Superheroes may do well at the box office, but they’ve had trouble capturing audiences on television. Aside from some modest successes on fifth-place networks (Smallville and Arrow on The CW, for example), there haven’t been too many superhero-themed shows that have performed well on the small screen. However, ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might just break the mold.
Debuting to a huge audience, the show’s pilot has received positive but mixed reviews. If you haven’t gotten into it yet, you may be wondering why you should bother. And if you were lukewarm on the premiere as some audiences and critics were, you may be looking for a reason to stick around. Don’t worry — we’ve got you.
That quintessential Whedon humor
One thing that a blockbuster budget can’t buy is great writing, and Joss Whedon never fails to bring that fourth-wall-smashing funny that’s made him such a cult favorite. While his style of humor may have been a little more niche back in the ‘90s, in the millennial age, we’re all geeks now and we’re in on the joke.
The concept offers endless possibilities
Some viewers might be disappointed that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be absent of the A-list superheroes of The Avengers franchise fame, but they shouldn’t be. The nature of S.H.I.E.L.D. as an organization basically opens the show up to a whole host of Marvel characters with interesting storylines.
A lot of these lesser-known superheroes are anything but “lesser” in terms of plot potential. While they may not put butts in seats at the theater, they often have the most intriguing backstories and exhibit more unusual superpowers than your box office level hero with his vague super-strength or his gimmicky supersuit (sorry not sorry, Tony Stark). We like to think of these second-tier heroes as akin to character actors. Paul Giamatti may not have the same box office draw as Brad Pitt, but he’s turned out to be a formidable leading man in recent years.
Patience is a virtue — especially with Whedon shows
Hey, we’re huge fans of Joss Whedon’s past works — you can have our Buffy action figures when you pry them out of our cold dead hands — but we can admit they don’t always have the best beginnings. They can be overly expository and light on action.
But viewers who see the potential behind the sometimes overly worked pilots reap great rewards. With all that exposition often comes a broader storyline full of twists and nuances that rarely seem contrived because they were set up in the beginning. Remember — even a prize racehorse had some wobbly first steps.
If you missed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Tuesday, you can still catch up! It airs again tonight (September 26) at 8 p.m. on ABC.