the time, then it’s not “dangerous new science” if the bad guys have it. Destroying it doesn’t really “get rid of it” if you are still using it every day!
Or, how about the time the strike force was denied a ride home because “We don’t have the assets available for that.” Meanwhile, the rest of the crew is SITTING IN THE PLANE ON THE RUNWAY.
These people are super-geniuses yet not one thinks to ask “Uhhhh… we’re just sitting here doing nothing. Why didn’t they ask us to do it?” In fact, that’s what they DO at the end of the episode.
Without permission of course. Because… when you join a huge international corporation with top secret ultra-level security….the last thing you want to do is follow orders or keep secrets. Which brings me to the other part of this inconsistency.
What the hell motivates these characters? And how much more hypocritical can they be? Do they KNOW they’re lying to themselves and acting like schizos with multiple personalities? Did the writers go on strike every episode?
Take Skye for example. She is a dedicated anarchist-hacker who is hell bent on exposing every secret and disobeying every rule the government has. Yet at the first opportunity, she joins a massive hierarchy that demands obedience and the keeping of secrets.
I would buy that if she were just “getting inside to find out all the secrets” like she says…but she LECTURES people on how you have to follow orders and keep secrets. In the same breath she rants about how “The governments just push people around and take away our rights.” Then, she again lectures about how necessary holding people prisoner and torturing them is.
The same is true with Coulson and Ward.
“Follow the rules.”
“Don’t follow the rules you don’t like.”
“If you follow the rules people don’t die.”
“If you follow the rules everyone will die!”
Who the hell are you people? Pick a philosophy and stick to it! The only ones who seem to stick to the rules are the scientist “twins” who are roundly ridiculed at all times for being logical and consistent.
I get it.
It’s a TV show.
Lots of explosions.
Save the world and all.
However, the movies at least TRIED to show some different viewpoints and philosophies. The characters had a coherent view of the world.
In the comics it’s even better done.
For example, the huge story arc of the “Civil War” was an expansive subject covered in detail about how there was an international response to terrorism and mutant powers. It had a big issue of civil rights, racism, government power, freedom, etc.
It addressed a LOT of issues and there were motivations for things. Captain America “went rogue” and was shot because he believed in individual liberty against an oppressive government. Tony Stark joined the “dark side” (big government…S.H.I.E.L.D) to “preserve law and order” and to “protect people.”
There was some meat on the bones of the whole “super powers and explosions, aliens and doomsday” themes. All that context and coherency is lost here. It just seems like a bunch of random stories about some pretty nondescript and wishy washy people with no real goal and no sense of personal reflection.
Cardboard cut outs wandering around on a diorama made out of an old shoebox.
With CGI graphics.
I don’t think any of this is new. Bad characters have sold books and kept bards employed for thousands of years. Just read some of the ancient legends of the Gods and Heroes sometime. Totally schizo and incoherent at points.
Granted that’s mostly to different “authors” retelling the tale a little differently every time and for different reasons. However, that’s the point isn’t it? Tell a good story and screw consistency.
Reminds me of a favorite quote of the famous writer Fyodr Dostoevsky
“If everything on Earth were rational, then nothing would ever happen.”