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Agents Of SHIELD: Eye Spy

Agents Of SHIELD Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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#1 DWF

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:49 PM

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Coulson and the team track down a mysterious woman from Coulson's past.

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#2 Christopher

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:18 PM

Wow, this one was really firing on all cylinders, thanks to a strong script by Jeffrey Bell (his first solo effort, though he cowrote "0-8-4") and effective, stylish direction by Roxann Dawson. The opening sequence in particular was potent and creepy. I'm a little disappointed that the guys in red masks weren't Red Skull groupies or something, sort of an MCU version of Neo-Nazis, but it did subvert expectations that the people we naturally assumed to be the bad guys were actually the victims.

The plot overall was an effective spy/intrigue story with creative superscience, just the sort of thing one would expect in a S.H.I.E.L.D. series. It also gave me something of an Alias vibe -- J.J. Abrams Alias, not the Marvel comic about Jessica Jones -- which makes sense, since Bell was a producer on that show. I think this is probably the best exemplar so far of what this series is going to be, a spy-fi show with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as its backdrop. It's also the best exemplar so far of the characters and their interplay. Everything just felt deeper and more engaging than it has for the past couple of weeks. It felt like a more serious, edgy show, not as lightweight as the previous two. Let's hope it's finally finding its voice. And let's hope Dawson directs more episodes -- I feel she not only did a good job with the style and action, but brought out some really good performances.
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#3 Cardie

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:59 PM

This was my favorite episode of the series by far. The Avengers tie-in and Marvel brand mislead the viewer into suspecting a super-hero show but it's really, in Christopher's apt coinage, spy fi.  I got not only Alias vibes but those from classic 60s spy shows like Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible. After all, Coulson loves old things. :)
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#4 Christopher

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:17 AM

^Indeed. A lot of people forget that the Marvel Universe was never just about superheroes, but featured a variety of other genres all coexisting as part of the same shared universe, from SF to high fantasy to horror to mystery to romance. And by the same token, the makers of the MCU don't want a homogeneous franchise, but want to diversify into all the wide variety of genres that Marvel's intellectual property has to offer (which is why they're developing films as diverse as the spy-oriented Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the epic space opera Guardians of the Galaxy). The Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. comic was directly inspired by The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and James Bond, and was always primarily a superscience spy-adventure series. And that's what the producers decided they wanted this show to be.

And I can't take credit for coining "spy-fi." The credit probably goes to Forrest J. Ackerman, who coined "sci-fi" by analogy with the nickname "hi-fi" for high fidelity audio; in a 1982 interview, he mused that if he'd been a fan of espionage fiction instead of science fiction, he would've been inspired to coin "spy-fi," or "cry-fi" if he were a soap opera fan. And the term has come into actual use since then, enough that it has a Wikipedia entry -- defining it as spy fiction with a science fiction component, though I suspect Ackerman would've just meant it as a nickname for spy fiction in general.

Edited by Christopher, 16 October 2013 - 09:18 AM.

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#5 BklnScott

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:06 AM

"Seduce him."  :).

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#6 RJDiogenes

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 07:13 PM

Yeah, that was funny.  I also got a kick out of Sky ogling Ward with the X-ray specs at the end.  Imagine the reaction in the current political climate if it was the other way around.  :lol:

This was another great episode.  I love Coulson's loyalty to his protege, even after she has apparently turned traitor.  Things like that, his confidence in his team, lines like "That should never have happened either," are what make this show a breath of fresh air in the vast wasteland of arrested adolescence.  I hope the ratings hold up with this approach and they don't have to sell out to the lowest denominator.

I do wonder, though, if there will be any repercussions to May's unilateral involvement with the rogue agent.
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#7 NeuralClone

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:45 PM

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#8 Uncle Bob

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:16 AM

What a mess.

If you took the worst parts of Fringe and Alias and combined them you would still have a more interesting story than this garbage.

Oh noes, don't look in the mirror.....how about the numerous windows he walked past where most people with a working brain would notice their reflection!

The music is so dreadful, please make it stop.

The only series wosre than this gawd awful drek that I can think of was Buffy....maybe Farscape.

I miss the good old days of ballsy sci-fi tv like Battlestar Galactica (2004) or even Blade: The Series.

see ya next week.........


#9 FarscapeOne

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:41 AM

Whoa, whoa, whoa... hold up.  What is the problem with FARSCAPE?

Ballsy scifi tv?  FARSCAPE had that AND a hell of a lot more.

#10 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:46 AM

If this show is so dreadful, why are you bothering to watch it AND post reviews? It doesn't sound like it's worth your time. It doesn't even sound like you like the premise. It'd be like me trying to sit through every season of Grey's Anatomy or CSI or Two and a Half Men (3 shows I despise) and then complaining how bad the shows are.

And the fact that you don't include Farscape as "ballsy sci-fi" pretty much invalidates your entire post in my mind.

Edited by NeuralClone, 17 October 2013 - 08:47 AM.

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#11 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:49 AM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 17 October 2013 - 08:41 AM, said:

Whoa, whoa, whoa... hold up.  What is the problem with FARSCAPE?

Ballsy scifi tv?  FARSCAPE had that AND a hell of a lot more.
My guess? It had puppets and those "terrible" Australians. Also, it had movie level production values. You can't have that on a TV series!

Edited by NeuralClone, 17 October 2013 - 08:52 AM.

"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#12 FarscapeOne

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:53 AM

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 October 2013 - 08:46 AM, said:

And the fact that you don't include Farscape as "ballsy sci-fi" pretty much invalidates your entire post in my mind.

COMPLETELY AGREED!!!!!!

#13 BklnScott

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:10 AM

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 October 2013 - 08:49 AM, said:

Also, it had movie level production values. You can't have that on a TV series!

Apparently you can't.  At least not the way they were doing it - running up huge overages on the other side of the planet that the network didn't know about until they got the bill.  (That was Seasons 2 and 3.)  

David Kemper's post-Farscape career is the proof - which is too bad, 'cause he did some amazing work on that show.

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#14 FarscapeOne

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:21 AM

I'm still constantly surprised that I don't see Kemper writing for any series anymore.  I would watch a series simply if his name was put in the same sentence.

#15 Christopher

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:32 AM

^Kemper was a consulting producer on Rockne O'Bannon's short-lived Cult this past season. But that show was awful. Striking gold once is no guarantee that everything you work on will be as good.

Edited by Christopher, 17 October 2013 - 11:33 AM.

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#16 G-man

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:47 AM

View PostBklnScott, on 17 October 2013 - 11:10 AM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 October 2013 - 08:49 AM, said:

Also, it had movie level production values. You can't have that on a TV series!

Apparently you can't.  At least not the way they were doing it - running up huge overages on the other side of the planet that the network didn't know about until they got the bill.  (That was Seasons 2 and 3.)  

David Kemper's post-Farscape career is the proof - which is too bad, 'cause he did some amazing work on that show.

That's the key phrase.

With production going on down in Australia, the production crew had an extraordinary amount of liberty to pursue their own goals without corporate micro-management.  Unfortunately, those cutting the checks generally do not like being dictated to by the creative types any more than the creative types do by tptb.

Consequently, one can say that Farscape was an exciting experiment in SF-TV production.  Whether or not that magic can be recreated, much less in a more controlled environment, we've yet to see.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 17 October 2013 - 11:56 AM.

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#17 BklnScott

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:55 AM

^^^Agreed!  

Though I think it went beyond "without corporate micromanagement."  At a certain point, screening the dailies at Farscape meant looking at what had been shot like three days before...  That's not a sign of a healthy, functional production.  I'm not knocking the final product, mind you, which I agree holds the record as most gorgeous SF television production eva.  I imagine that record will hold until HBO does a Sci-Fi show - or a mega-budget Trek series comes to CBS.

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#18 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:24 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 17 October 2013 - 11:10 AM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 October 2013 - 08:49 AM, said:

Also, it had movie level production values. You can't have that on a TV series!

Apparently you can't.  At least not the way they were doing it - running up huge overages on the other side of the planet that the network didn't know about until they got the bill.  (That was Seasons 2 and 3.)  

David Kemper's post-Farscape career is the proof - which is too bad, 'cause he did some amazing work on that show.
That wasn't really my point.
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#19 RJDiogenes

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:03 PM

Though I oddly never managed to get into Farscape, it was undoubtedly an amazing show, as was Buffy.  nuBSG was bland and awkward "edginess" aimed at insecure teenagers who live in fear of being laughed at for watching Star Trek.  So I think what we have here is a world view that is a bit topsy turvy-- and therefore supports my opinion that SHIELD is a wonderful show.  :lol:
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#20 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:23 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 17 October 2013 - 07:03 PM, said:

nuBSG was bland and awkward "edginess" aimed at insecure teenagers who live in fear of being laughed at for watching Star Trek.
Or, it could have been aimed at science fiction fans that also happen to like dark storytelling and a willingness to actually take the survival angle to a more logical conclusion. Star Trek isn't the only sci-fi series writers can look at and it certainly isn't the ultimate sci-fi series. BSG is a very different show from Star Trek and the comparisons pretty much end at both being set on a ship in space. If there's any Star Trek comparison, BSG is Voyager with the darkness of DS9.

Furthermore, I don't understand this obsession with things being dark automatically being aimed at "insecure teenagers" and not adults. This isn't the first time you've stated something similar to this in an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. thread. Some adults actually like dark storytelling. I happen to be one of them. I personally thought the new BSG was a brilliant TV series. But I also loved Farscape. Why? Because it was also a dark show that didn't conveniently gloss over things when they got uncomfortable. Just because you personally don't like certain types of storytelling doesn't automatically mean that it's for immature/insecure viewers. It just means it's for different viewers.

The Walking Dead comic book is one of the darkest, most relentless bits of storytelling I've ever read that deals with survival, rape, torture, racism, murder, and can be extremely violent in places. It's also incredibly well-done. If that comic's target audience is also "insecure teenagers" because of its dark material (it would probably get an NC-17 rating if translated to movie form), then I'm clearly living in a very different world with a very different outlook.
"My sexuality's not the most interesting thing about me."
— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"



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