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Why your next TV binge should be... Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

Looking for a superhero series with brains AND a heart? Here it is.
Feb 17th 2017, 8:00 PM 14,961 35

Your Next TV Binge is TheJournal.ie’s new Friday feature, recommending a box set for you to get stuck into over the weekend. This week: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. 

AFTER THE MASSIVE cinematic success of superhero franchises, it didn’t take very long for TV to follow suit. But with so many different shows vying for your attention, which one should you devote your entire weekend(s) to?

You can choose from the bright and poppy likes of The Flash or Supergirl, the dementedly OTT offerings of Gotham, the dark and dangerous Jessica Jones and Daredevil… or alternatively, something that is a mix of all three: Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD.

The series follows on from the events of the first Avengers movie, in which (FIVE YEAR OLD SPOILER ALERT!) Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is killed by big bad guy Loki. We pick up with Coulson very much alive and well, and attempting to recruit new members to the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division (good thing that acronym worked out so well).

The mystery of Coulson’s resurrection, plus week-by-week investigations into new and unusual events and people: as well as tying in nicely to the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these are the structures that put Agents Of SHIELD head and shoulders above its TV competitors.

Source: Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

The show’s first episode was directed and co-written by Joss Whedon (yup, the guy who directed the Avengers movies), who has since stayed on as an executive producer – which is how the show has maintained such a close-knit relationship with the overall Marvel universe.

Samuel L Jackson pops up as Nick Fury early on in a post-credits sequence, while season one episode The Well shows the SHIELD crew attempting to clean up London after the explosive climax of Thor: The Dark World. Later episodes in season two set up for the opening sequence of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, and later episodes still deal with the aftermath of that movie’s nation-destroying events.

Fans of the Marvel Universe will already know that SHIELD was destroyed and disbanded after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and tentatively put back together in the lead up to Captain America: Civil War. What this show does really well is to fill in the blanks between these events – giving each movie a wider and deeper context, while simultaneously creating a standalone story.

Source: Giphy

Which isn’t to say that Agents Of SHIELD is entirely beholden to the movies. Coulson has surrounded himself with a great cast of characters, including the very Whedon-esque kick-ass female Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), the charming but shady Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), and the hacktivist newbie Daisy “Skye” Johnson (Chloe Bennett). While the movies have to lay the ground for their characters at a sprint, this show can give them more room – and watching these characters develop, change, switch loyalties, figure out their respective pasts and (GASP!) double-cross each other becomes more emotionally involving, the more time you spend in their company.

Source: Giphy

Plus there are bigger narratives at play. The show introduces viewers to The Inhumans – a massive comic book franchise in their own right, and soon to be getting their own TV show. And the still-airing fourth season introduces Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) as the newest member of SHIELD, which has taken the storyline into much darker and – following on from Doctor Strange – more fantastical territories.

Perhaps the real magic behind Agents Of SHIELD is that it is both part of a much bigger story, and completely accessible to those who haven’t seen the Marvel movies. The events of those movies are constantly forcing the show’s setup to twist and change. It feeds the concept of a ‘universe of stories’ – yes, even some stuff from Guardians Of The Galaxy gets a look in here – while also remaining intimate and interesting enough to warrant a massive fanbase of its own.

Plus, as we mentioned earlier, this is a Whedon show. So anyone who knows any of his previous TV work – Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse – will know not to get too attached to anyone, because the second you do, Whedon will make sure to kill them off in the most emotional way possible.

And if that’s not the best compliment we can give to a show, we don’t know what is.

Source: tvpromosdb/YouTube

So where can I watch it? The fourth series of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is currently airing on Channel 4.

Read all our TV binge recommendations here>

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Rory Cashin

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