Friday, September 30, 2016

TV on DVD Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 3

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: The occasional good episode
Cons: The writing dragged everything down
The Bottom Line:
Poor writing this year
Killed my interest in the show
Three seasons, I’m done

The Mess that is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Continues

I almost gave up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after season 2, but that final, cliffhanger scene worked to pull me in for at least one episode.  I wound up deciding to watch all of season 3, but the show just kept going downhill.  If there wasn’t one thing I was waiting to see, I would have given up on the show before the end of the season in fact.

The season opens with the aftermath of the cliffhanger.  Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) has vanished, pulled into an artifact.  However, Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) appears to be the only one who cares as the rest of the team is in a race to find as many inhumans, humans with added abilities, as possible.  Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Director Colson (Clark Gregg) are leading the charge to find them.

However, it appears that someone, or something, else is also after the inhumans, and the race is on to find and save as many of them as they can find before it is too late.  As Fitz makes progress on his mission to rescue Simmons, he attracts the attention of Ward (Brett Dalton) and H.Y.D.R.A.  What is their interest?  Can Simmons be rescued?  Who is after the inhumans?

And will the viewer care?  That’s the biggest question.  I’m still trying to figure out why it is exactly that I have had such a hard time connecting with these characters.  When they face something that affects them, I don’t feel anything. Usually, I will cry at the drop of a hat, too, so these characters are just too flat for me to truly care about.  Part of that is because there are too many characters, and we rarely get any kind of character development for any of them.

I’m not blaming the actors for any of this.  The acting is fine, and they do the best job they can with the material they have.

Instead, I’m blaming the writing.  The writers need to find a way to allow the characters to grow and develop.  Instead, they are focused on the next plot point or event.  However, as the characters sport dialog that moves the story forward, I find myself bored.  The action scenes are only so interesting as a result.  Every so often, they would be a good episode that would connect me to the characters, but they were few and far between.

I know part of it is me.  I am not steeped in the comics, and some of the storylines introduced here are a bit out there.  Yes, I know they are part of the Marvel world, but they seemed to pick the stranger stuff for this show.  I’m okay with the stuff we get in the movies, but this crosses a line for me, I guess.  But it also adds to my disconnect as I can’t remember all the details of what they’ve created from week to week.  Again, yes it is on me, but it does lower my enjoyment of the show.  However, it is one of the things the writers struggle with as they have to give the characters a lot of exposition, something that takes away from character development.

And then there’s Ward.  Honestly, he should have gotten his comeuppance by the end of season two.  They kept stringing his storyline along to the point of absurdity, just like Heroes did with Sylar.  I’ve got nothing against the actor, but it’s another case of poor writing.

All of this combines to explain why I am not returning for another season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Once I’ve stuck with a show this long, I usually stick with it until the end, but as far as I’m concerned, season 3 is the end of this show.

Season 3 Episodes:
1. Laws of Nature
2. Purpose in the Machine
3. A Wanted (inhu)Man
4. Devils You Know
5. 4,722 Hours
6. Among Us Hide…
7. Chaos Theory
8. Many Heads, One Tale
9. Closure
10. Maveth
11. Bouncing Back
12. The Inside Man
13. Parting Shot
14. Watchdogs
15. Spacetime
16. Paradise Lost
17. The Team
18. The Singularity
19. Failed Experiments
20. Emancipation
21. Absolution
22. Ascension

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