Tagged: Samuel L. Jackson

John Ostrander’s 2014 TV Report Card

Agents of SHIELDWe’ve had our TV season (or series) finale blitz so I thought I’d give a report card on some of the series I’ve been watching. These are my current faves; they may not be your faves but – hey – it’s my column. Grades will be of different hues of satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Here there will be spoilers; you are so advised and warned.

Arrow: Satisfactory. The plots and subplots including the backstory all wound up in a satisfactory manner. Tracks were laid down for next season. Amanda Waller, even if I’m not nuts about how they interpret her, was there and appears that she will be there next season which means I get some money down the road. I don’t care for Oliver Queens’ younger sister Thea, who comes off as a self-righteous whiny spoiled brat. In theory, she could be written out if the show by her exit but somehow I doubt it. The show gets a little sudsy for me at times but, overall, I’ll probably watch it again next season.

Almost Human: Sadly satisfactory. This should almost qualify as an incomplete as I came in late on the series but I very much enjoyed what I saw. Unfortunately, the series has been cancelled which is a shame – good writing, good cast, good production values. They couldn’t have known when they did the final episode whether or not they were cancelled but they ended on a right note between the two main characters. While there were a few loose ends that could have been tied up, emotionally it ended well. I’ll miss it.

Castle: Unsatisfactory. This season was leading up to the nuptials between Castle and Kate Becket but the show is dedicated to keeping them apart. It took them a good long time to let the characters get together at all and now they’ve done a season cliffhanger where Castle, on his way to the wedding, is forced off the road and the last thing we see is his burning car. Ooooh! Maybe he’s dead! Nah, no one believes that. No, this is just another way of keeping the two characters apart because, as we all know, once two people get married, they become dull and uninteresting and boring. I mean, Hepburn and Tracy proved that. Gomez and Morticia. The Thin Man movies. Come on!

Justified: Unsatisfactory. I think I covered this elsewhere but the season simply treaded water, there were storylines about which I didn’t give a rat’s ass, the bad guys weren’t very compelling, and it’s marking time until next season, already announced as the last. It should have jettisoned one or two storylines and wound the show up strong this season. I don’t know if I care anymore.

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D: Surprisingly satisfactory. Of course, they did bring in Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury so they had a lot going for them but this was a series I wasn’t keen on when it started. However, after the events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (extremely satisfactory) tied into the series, it became compelling. Betrayals, twists, character development, and Agent Coulson gets a promotion at the end. I’m looking forward to next season. Well done.

Suits: Satisfactory. There’s an underlying premise to the series – that Mike Ross, assistant to ace lawyer Harvey Specter, has faked his law degree, faked going to Harvard, and so on and that Specter (and several others at the firm) know it. The series has toyed with Mike’s exposure as a fraud and did again at the finale this year. There’s a lie at the center of the show and I think it has to be dealt with. They found an out this year; Mike has an offer of a big paying job in a different field. If he leaves, the odds on his lie being exposed reasonably go down and they’ve left it that he intends to take the job. Whether he follows through is something we’ll see next season but at least the series is addressing the issue.

The Blacklist: Satisfactory. This is a twisted series but I like how the information must sometimes be inferred and may be misleading. Characters died in the finale, often very violently. Tom Keen, the asshole pretending to be series lead Elizabeth Keen’s husband, bit the big one. Is James Spader’s character, Raymond Reddington, Elizabeth’s father? It seems as if he is but, with this series, you can never quite tell. Some questions were answered and some plots tied off but there are more questions and places to go next season and I’m ready to go with them.

Overall, not bad. More things I liked than things I didn’t. Some new shows are coming up in the fall that look promising. Nothing terribly challenging, but that’s why God created Cosmos. Oh, wait! S/He didn’t. Not a lot of God in the show, which pisses Creationists off no end – and part of the reason I really like it.

 

Win a Copy of Robocop on Blu-ray

Robocop_2014_BD_OringDirected by José Padilha, RoboCop stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L. Jackson.  In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and OmniCorp – the world’s leader in robot technology – sees a golden opportunity to reap billions for their company.  When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured, OmniCorp grabs their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer.  OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and will stop at nothing – no matter the cost to Alex – to make sure the program succeeds.  But OmniCorp never counted on one thing: there is still a man fighting inside the machine.

Who knew that a robot could be so lovable such as WALL-E from Pixar’s beloved movie, or that robots could think like Sonny from I, Robot? Coming soon to Blu-ray is another story of a famous robot, this time one where the robot is part human and part machine. In honor of RoboCop’s Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD releases, we present to you a look at how robots have been portrayed in films.

1. Human-Like Robots

StepfordWe have all seen a movie where a human is discovered to be, in fact, a robot. There are the creepy ones like in The Stepford Wives, the smart ones like in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and the eccentric ones like Edward Scissorhands whose claim to robothood has been heatedly debated. These, at least to some, are the scariest robots since you never know when you might run into one. Maybe the brother you always thought was a bit strange or that co-worker who never really talks is the robot you always feared.

2. Robots that are Killing Machines

terminator2_lWe can all agree that the Terminator is a killing machine. He was sent to assassin every Sarah Connor he came across, almost succeeding.  The robots in I, Robot also fall under this category since they are determined to destroy anything and anyone that does not follow V.I.K.I.’s commands.

3. Robots Built to Fight

atom_in_real_steel-wideWith recent movies like Pacific Rim and the Transformers series, movie fans have gotten numerous doses of huge robots that are built to fight either aliens or large monsters. While watching those movies, one can’t help but wonder if the world will ever come to that.

4. Robots that are Way too Ambitious


MetropolisI, Robot
and The Matrix trilogy fixated on the intelligence machines/robots could gain over humans and thus control the world and all of its resources. These machines tend to be super analytical, overflowing with common sense, and, in rare cases, like I, Robot, want to take over the world in order to protect it. In these movies, humans end up realizing the huge mistake they made by creating these monsters. And lets just admit that the whole Matrix plot was super scary (in a good sci-fi way). Metropolis, one of the first robot movies ever, also celebrates this idea of a machine that is too smart for its own good.

5. Evil Robots

WestworldEvil robots usually fall under other categories on this list, most often in the human-like one. This is probably because in films, robots that end up looking like people are created that way in order to do some real damage. Gunslinger from Westworld is one of these evil robots that will not stop until he has his fake showdown. As many fanatics of the Austin Powers movies remember, the Fembots are evil sexy women robots that are sent as a lethal distraction to the movies’ namesake. Also, Joshua, the robot arm/machine is a robot that doesn’t look like a human but still scared us all. Another contender in this category is the famous MCP from Tron.

6. Robots that Want to Save the World

i-robotWhen robots want to save the world, they usually do it hand in hand with a human. When it comes to the Iron Man series, that robot is actually a suit that eventually becomes part of the human. In I, Robot, we have Sonny “who” sacrifices himself? itself? for the sake of mankind. There is also our beloved RoboCop who becomes the law itself and eventually takes out those wanting to control him/it. Through portrayals like these, audiences get to see a glimpse of robots that intentionally and unintentionally become heroes.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment present RoboCop, arriving on Digital HD May 20 and on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD June 3.

To win the prized copy, you need to identify your favorite category of robot and top choice robot from that category. Have your answers posted no later than 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 6 and the decision of ComicMix‘s judges will be final. The contest is open to United States and Canadian readers only.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Arrives on Disc August 19

CaptainAmericaWinterSoldierBlurayThe most interesting thing about today’s announcement regarding the home video release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the absence of a Marvel One-Shot. Maybe they’re keeping it a secret or maybe there won’t be one which would be a real disappointment. Here are the rest of the details.

BURBANK, Calif. May 30, 2014— From the studio that brought you the biggest Super Hero movie of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, comes this year’s #1 live-action adventure, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, available early on Digital 3D and HD August 19th, 2014, and on 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand September 9th, 2014, from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Saluted by critics as “action-packed” (NY Daily News), “thrilling” (Cinema Blend) and “better than The Avengers” (Access Hollywood), this blockbuster second chapter in the Captain America series teams Marvel’s First Avenger, Captain America, with Black Widow and new ally The Falcon as they battle their most mysterious and powerful enemy yet, the Winter Soldier.

CaptainAmericaWinterSoldier3DComboDirected by Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and starring Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier arrives on 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD armed with explosively entertaining bonus features, including Making-of Featurettes, Audio Commentary, Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes, Bloopers and More…

Bring home the movie that changed everything and expand your Marvel collection in the following formats with bonus features as listed:

Bonus Materials Overview for These Products:

Digital 3D, HD, & SD*

3D Blu-ray Combo Pack (3D BD + Single Disc BD + Digital Copy)

Blu-ray

Includes:

Making-of Featurettes
Audio Commentary
Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
Bloopers
And More…

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

1-Disc DVD

Includes:

Making-of Featurette
Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scene

Feature Run Time: Approximately 136 minutes
Rating: Feature Film: “PG-13” in U.S., G in Canada (CE and CF)
Additional Bonus Features Not Rated
Aspect Ratio: 3-D Blu-ray Feature Film = 2.40:1
Blu-ray Feature Film = 2.40:1
DVD Feature Film = 2.40:1
Audio: Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray 2D = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, French-Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Latin Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital
DVD = English/Latin Spanish/French Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital
Languages/Subtitles: English, French & Spanish (Applies To Film Content Only)

Mike Gold: The SHIELD Gambit

Marvel has a bunch of great characters that have never been able to hold down their own books for any length of time, yet manage to play a continuing major role in the Marvel Universe. At least three of them, Nick Fury, the Sub-Mariner and Doctor Strange, are at the top of my personal pantheon.

Therefore, I was pleased to note that when it came time to build the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU; sounds like a college) they put SHIELD at the hub. To me, that meant they got it. They understood what we fangeezers knew since Fantastic Four Volume 1 Number 12: cancelled comics count!

I thought the Agents of SHIELD series was a great idea, as long as it stayed within the MCU’s tight continuity. I saw it in my mind’s eye as a modern-day Man From UNCLE, which is ironic as SHIELD was created to capitalize on UNCLE’s success. In that, I was not disappointed. Yes, the first half of the season moved slowly, and it seemed overcrowded. But each week I saw enough to appreciate that they still got it

…as long as “it”doesn’t mean ratings. The numbers were not dismal, but they weren’t anything to text home about. But they still got it, and they fixed it, piggybacking on the storylines in this year’s Thor and Captain America movies…particularly the latter.

Over the past two months, the show has propelled to the top of my list. I watched last night’s season finale, pissing off my schizophrenic editor for deadline jumping. I wanted the season to go out with a bang.

Not a problem. Most storylines were resolved, a few were started, there were a couple of surprises, and a sweet more-than-passing performance from Samuel L. Jackson. Clark Gregg was strong, witty and always in-the-moment; Ruth Negga is amazing in a role that requires enormous strength through subtlety. Nice season finish.

One thing more, since I’m still gushing. For those who saw the Marvel One-Shot Agent Carter mini-movie, Cap’s 40s flame will be getting her own mini-series. I loved the One-Shot (and in fact, I like all the One-Shots) and I’m looking forward to the show.

Yep. I’m in fangeezer heaven!

John Ostrander: The Super Glass Ceiling

 

Well, I finally saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier this past week. Yeah, I’m a Johnny-O come lately. Got to see it in my preferred format these days, IMAX 3-D, and I and My Mary had a really good time. To me, Chris Evans’ portrayal of the Star-Spangled Avenger ranks with Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman, and that’s top of the heap.

The movie also asked some interesting and morally murky questions. How far should we go to make things “safer”? CA:TWS was a political thriller as much as it was a big time action feature (and it was a big time action feature). It paid homage to its comic book roots, taking elements from comic book continuity, treating them with respect, and frequently bettering them.

There were also great performances all around. How the heck did they get Robert Redford to agree to be in it? One explanation I hear was he has grandchildren but I have to think that the other was he had a well written character and some great lines. It was a good part. Anthony Mackie made Sam Wilson/The Falcon a high flying character and more than a sidekick, as Sebastian Stan did for Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier. And, of course, there was Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, with some choice action sequences, some twists and turns, and a persona that places him morally between Cap and the villains. He was like a male Amanda Waller and I mean that in the bad-assest way.

And then there was Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow. The one question I had as I left the theater (in addition to “When am I going to see it again?”) was “When are they making a Black Widow solo film?” I already knew the answer to that. She’s scheduled to be in the next Avengers outing and she might be in the next Captain America or Iron Man film but there is no solo film yet scheduled for her.

That brings us to this week’s real topic: Why the hell not?

The Black Widow is as badass as they come. She is a consummate fighter and an accomplished spy. She is beautiful, sexy, funny, and with the suggestion of an interesting backstory, she can be ruthless and can hold her own with not only S.H.I.E.L.D. but the The Avengers as well. She’s played by Scarlett Johansson, who is gorgeous and sexy and an incredibly talented and accomplished actress. What more do they want?

They’re making a movie about Ant-Man, for crying out loud. Ant-Man. And a little later this summer they’re bringing out Guardians Of The Galaxy. The previews look like fun and I’ll probably see it, but The Black Widow has got to have better name recognition and so does Ms. Johansson.

Over on the Warner Bros lot, they’re making a film featuring Superman and Batman and shoehorning in several other characters, including Wonder Woman. There is no talk of a Wonder Woman solo film. I read the studio head make a wistful, “We’d like to do it” sort of noise but, again, nothing is on the horizon.

Why the hell not?

I’ve heard the past rationales: they don’t think the audience will support it. They point to Catwoman and Supergirl as proof. Here’s an answer: don’t make a sucky superhero film. Batman And Robin or Superman Returns didn’t kill off those franchises. They gave them pause but both franchises got re-boots and started again. This time, they made good films that found an audience.

Would a movie starring a female protagonist sell? Look at Katniss in The Hunger Games movies. Tough warrior, good with a bow and arrow, complex character and the movies sell. Role model for young girls everywhere. Do they seriously expect us to believe that the Black Widow or Wonder Woman can’t do the same?

We’re left with one conclusion: Wonder Woman, for all her powers, can’t punch her way through the glass ceiling. And that’s a damn shame.

Jen Krueger: What Is Dead May Never Die

Jen Krueger: What Is Dead May Never Die

Spoiler warning: read no further if you haven’t caught up with the season two premiere of Orphan Black!

When it comes to character body count by the end of a first season of TV, Orphan Black is no slouch. Considering the hook of the pilot involves a woman witnessing her doppelganger jump in front of a train, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that by the end of episode ten, the list of dead characters is of a decent length and appears to still be growing. But even though the season one finale added Helena to the show’s list of killed roles, the end of the season two premiere scratches her right back off that list seconds before cutting to the credits. Usually I don’t like seeing characters purported to be dead waltzing back into a tale, and I certainly didn’t like it in this case.

I loved it.

A big part of why I generally can’t stand watching supposedly dead characters brought back to narrative life is that faux deaths meant to fool the audience are almost always too transparent. Watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I was surprised the movie would bother trying to convince viewers that Nick Fury was actually dead. Even taking public real world knowledge out of the equation by ignoring the fact that this movie is only the sixth of Samuel L. Jackson’s nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios, Fury is obviously too important to the Marvel Universe to be unceremoniously killed in the middle of the Phase Two releases. Since it’s one of few things I can imagine making Captain America and Black Widow truly trust and rely on each other, I don’t quibble with the movie letting the other characters think the attempt on Fury’s life was successful. But trying to fool the audience into the same misapprehension ruined the emotional resonance this might otherwise have had for me by making the scene in which Black Widow says goodbye to what she believes to be Fury’s dead body seem like it was less about her character than it was about the movie attempting to provide enough evidence to trick the audience into believing Fury’s death. Faux character deaths are too often accompanied by this kind of overt attempt at selling them to the audience, and with a hand clearly trying to pull the wool over my eyes, I’m not likely to look at anything else.

But that isn’t to say I never care about character deaths when I can tell they’re fake. All it takes to get me to feel for characters that falsely believe somebody’s dead is for the story to simply back off the hard sell about the supposed demise. In Pacific Rim, I had no doubt Mako and Raleigh would have a happy ending, but I still got choked up watching Mako think she lost Raleigh in the last few minutes of the movie. I didn’t buy that he was dead, and I may even have thought to myself that Raleigh actually being dead would make the narrative stronger (I know, I know, I have a real dark streak), but I was able to see the ending as a trope of the genre rather than a genuine attempt at surprising me with his survival, because I didn’t feel like the movie was trying to convince me Raleigh was dead. Even when I’m moved by a fake death though, I can’t help but think how much more I’d enjoy whatever I’m watching or reading if the story managed to unfold without clear attempts at fooling me as Pacific Rim does, yet somehow actually get one over on me in the end as well.

And that’s where Orphan Black hits it out of the park. I was genuinely surprised to see Helena stumble into a hospital at the end of the season two opener after watching Sarah shoot her and presumably leave her for dead in the season one finale. The show didn’t treat Helena’s assumed death with any more or less weight than other deaths that had preceded it, and by not trying to dictate my assumptions about Helena’s fate, Orphan Black kept me from realizing there was anything to assume other than Helena’s actual demise. Of course, just successfully surprising me isn’t enough to make me feel positively about a character returning after seeming to die. In fact, there’s probably no faster way to lose my goodwill as a reader or viewer than by surprising me with the return of a character all logic dictates should be dead (*cough cough* Shameless season four).

Giving credit where credit is due, Tatiana Maslany is so phenomenal in every one of the many roles she plays on Orphan Black that I was ecstatic to realize I’d be seeing more of Helena after all. Sure, there are plenty of other clones with which to watch Maslany show off her acting chops, but she manages to portray each role so uniquely that I sometimes forget I’m watching the same actress in several parts. This made the thought of Helena dying feel like a big loss to the cast, and also makes me think I’d even be fine with the show bringing back other clones that have been offed in previous episodes. It’s a rare case in which my emotional investment overrides narrative logic, but when a show gets me this hooked on its characters, I’m more than happy for the narratively dead to rise so that I can be fooled. Heck, pop a blonde wig on Maslany to give her the part and I’d even accept Aynsley being resurrected.

Mike Gold: Burning Questions

Gold Art 131106Tired, cranky, and on-deadline with an empty thought balloon hovering over my head. But I have these questions that are keeping me up nights, questions that must be answered. For example:

1) Who’s got Who?

IDW’s Doctor Who ends at the Christmas special. They bid on renewal of the license, unsuccessfully. Others bid as well. Somebody got it, and, as of this writing, nobody knows who. Or Who. Whom? Anyway, conventional wisdom says it’s Titan Comics out in the U of K. Some think it might be the BBC itself. I think Panini might have taken a shot at it – they’ve been publishing Doctor Who Magazine for quite some time.

But for some amusing reason, the BBC is keeping quiet about it. And while they’re not known for being the most enthusiastic business people in the neighborhood, on the occasion of the Doctor’s 50th anniversary they ain’t leaving nobody’s money on the table.

2) Exiles from the DC Nation?

So everybody was running around counter-clockwise in tiny concentric circles wondering who was not going to be offered a ride to Los Angeles when DC Comics’ New York facility goes west in 2015. That loud sigh of relief you heard Monday was from the New York staffers after honcho Diane Nelson said nobody was getting fired because of the move, that everybody would keep their jobs if they so desired.

Yes, indeed. However, they have all of 2014 to thin the herd if they so desire. And offering you a west coast job without fully covering moving costs is another way to thin the herd. Of course, some DC staffers own houses, condos, or co-ops, but they’ve got a year to sell them. And then learn how to drive a car – not all New Yorkers know how to do that.

3) Hourman? Really?

Evidently, The CW (in which Warner Bros. has a strong minority ownership position) has an Hourman teevee show in development. They’re not saying which version of the character they’re working on – is there even a viable Hourman in The New 52? – but if Arrow is any indication, they’ll pick what they want from most of them. In case you came in late, Hourman is about this dude who invented a pill that he thinks gives him superpowers for… an hour. Most latter versions featured people who were related to the original.

This is not a great idea for a teevee show. Hell, you can’t even show a bad guy smoking a cigarette on-screen. The good guy dropping a tab and flying around seems even more problematical. And when he crashes to Earth at Minute 61, they will be ripping off The Greatest American Hero.

You remember The Greatest American Hero, don’t you? DC unsuccessfully sued the producers, claiming it was a rip-off of Superman. Hey, that’s how irony works.

4) Are you Thor about this?

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be picking up the leftover plot strings from Thor: The Dark World. That’s pretty cool. But we’ve been warned not to expect any of the major stars to show up on the “small” screen.

I dunno about that. Maybe. But after Samuel L. Jackson showed up at the end of the pilot episode, I think everything is up for grabs.

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The Tweaks!

 

Take a look at “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” trailer

Captain America returns! Here’s the official first trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier — in US theaters April 4, 2014. The sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is produced by Kevin Feige, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. The executive producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Alan Fine and Stan Lee. The film releases April 4, 2014, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Mindy Newell: The SHIELD Bug

Newell Art 131007I’ve been down with what is either an incredibly horrible cold or what technically would be considered a mild flu since last Tuesday, although “mild” is definitely not in the eyes of the sufferer – achy and sore, exhausted just doing nothing but unable to sleep enough to wake up feeling like I slept, coughing up disgusting stuff from inside my chest, a nose that is either stuffed or running depending on the time of day, alternately hungry and nauseous in the same minute…

Anyway, my brain is definitely not completely “there” this week, but here are some thoughts.

So far not terrifically excited by Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. I thought the pilot episode was basically meh and if it wasn’t for the involvement of the combined powerhouse of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Joss Whedon it would never have been picked up by ABC, much less been given a full season of episodes. For one thing the new agents (meaning those we haven’t seen in the MCU) are too homogenously Hollywood; everybody is the same pretty face and body, as though the casting office went to the Paris and New York fashion shows instead of the theaters in their search for new talent. Note to ABC: Marvel’s universe is not DC’s universe. It’s built around imperfect people having imperfect lives, super powered or not. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to hire a Melissa McCarthy or Kevin James as agents. Y’know, some imperfect people. Imperfect people who can… act.

But maybe I’m being too hard on a new show that has had the weight of high expectations around its neck like the proverbial albatross. Isn’t there anything I’ve liked about AOS?

Of course.

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson. Oh, and Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson. And then there’s Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson.

I also like Lola, Phil Coulson’s 1961 red Chevrolet Corvette C1. (Phil Coulson is played by Clark Gregg.)

I like that Lola has a little bit of DeLorean in her.

I like Sam Jackson showing up as Nick Fury and dressing down Phil Coulson (who is played by Clark Gregg.)

I liked seeing J. August Richards – Charles Gunn on Angel – on TV again, playing the manipulated and man-made superhero/supervillain of the pilot. Whedon has a good, no, great, eye for talent and he often hires and rehires actors he has worked with and brought to stardom…maybe we’ll be seeing other Wheedon “school” alumni on AOS? Alexis Denisoff – yes, I know he played “the Other” in The Avengers, but so what? – Elisha Dushku, Tom Lenk, Amy Acker, Gina Torres, Nathan Fillion….

Actually, those are the kind of actors I would have liked to see making up the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC, Tuesdays at 8 PM, EDT.

Still, the pretty faces of Hollywood might grow on me.

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis