Not to get all Morpheus on you, but: what if some of us Whedonistas have been approaching Agents of SHIELD off focus, just a bit?
Sure, I’ve been among the fans who have been critical of the show during most of its’ freshman season, with a good deal of that dissatisfaction aimed at the ostensible audience POV character, Skye (Chloe Bennet) — and this was before we found out she might be an extraterrestrial sort-of object of considerable power, on top of being a super-hacker.
So after what felt like two years’ worth of hype, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D finally debuted Tuesday night, offering up a potentially interesting new platform through which to explore the Marvel Movieverse, as well as a show featuring women of color in both the primary ensemble (Chloe Bennet and Ming-Na Wen) and the creative team (executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen). And that’s without counting the welcome return of Firefly‘s Ron Glass and Angel‘s J. August Richards to Whedonville.
As promised, the show doesn’t skimp on digging deep for its connections to the Marvel movie universe, referencing not just Avengers, but Iron Man 3 and Captain America in major ways. But how did our roving reviewers feel about it? They traded some thoughts after the premiere.
Under the cut you’ll find the panels and presentations for Thursday and Friday at San Diego Comic Con 2013. Arturo and I will be live-tweeting panels throughout the four days (follow the official Racialicious account @Racialicious, Art @aboynamedart, and myself @wriglied to stay on top of things), and providing wrap ups and pictures afterwards. Asterisked events indicate things we’re definitely planning on attending, while the others are recommendations that just look interesting or fun.
If you’re just planning on wandering around and you happen to see either of us don’t hesitate to say hello! For my part, I’ll be the exhausted looking Black girl dressed as either a Captain America USO girl, a Teen Wolf lacrosse player, Maxine from Batman Beyond, or Indiana Jones.
Let us know in the comments if you have questions for specific panels via the comments, and stay tuned for Saturday and Sunday programming coming later today.
We don’t know much, aside from it having been described as a “high-concept cop show,” that presumably takes place in the SHIELD of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (shown, so far, in Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Whedon’s Avengers). Unfortunately, the following character descriptions released this week seem to harken back to tropes and characters he’s already written. And written again.
Skye: This late-20s woman sounds like a dream: fun, smart, caring and confident–with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm.
Agent Grant Ward: Quite the physical specimen and “cool under fire,” he sometimes botches interpersonal relations. He’s a quiet one with a bit of a temper, but he’s the kind of guy that grows on you.
Agent Althea Rice: Also known as “The Calvary,” this hardcore soldier has crazy skills when it comes to weapons and being a pilot. But her experiences have left her very quiet and a little damaged.
Agent Leo Fitz and Agent Jemma Simmons: These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other’s company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies–she deals with biology and chemistry, he’s a whiz at the technical side of weaponry.
Maybe I’m too familiar with Whedon’s work, but this reads as a potential recasting of Firefly. And while the roles are all listed as open ethnicity and nationality, I’m willing to bet the “fun, smart, caring, and confident” Skye is cast as white while the “damaged, hardcore soldier” goes to a woman of color.
By Guest Contributor Michael Le, cross-posted from Racebending
Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.
I’ve been a fan of Joss Whedon for many, many years. I’ve seen every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer more times than I’d care to admit. I have the complete Angel 30-disc DVD box set. I have two signed copies of Dollhouse S1 on Blu-ray (one to watch and one to keep). My girlfriend recorded her own versions of the music from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and I have my very own copy of Titan AE.
Phew, there I said it. Sure I admire Whedon’s gender politics, but I find his dialogue and characters glib and unbelievable.
But my real problem with Whedon is much more superficial.
While most people were enjoying the full use of their patella, I spent last July lying in front of the TV after having the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee repaired. To cheer me up my loving roommates bought me the boxset of Firefly. I loved the movie Serenity and I will always have a soft spot for Buffy (well, seasons 1 & 2) so I was pretty thrilled. But after the first episode opened with a coupla blonde actors speaking some sort of mangled hybrid of Mandarin and Cantonese, I wasn’t so sure.
After screening several episodes where – apart from being space cowboys and quasi-anarchists – the cast of the show wear kimonos, carry paper parasols, and talk about making pau, I started to get more and more annoyed. But was I just being a jerk? What was so wrong with the array of East Asian symbols and decor on the set of Firefly? Was I preventing myself from enjoying a perfectly good TV show by being some sort of yellow fever watchdog? Read the Post joss whedon and the blurry line between homage and appropriation