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Agents Of SHIELD: The Bridge

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

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#41 NeuralClone

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:22 PM

View PostDWF, on 15 December 2013 - 09:57 PM, said:

Denise Crosby asked to be le go it wasn't a matter of the writers not knowing how to write for her character
Right. She asked to be let go. Because they weren't doing anything with her character. Not only did they kill her off, but they killed her off in one of the dumbest ways possible. A freaking sentient oil slick.

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and blwoing up Maddox's head was a risk.
And that risk had no lasting impact on the show or the characters, which goes back to my point that it was contained in a vacuum. It served no purpose except to show someone's head explode. Monk took risks in individual episodes too (many of them would have had an enormous effect on the series and would have put a different spin on things) but everything was always reset by the next episode. Not only was it reset, but the events were completely ignored as if they had never happened.

For me, that takes me right out of a story because it isn't remotely realistic. I have no reason to invest in any of the characters because nothing ultimately matters. They could have a terrible thing happen to them one week and it's completely forgotten the following week. They could have a life-changing experience one week and then it doesn't matter a week later. That's playing it safe and is not the kind of writing I personally enjoy. Agents of SHIELD isn't quite on that level as it does remember what happens to its characters to some extent. But it could still be doing so much more with the premise and it just isn't at the moment. The show likes to stick to an established norm and doesn't really vary from it.

Edited by NeuralClone, 15 December 2013 - 11:24 PM.

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#42 enTranced

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:30 AM

Star Trek nerd alert! Conspiracy WAS followed up on it's just that the little critters were to expensive and they became the Borg. But I do love Conspiracy and I wish we could have got the bugs instead.

*ahem*

Anyway:

I don't mind changes in my comics when they move to the big screen and sometimes I love them. I mean I never liked Thor the comic, but I love the big guy on the movie screen. But that said, Thor is still recognizable in the big screen. We have Thor, Asgard and Loki all there. Thor is a great adaptation as is all the recent Marvel movies except Ang Lee's first Hulk movie which sadly should have been amazing but wasn't.

I have always enjoyed Green Arrow as a guest star in the other DC comics I read just because I am a fan of the more badass superheroes not guys with a bow and arrow ya know? Wonder Woman can punch tanks, Superman has his heat vision and Batman, well nobody can crash through a window nearly as well as he can. But I knew Green Arrow and liked him. There was probebly adozen heroes I would have rather had a weekly series before Green Arrow but hey, as a DC fan I don't have much choice so when CW promised me a Green Arrow show I checked it out.

Sadly when I watched I saw a DC Universe with all the wonder of that universe stripped out and replaced with gritty realism. Blah, Worse they dragged out Smallville's 10 year old annoying schtick of not allowing the starring hero to say his own name. Bleck. So once again we had him go from The Hood to Arrow and maybe someday just before the show ends we will have somebody say Green Arrow. I didn't like it on Smallville but I stuck around for that show because I love me some Superman even when he is the Red/Blue Blur. I came very, very close to removing Arrow from my watch list because I don't have that same love for Green Arrow. but then John Barrowman showed up damn him. But it was worth it because this year, as I said above HAS been better. I was cringing with slamming Black Canary into a Batman sized hole but at least I wasn't violently ill like I was for their "Huntress" and yes I do need air quotes around her name because UGH.

And because of all that, sorry but I AM enjoying MAOS more, maybe because I have never read the comics and don't get the horrible damage the show is doing to the comics but what can I say. Ming Na used a Farscape-ism* and I was cheering. :)

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PS : if you didn't watch Farscape it was the "One mistake at a time." Ben Browder should be proud.of her.
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#43 DWF

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 05:53 AM

Denise Crosby left to continue her nonexistant movie career, she returned quickly enough time and again to TNG. Still not all risksare followed up on and really taking risks aren't Agents OF Shield's problem, the show needs focus and a mission statement of some kind so way to define the series.

Edited by DWF, 16 December 2013 - 06:04 AM.

The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

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#44 enTranced

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 11:35 AM

View PostDWF, on 16 December 2013 - 05:53 AM, said:

Still not all risksare followed up on and really taking risks aren't Agents OF Shield's problem, the show needs focus and a mission statement of some kind so way to define the series.

THIS.

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#45 DWF

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:17 PM

In the end though much of this is armchair quarterbacking, the series hasn't failed yet and it's still going though growing pains. NCIS is still serious competition as I said when the schedule came out, maybe a shift to another night might be helpful.
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

"Don't mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend." - Keith R.A. DeCandido

#46 NeuralClone

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 03:38 PM

All they've done with Green Arrow and Black Canary is remove the colors from their names. Their costumes are still the right colors. The core of their names and identities are mostly intact. The Canary even has her sonic scream in the form of a device. Oliver uses a bow and has trick arrows. Oliver's MO has evolved as the series has progressed and so has his name. He's getting closer and closer to his comic book counterpart. He even has an actual mask now. The show started as an origin story and its evolved since then. I think it's great that we've gotten to see how the character has dealt with early issues in his vigilante career. It isn't something we often get to see much of in live action.

Edited by NeuralClone, 16 December 2013 - 04:26 PM.

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#47 RJDiogenes

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 08:15 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 15 December 2013 - 08:04 PM, said:

View PostRJDiogenes, on 15 December 2013 - 07:14 PM, said:

I keep seeing people talking about "playing it safe" and "taking risks."  What exactly does that mean?
Seriously? You're unfamiliar with what "playing it safe" and "taking risks" mean as far as writing goes?  
Being a professional writer, I do know something about writing. ;)  I was asking for examples or at least some clarification in context.  If there is a risk, that means there is something to be lost or gained.  In a social climate where it's fashionable to have highly serialized stories populated by corrupt, unlikeable characters, SHIELD is taking a risk by being more episodic and using likeable characters that manage to work together and respect each other despite their differences.  So what exactly do people mean when they say SHIELD should be risky?  What exactly should SHIELD do?

None of the examples given here strike me as risky.  How was killing Tasha risky?  How was "Conspiracy" risky?  They were good stories, which is what I'm looking for, but I don't see any risk involved.

You use Monk as an example of "safe" storytelling.  Monk was an episodic series whose purpose was to tell a mystery story in each episode.  What should have been different?  Episodic storytelling is as old as the Human race.  Are you telling me Sherlock Holmes sucked because Conan Doyle told a different story in every story?

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An example of taking a risk to push the story and characters forward would be the first time Lois Lane discovered that Clark Kent is Superman. That upset the established balance. It pushed the story in a different direction. Killing off Superman was another risk that brought the story in a direction that wasn't familiar. It was uncharted territory for the characters and the story.
So when you say risk you mean changing the status quo.  Lois Lane discovering Clark Kent's identity does that, although killing Superman did not.  There was never a chance he wouldn't come back.  I suppose the John Crichton example is probably accurate, too, but I'm unfamiliar with the show.  So it comes down to a question of episodic versus serialized storytelling.  I like both, but I'm rather sick of serialized storytelling on TV, since it usually amounts to gimmickry and pointless character deaths.  I like SHIELD because it focuses on the characters and tells a good, solid story in one episode.
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#48 DWF

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 08:41 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 16 December 2013 - 08:15 PM, said:

  I like both, but I'm rather sick of serialized storytelling on TV, since it usually amounts to gimmickry and pointless character deaths.  I like SHIELD because it focuses on the characters and tells a good, solid story in one episode.

Risk alll depends on how you define it, putting TNG on the air in the first place was a risk, the reaction to it was more extreme than your reaction to the JJ Abrams movies. Taking a risk on television or in the movies depends on what you can get away with, killing off a main character is a risk imagine what it was like when William Hartnell regenerated into Patrick Troughton. It has nothing to do with serialized or episodic television it al depends on your point of view.
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

"Don't mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend." - Keith R.A. DeCandido

#49 RJDiogenes

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:13 PM

It just doesn't seem to be a meaningful term here.  What could they possibly do that could be considered risky?  Realistically speaking.  They're not going to send everyone back in time and turn it into a dinosaur show.  They're not going to start dealing with controversial social issues like abortion or religion.  They're not going to have Coulson retire to Tahita and follow his wacky escapades with the local ladies.  They might kill somebody or have somebody turn traitor, but that's not risky these days.
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#50 G-man

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:41 AM

Honestly, I'm not a fan of many serialized storylines.

Some of them work, others, not so much.  Much of the problem is just how formulaic they become; especially on TV.  Which, unfortunately, negates most of the drama of the mid-season (or season) ender.

My prediction for Agents of SHIELD given the cliffhanger:  Coulson will be rescued by our gang who go forth against orders from SHIELD; Ward is merely injured and will soon return to the team; the guest star might be dead (just to show how E-vil, Centipede is and raise the stakes); and May will eventually warm to Skye who will play a major role in rescuing Coulson.  At some point we will discover that not only are Skye's parents not dead, but they are also part of Centipede and Coulson and May know this.

/s/

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#51 NeuralClone

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 06:52 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 16 December 2013 - 08:15 PM, said:

Being a professional writer, I do know something about writing. ;) I was asking for examples or at least some clarification in context.  If there is a risk, that means there is something to be lost or gained.  In a social climate where it's fashionable to have highly serialized stories populated by corrupt, unlikeable characters, SHIELD is taking a risk by being more episodic and using likeable characters that manage to work together and respect each other despite their differences.  So what exactly do people mean when they say SHIELD should be risky?  What exactly should SHIELD do?
Agents of SHIELD has a huge opportunity to explore the organization they're a part of and a part of the MCU we haven't seen much of (i.e., the non-superpowered people having to deal with the sudden shift in the world). It has done a rather poor job doing that so far. It's setup multiple story arcs and has sat on all of them for half of a season. There are mysteries that have been introduced that also haven't advanced. At the very least the show should be slowly advancing those storylines while telling its standalone stories. Supernatural managed to do that. Farscape did it.

There's no reason why SHIELD can't satisfy both types of viewers. Instead they only seem interested in catering to people that need to be hand held through every story. While I'm not judging people that like that sort of thing, it is playing it safe. And it definitely isn't for me.

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None of the examples given here strike me as risky.  How was killing Tasha risky?  How was "Conspiracy" risky?  They were good stories, which is what I'm looking for, but I don't see any risk involved.
Those weren't my examples. I think DWF was the one that offered them as being risky. I personally don't think those were particularly risky moves. Killing Tasha Yar couldn't have been handled more poorly if they had tried. It was only risky in the sense that it was done so suddenly and in such a poor manner. Seriously. A sentient oil slick? "Conspiracy" was largely all about shock value and a "risky" exploding head. It could have been an interesting story arc if they had actually followed up on it. Unfortunately, that never happened. (The introduction of the Borg doesn't count since in-universe they were a completely different threat even if those aliens were effectively replaced by them.)

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You use Monk as an example of "safe" storytelling.  Monk was an episodic series whose purpose was to tell a mystery story in each episode.  What should have been different?  Episodic storytelling is as old as the Human race.  Are you telling me Sherlock Holmes sucked because Conan Doyle told a different story in every story?
I don't have a problem with episodic storytelling. I have never stated that I do. Please stop making that assumption. :)

What I have a problem with is an episodic story that introduces major, sweeping changes that would completely change the premise of an overall series...and then discards them at the end of the episode only to return to the status quo with no explanation other than the fact that the formula must be maintained at all costs. I find that boring, unrealistic writing that takes me right out of the story. Monk's "case of the week" format was fine. It was repetitive and probably should have had a few shakeups along the way to keep things fresh as it burnt itself out rather fast. But conceptually it was ok for those that like that kind of thing. The few times that it did episodes that shook things up (like, major changes to Monk and his outlook), everything was forgotten the following week. It set up a storyline and then just discarded it like it never happened. You're setting up the viewer with certain expectations and then taking them away for no apparent reason. That's just bad storytelling.

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So when you say risk you mean changing the status quo.  Lois Lane discovering Clark Kent's identity does that, although killing Superman did not.  There was never a chance he wouldn't come back.  I suppose the John Crichton example is probably accurate, too, but I'm unfamiliar with the show.  So it comes down to a question of episodic versus serialized storytelling.  I like both, but I'm rather sick of serialized storytelling on TV, since it usually amounts to gimmickry and pointless character deaths.
Again, it isn't just about episodic versus serialized storytelling. There are plenty of shows that do both. Farscape was largely an episodic series for about half of its run. It wasn't until seasons 3 and 4 that it took a more serialized approach. In that case it was out of necessity simply because of the story they wanted to tell (the show was split between episodes on Moya and episodes on Talyn). The format before that was very similar to Supernatural's format early on. Episodic stories that slowly advanced the main plot with larger arc episodes that dealt exclusively with the main story.

Character deaths can and are important in certain storylines. It would be unrealistic to tell a serious story about war, for example, and have all of your main character miraculously survive. Sometimes a story demands for the death of a certain character to act as a catalyst for bigger events. Ned Stark's death in "A Song of Ice and Fire" (and likewise, Game of Thrones) serves such a purpose. It starts the War of Five Kings, creates a power vacuum in the north, and causes major repercussions throughout Westeros. It sets the stage for the larger story and the game of thrones the high lords start to play. That's only one example of course.

I agree that some shows use character deaths as a pointless gimmick. Torchwood was really bad for this. That show just killed off characters for the hell of it and there weren't usually any good reasons as to why. My counterpoint is that there are many shows that don't use character deaths that way and actually deal with the fallout of the character's death. The deaths have an impact on the story moving forward.

The bottom line is that serialized storytelling doesn't automatically mean that character deaths will be treated as a pointless gimmick. I don't think equating makes a tremendous amount of sense in most cases.

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I like SHIELD because it focuses on the characters and tells a good, solid story in one episode.
Conceptually that's fine. The problem is Agents of SHIELD isn't telling good, solid stories. It's telling bland, tired stories that have been told many times over (and often better) on other shows. Its characters are largely walking cliches that also spout cliched, predictable dialogue. There's a serious problem when you can jump around in an episode and know exactly how every scene is likely to play out.

This problem is made worse by their introduction of a larger story arc and character arcs. If they just had the case of the week, then I probably would have just given up early on and moved on to other shows. But they introduced multiple mysteries as a way to hook viewers...and then they did nothing remotely interesting with them. The story is just moving way too slow. It's slower than Lost. Now that's a feat and a half... :hehe:

Edited by NeuralClone, 18 December 2013 - 06:55 PM.

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#52 RJDiogenes

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 07:04 PM

Well, I don't agree with everything you say, but I guess I understand better what you're looking for.  I don't think risky is the word for it.  But I think the issue may be that this is the equivalent of a Marvel comic for television-- it's not that the status quo must be maintained, it's that the world outside the window has to mirror ours.  In the comics, no matter what super-advanced technology Reed Richards invents or what kind of amazing new mutants appear or how many times aliens invade, the world must continue to look like ours.  It's just a conceit of the medium.

As for Tasha, I've heard that complaint before, but I think that was the intent of the story.  That death can strike without warning and carry no meaning.  You don't always die sacrificing yourself to save a busload of kids-- sometimes you just choke on a peach pit.
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