Dear Jim Steranko, Please Stop Reviewing Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.

Yes, I know you created the incarnation that we all recognize today. You’re the reason Nick Fury is such a bad ass, etc.

I found your reviews while searching the internet for my Comic-con fix. At first I was excited. Then I read them.

I was disappointed, Jim. Because I was hoping you would do in-depth analysis of characters, pacing, plot, the importance or unimportance of staying true to the source material. I was hoping for your thoughts on villians, heroes, and the Rising Tide plot that fizzled out.

Instead, you whine, on and on, in post after post, how this show isn’t big enough for you. How real action heroes should be Nick Fury. How there should be all the big name superheros all the time. Why the show never explodes stuff enough.

What insults me the most is your constant haranguing of Clark Gregg as Agent Coulsen. He’s not believable as an action hero. Why? You mention the suit and tie, but seem totally down with Ward’s use of it in later episodes. Maybe it’s because you feel Gregg doesn’t have enough presence to play the leader of a S.H.E.I.L.D. team. You want someone who looks like an action hero. Like every other show on television, action movie, or comic ever made.

Yeah, I hate to tell you this, but the reason I, and probably some other people, watch this show is because it’s NOT The Avengers, or any of those other generic shoot, bang films that are as ubiquitous in Hollywood. I don’t want to watch a show starring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. I don’t want to watch a show starring Sean Connery-era Bond clones. That’s really boring.

We already have a bunch of superhero stories told the same way about the same things… but wait… that’s because somebody decided comics should be written for twelve-year-old boys by men who were mentally twelve-year-old boys. Hence, my confusion with your Nick Fury obsession. While I am impressed by the acting chops of Mr. Jackson, the whole point of Fury is to just be intimidating, and one can only watch that for so long. (It’s why the Paton documentary is so painful.)

Thus, Agent Coulsen should act like a real man, and Skye should stop being adorable- although from what I’ve seen, Skye manages to pull some genuine feeling out of every nerdy guy’s favorite stereotype: the hot street smart hacker. (See also: Fitz’s Skye crush.) Furthermore, every time this show attempts to reach out beyond flat beat-em-up stereotypes, you blame it for being too sensitive.

Have you ever seen anything else by Josh Whedon? Like ever? Buffy, Firefly… at some point those shows are all about their characters and their emotions. The First was the scariest bad guy in the Buffyverse not because of its physical heft (not that it really had any), but rather by the way it could worm itself into people’s heads. That shit was scary.

In summary, if you’re going to harp on why Agents of Shield isn’t a one-dimensional, trite piece of action television fluff, you really should not be reviewing it. Yes, a show about people fighting powered people may never be Dostoyevsky, but that doesn’t stop it from being well written, or expanding beyond the tiny space people tend to put comics and science fiction in. You wrote comics for a long time. Don’t limit your own genre.



[P.S. Can you really not understand what Fitz and Simmons are saying? Seriously? Maybe that’s why I like their dialogue so much, as a person who understands science. Because it’s actually a little scientific, instead of the bull people generally invent for this kind of thing.]

[P.P.S. Yes, you are sexist for saying that the show about emotions was written by women, which you seem to imply makes it awful. On the other hand, basically all of your reviews stink to high heaven of misogyny, so no surprises there.]

Summer Binge in Review: Veronica Mars, The Guild, Once Upon a Time, & Royal Pains

Ah, summertime. Beaches, barbecues, and binge watching. As per my usual summer fate, I got addicted to multiple shows this year. There’s a month left folks! So if you’re looking for something to watch, look no further. I’ve got you covered.

1. Veronica Mars (Amazon Prime has it for free.) 

Last summer, I happened upon Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show people had been telling me to watch for years. After Buffy, everyone tells you to watch this show, starring Kristen Bell as the titular Veronica.

You really should watch Veronica Mars. It is, without question, one of the most intricately plotted shows I have ever seen, and the unraveling of the mystery in season one is flawless. Kristen Bell looks like a life-sized Tinkerbell, but that does not stop her from being one of the toughest, wiliest, and complex detectives that television has to offer. Her relationship with her father is sweet and sour in a way that an actual teenager’s would be. Most importantly, Veronica Mars gives you reasons to really dislike most of the characters- including Veronica- and then swings back around to show you that people are not always the thing they did last week. It reminds people that what people say about other people is never the full story.

Season one is the best, but season two builds up some serious momentum at the end. Three lost its touch, which is probably why this show got canceled. I really recommend the film, especially after the sudden halt that is the end of season three. The movie, set ten years later with a grown-up cast, really recaptures the feeling of season one and puts Veronica on the right track.

In summary: If you haven’t seen this show, watch it immediately. Please.

The Guild (Netflix) 

I accidentally found this show while browsing Netflix due to extreme boredom. I then proceeded to pull an all-nighter marathoning it. With the queen of all geeks, Felica Day, as the lead gamer girl, this show is as dorky as it gets.

Despite being extremely nerdy, I really loved this show. I am not a gamer at all, but I connected with these outcasts and their quests to survive outside of the internet. Also, this show gave me a crush on Will Whedon.

In summary: If you like geeky things, or outcast stories, The Guild is for you.

Once Upon a Time: (Netflix through season 2)

This show surprised me. I had been avoiding it for as long as possible, for as a fan of Buffy and Doctor Who, I was wary of ABC Family fantasy fare. Once Upon a Time actually can handle the dark without too much melodrama (generally). While I was underwhelmed by the scenes in the Enchanted Forest, the shenanigans in Storybrook were enough to keep me hooked. (Also, Hook was enough to pull me through all of season three, even considering it was far better written than the previous two.) I really love Emma and her skeptism and logical in the face of a LOT of magic and general silliness. Also, the dwarfs here are way cooler than they ever could be in the actual Snow White.

The fairy tale bits are a little grating, especially in season one, so after a while you can safely skip those without missing any major plot points. This also makes watching it much faster, so you can fly through the first two seasons. Season three you should probably watch fully until it gets to backstory, which you can then skip. Also, shout-out to the character who dies in season one. I liked you. Why did you leave for that stupid movie?

In summary: Entertaining and fluffy fare, Once Upon a Time is great for the casual binge watcher.

Royal Pains (through season 5 on Netflix): 

My brother told me to watch this show. As he’s going through a phase in his life where he’s unenthusiastic about everything, I decided to give it a try. And true to the motto of the USA network, fantastic characters abound. I really love them all, from the enigmatic Borris, to the rich kid with Hemophilia.

The first episode moves a little slow, but give it a chance to get to the Hamptons, and you’ll soon be deciding that Hank Lawson should be your primary care physician. This show gets bonus points for having the best pacing ever in a comedy. Ever.

In summary: Relax and let the doctors of Royal Pains cure your summertime sadness.