Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is well worth a watch. Here’s why.
The currently running Marvel series Agents of SHIELD has a lot to offer its viewers. If there is anything I have learned about sci-fi entertainment it is that in the story absolutely anything can happen. There are no restrictions. A fictional character could be fighting in the Crusades one moment and then traveling through numerous mind-boggling dimensions the next. A character could find that everything he held as truth is merely a simulation.
In sci-fi, the whole world can literally be turned upside down, and characters can obviously travel beyond their own native worlds. A group of characters could find themselves in a bar one day and be floating in space the next. So it is with Agents of SHIELD.
Among other appealing elements, this Marvel series includes espionage, political unrest, love, comedy, aliens, cyborgs, space travel, superheroes, and mad scientists. Here we are going to explore some of the best aspects of the show, the ones that cause viewers to keep returning.
1 – Correlation with the Marvel Films
I am mentioning this first because it is probably the most significant thing the TV show has to offer. Its timeline coincides with the release of the feature films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this way, audience members who follow both the series as well as the movies get a broader view of what’s going on in the MCU than those who just watch the movies.
The films demonstrate many of the highlights and historic moments for the popular superheroes. Meanwhile, the Agents of SHIELD series depicts what is going on behind the scenes. Many references to the things taking place in the movies are made throughout the series. For example, scenes in Season 2 depict the unveiling of Hydra within SHIELD. Some of these sequences occur simultaneously with Captain America’s final battle with Bucky as depicted in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Every now and then characters also refer to the “Manhattan incident” which took place in the first Avengers film.
As the series progressed, references to Ultron were made. Several actors who appear in the films also showed up in Agents of SHIELD, such as Hayley Atwell, Cobie Smulders, and Maximiliano Hernández. Back in the first season, Samuel L. Jackson even guest starred as his Marvel character Nick Fury. I’m really anticipating a correlation between the series and the events in Black Panther, even if it’s just a brief mention.
2 – Genuinely MCU
Like any modern TV show, Agents of SHIELD includes CGI incorporated into its imagery. Some sequences are better than others. And like most of today’s fictional television, the computer graphics are not as spot-on as graphics in feature films. This is partly due to the greater time constraints on TV production as opposed to film production.
Animators for a series have less time to create the effects than those working on most movies. Despite the time crunches, I think the graphics for Agents of SHIELD are fairly good and hopefully will get better.
Like the Marvel movies, quite a bit of CGI is involved. The series also includes elements such as the extremely fast-paced (and extremely edited) fighting sequences. One of the simpler effects used in both the series and the movies for fight sequences is the shaky action cam effect. The storylines are obviously rather similar to the film plots.
Each season finale closes with a brief scene that leaves the audience wondering what is going to happen next. Similarly, most Marvel movies include a short sequence at the very end of the credits which eludes to something happening in an upcoming MCU installment.
3 – Science Fiction
Agents of SHIELD includes many classic as well as fresh sci-fi themes, and almost all of them are intriguing. Phil Coulson and his team encounter numerous alien races in previous seasons while on Earth such as Asgardians. (Of course, in Season 5 they’re in space for an extended period of time.)
Cyborgs such as Aida and mad (or misguided) scientists like Holden Radcliffe, both of whom we see actively in Season 4, are also familiar sci-fi elements. Though the history of Hydra’s origins and Hive’s use of Ward’s corpse in Season 3 are the highlights of the entire series.
4 – Surprises Everywhere You Turn
The plot, though not strong at every point in the series, is oftentimes surprising, sometimes in an alarming way or in a relieving way. Ward’s secretive betrayal which comes to light near the close of Season 1 came as a shock to many, and the writers have brought his character back in some way in all of the following seasons. It will be interesting to see if he returns somehow yet again in Season 5.
It was also sad to see Hunter and Bobby get let go. Although, Hunter has returned in Season 5. And Adrianne Palicki, who played Bobby, has been busy co-starring in The Orville. Other instances like Triplett’s accidental death via terragenesis came as an unforeseen and sorrowful event.
If you think back, you will agree that the audience is tricked into believing something that turns out to be not at all what it seems.
5 – References to Other Fantasy Franchises
I absolutely love Patton Oswalt’s comedic portrayal of four of the Koenig brothers, most of whom are agents of SHIELD. He, or perhaps they, have brought a lot of heartwarming scenes to the series.
The identical Koenig brothers who are agents, are obsessed with lanyards. They are also video gaming and sci-fi nerds. Sam and Billy, the two Koenigs we see the most of, are a few of the characters who make the most references to other sci-fi sagas.
It is these two who go so far as to make a direct reference to the original Lost in Space series which, ironically, has been remade and is being rebooted on Netflix this year. They make a lot of robot jokes, and so they can’t help but bring up Robot B-9 from Lost in Space. Like myself, these two also quote Star Wars frequently.
Even Coulson’s character makes references about Star Wars. Another fantasy saga that has been mentioned in dialogue is the original Wizard of Oz film. (A reference to this film was also included in the first Avengers movie). The combination of heart, comedy, plot changes, and visual aesthetics make Agents of SHIELD what it is.
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