Thursday, January 23, 2014

Almost Human and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Yet again I have to it for two of my new favorite shows to come back from a hiatus. With both shows not living up to ratings expectations I have fears that network executives will treat them like they were created by Joss Whedon. (You know, because Joss created Firefly and Dollhouse) But for now Almost Human and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are not in trouble. One show shows signs of improvement and the other just needs its network and viewers to wake up.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D started with lots of promise but has had its ratings seemingly with every episode. The people behind the scenes have said that the show is starting to find its legs and that might just be true. Personally, I think it tried to emulate the lighthearted dynamic that the Avengers film had without having any of the Avengers in it. I would have liked to have seen the series a little darker and grittier like Fringe was and Almost Human is. All three series deal with science out of control and strange phenomenon. Almost Human manages this while having light hearted moments and be funny. I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D also suffered from having too many main characters and I never felt too fond of Skye (Chloe Bennet). She just seemed annoying to me. I understand the purpose of her character is to be the outsider that we identify with, but that could have been better done by having Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) or Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge)being a rookie fresh out of the academy. At this point we all know what S.H.I.E.L.D is. We don’t need that much more of an introduction. For that matter there isn’t really a need for more than one hard core ass kicking agent on board. Things have picked up, however, and it seems as though the producers are finding a way to make all the pieced work and shape up to what we expected Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to be in the first place. Particularly I’m looking forward to Thor's friend who happens to be a woman, Sif (Jaimie Alexander) making an appearance and tying the tv series into the movie universe a little more. There is also a probably going to be awesome cameo by Stan Lee coming up. No, I'm not going to link anything to Stan's name because you really should know who he is. Okay, fine: Stan Lee

For fans of Fringe that wanted more Fringe, this is kinda Fringe except with more jokes. And I mean that in a good way. I really don’t have too many issues with this show except for an obvious “will they/won’t they” type love interest for Detective Kennex (Karl Urban) that feels a little forced. The story of a cop and his machine partner is not new. Asimov wrote stuff like that a while ago. And Dorian (Michael Ealy) is not the first self-aware artificial intelligence that is trying to become more. Star Trek did that rather well with Data and even the Doctor on Voyager. So far the series, to me anyway, has not bogged down and has kept up a good pace. The humor is fantastic. The many gifs on Tumblr can attest to that. In contrast to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, there isn't going to be as huge of a world that has already been established. But that also gives this show more room to take risks. My issue comes with the network that hosts Almost Human, FOX. It’s a network that has a well-documented history of killing sci-fi too soon and seeming not to understand a sci-fi show. There is also a surprising lack of people watching. Well, not a lack, but not as many as I thought there would be. It’s hard to tell what people will and won’t tune in for sometimes. But then again, maybe FOX could do a better job of promoting the show.

If you have not seen either of these shows you might be wondering why I say Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has to many characters when Almost Human has the same amount in the cast photo. The difference is that Kennex and Dorian are the focus and the other characters are in supporting roles. While Skye and Agent Coulson (Clark Gegg) are focused more often than not, the story load is spread more evenly among the characters. While that can be good, it has the problem of diluting the stories or neglecting some characters for the sake of whatever backstory the creators want to tell. Both series are only in their first season so there is still hope for life beyond season 1. I hope viewers increase and the fandoms build and we'll see where these shows take us.

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