Quality is no real indicator of how much I will enjoy something, nor to be honest is popularity. Many are the show that despite being critically acclaimed or award winning that have simply passed me by. I am no fan of Breaking Bad and found the Walking Dead to be unwatchable, but I often enjoy stuff that no one else can tolerate. I freely admit though the show disappeared up it’s own arse at the end, I watched Sanctuary right up until the end. I am willing to give most action or geeky shows a try. There’s little rhyme or reason for the ones I stick with and due to my many many problems, I always feel that when I like a show, I must qualify my appreciation. I should stop doing that. It’s my opinion after all and the only condition you need give for liking something is that you like it.
So one of the shows I stick with that no one else likes is the 2013 series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now I say no one else, but I do know someone, just the one and that’s about it. But the truth is, I like the show. I did in the past and am re-watching it now and enjoying it still. So I want to write about it a bit, look at it season by season and try to work out why I like it so and why anyone else should. I doubt I will change anyone’s mind, but what the hell.
So we start as ever with the beginning.
S.H.I.E.L.D. was introduced in Marvel Comics as Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division starting in Strange Tales 135 back in 1965. It was then and for most of it’s run led by Nicholas J Fury.
Halfway between Man from U.N.C.L.E. and 007 it was a spy agency with all kinds of hi-tech gear who battled with A.I.M. and Hydra (AIM being mad scientists and Hydra being the group formed by ex-Nazis such as Baron Von Strucker. It was a way to use some of the interesting WWII characters Marvel had including the Howling Commandos and S.H.I.E.L.D. was used often to springboard new stories and introduce new characters such as Mockingbird, Jasper Sitwell, Quasar, Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, Victoria Hand and others, who started life of as agents. As time went on, S.H.I.E.L.D. changed becoming more of a traditional espionage agency just with sci-fi trappings and connections to several super heroes. Captain America for example is a connected to the agency and often works alongside them. Refashioned into the Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate back in 1991 it carried on as it did before, just with a post cold war mentality. After the Secret Invasion story in the mid-noughties, S.H.I.E.L.D. was done away with in place of H.A.M.M.E.R. which had no real words behind those letters, but S.H.I.E.L.D. returned as it always does. Given it’s unique place in the Marvel Universe and it’s ability to connect to many different heroes for several different reasons, it made sense for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have it’s own version of SH.I.E.L.D. in this case the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, who showed up in Iron Man and Incredible Hulk back in 2008. In Hulk, they simply acted as intelligence providers and arms suppliers, but in Iron Man, we got to see the agents in action, investigating the escape of Tony Stark from the 10 rings camp. Here’s where we met Philip Coulson. Seen as an affable middle management type, he was the everyman in a strange new world, dealing with it as many would, like a job. He returned in Iron Man 2 and led the investigation into Mjolnir in the movie Thor soon after. He showed up in a couple of one-shot episodes that were on the DVD/Blu-Ray releases of these films and then had his role expanded for Avengers in 2012.
By this point, S.H.I.E.L.D. was as much of a character in the movies as anyone else and despite Samuel L Jackson owning the role of the Ultimate version of Nick Fury, it’s face was Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. His dramatic final scene in Avengers was a lovely denouement to how the films portayed the agents. A nice little finale
Then they announced a series.