Today I ran across an article that has been trending on Facebook… so it must be important right? It happens to concern someone near and dear to my heart: Joss Whedon. In case you don’t know me personally, let me fill you in on my admiration and adoration for this wonderful man. I’ve been enamored of Joss Whedon’s work since I was around eleven and watched my first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was terrified and instantly obsessed. So, like any whedonite, when I found out that his new show S.H.I.E.L.D was happening I was super excited. My experience with the show has been largely positive. I loved it from the beginning and have followed it pretty regularly. I can’t watch it on television because I have night classes, but I do my best to be counted by watching it on Hulu as soon as I can.
Now the point of talking about this show is that I saw it trending, as I’ve said, and found that someone had written a lovely and intelligent article about why it was “About to become the show everyone wanted it to be” (Merrill Barr, Forbes). This made me pause and click, as it was surely meant to. I’ve stopped trying to defend the show from all the criticism it has been receiving, partly because some of it is deserved and partly because it’s just tiring. However, Mr. Merrill Barr of Forbes has kindly taken the job out of my hands and written a well thought out article that explains why exactly S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn’t be the show we all wanted it to be when it premiered and how it is finally about to reach the level everyone wishes it had started at.
I won’t rehash the article here. Instead, I will give you the link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/merrillbarr/2014/03/04/marvels-agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d-is-about-to-become-the-show-everyone-wanted-it-to-be/
What I want to add is my own two cents on this main theme. What we are really talking about here is why a show needs to be a certain way in order to survive. Everyone wanted Joss Whedon to make another show that was like the shows he had made before. Because they are brilliant and wonderful and… we just love them ok? But every single one of those shows at some point in its run experienced significant trouble staying on the air. Buffy managed to end on its own terms but every other show was cut off before Joss was done with it. And certainly before his fans were ready to let them go. S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing pretty decently in the ratings department, though the analysis of Nielson ratings is actually so complicated that a layman trying to understand it is unlikely to be super successful.
The point of the Forbes article is that if this show had followed the pattern of other Joss shows and been different and super cerebral and experimental, it never would have made it to the end of its first season, let alone be considered for a second season. I have always felt like S.H.I.E.L.D. was playing it safe and being very villain of the week-like. But it has been up against NCIS, which is completely villain of the week. My opinion has always been that I would be happy with S.H.I.E.L.D. playing it safe for most of the first season if that meant that we could get a second season that Joss and Co. would be able to do more with. It has always seemed to me like a fantastic flash in the pan show was what we had gotten from Joss before. I can’t complain that instead of that we are getting a show that has the potential to run for years. I think that there really has been a strategy here. Of course… if it doesn’t get renewed I’ll be ready to beat my head against the wall. But here’s hoping.
So tell me friends old and new, what do you think of The Forbes article? Have you been keeping up with S.H.I.E.L.D.? If not I heartily recommend you give it a watch, though maybe it might be best to wait for the season to end and then watch it all at once. I think it could do great things.
Let me know in the comments!