Agents of Shield a big disappointment; and then came Amador Akela

This show has been waiting for you, dear…


After watching the first four episodes of Shield I was all set to stage a bit of a rant, because up until Episode 5 I simply was not seeing what I felt I had been promised about the potential of this series. I felt like somebody who paid for a quarter pounder with cheese meal and got stuck with a plain burger instead. No bag and no wrapper.

And what has been even more confusing is that, at least from what I’ve seen so far, the series seems to be getting fairly good reviews, which leads me to believe that there must be something I’m missing here. Or maybe I was suckered into expecting too much after watching those great previews, because after all, I guess everybody oughta know the previews are pretty much designed as false advertising on purpose. Most previews I’ve seen are designed to reel you in, not to tell  the truth about what you are likely to encounter once you get there.

So OK. I got suckered. Because the previews worked. The previews were slick. The previews were cool. The previews promised a TV superhero series rivaling the better big screen superhero dramas we’ve seen, especially the X-Men. When I saw those previews of Shield it was the X-Men series that came first to mind, and I figured if they could pull off anything close to that on network TV then they would have pulled off something big.

It wasn’t until Episode 5 when Amador Akela showed up that I began to feel like hey, this still could happen. First of all, Akela is a black female with superpowers, which is something that is never, ever seen in the comic book universe. I guess maybe comic book creators feel like we black folk are just too oppressed to be able to handle the weight of  being superhuman on top of  everything else. I’d argue that if anybody needs superpowers it’s us, but more on that another time.   Funny thing is I was listening to a piece on NPR this morning that happened to be focusing specifically on the notable absence of black female superheroes, and one of the interviewees (sorry I don’t recall her name) was saying that the only black female superhero she’s aware of is Storm, that bad-ass sister who can wreak havoc with the weather. Then later this afternoon I decided to check out last week’s episode (I tape all my shows so as to speed by the commercials), and who do I see but Amador.

And let me add quickly that it’s not just because she’s black that she adds so much to the show. What makes her strong is her performance. From the moment she first appears on the screen she becomes a center of gravity, and she is most definitely fierce. This was a trait sorely missing from all the other characters, most of whom are simply too damned cute and (trying to be) witty. Seems like every other line that’s written for them has to demonstrate some writer’s need to demonstrate how clever he/she is. Not that I have anything against clever dialogue. I loved Iron Man 1 and 3, and Tony Stark is pretty much a walking, talking witticism. It worked. But with Shield, the cutesy clever thing has just been boiling over to the point where the action/drama barely registers. This series needed a heavy hitter, and Akela is it.

Prior to this episode, I felt like what the creators of this series had managed to pull off  was a slight-of-hand trick where, with the right lighting, the shadow of a squirrel could create the image of an intimidating bear. But once the light is turned off, the bear was nowhere to be seen. Now there’s the chance that the image behind the curtain just may turn out to be actual size.

If only they don’t succumb to the temptation to make Akela as cute as the rest of the cast…


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About the author
Writer and musician.



2016-05-17 11:36:31 Reply

If your arlitces are always this helpful, “I’ll be back.”

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