Thursday, October 1, 2015

Some thoughts on 'Gotham,' 'Agents of SHIELD'

Call it two hours of weakness. Or boredom, I'm not sure which.

On Monday night, I decided to check in with "Gotham" (the second episode of Season 2) and last night I watched the entire Season 3 opener of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

My thoughts haven't changed much about either series.

Monday's episode of "Gotham" confirmed what I thought about the last part of last season — that I wasn't missing much. Also, I'm by no means a prude, but there's just waaaaay too much bloodshed for an 8 o'clock show.

With Season 2 titled "Rise of the Villains," my concern remains the same from last season — that the writers will run through all of Batman's soon-to-be enemies and have nothing else to use for more stories. And do each and every one of them have to chew scenery in ways that would make William Shatner and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face blush?

With David Mazouz only 14 years old, even two years from now is too soon for the writers to push young Bruce Wayne into the Batsuit.

Not unlike "Smallville" and the story of a pre-Superman Clark Kent, the Powers That Be for "Gotham" have to be very careful with the pacing of this show and just how many villains and secondary characters get introduced. In the opinion of this lifelong Batman fan, I doubt there could be much a payoff at this pace.

That pacing also becomes problematic with (mild spoiler alert here for the DVR crowd!) Commissioner Sarah Essen getting killed by the leader of the Maniax gang, the young man it seems who will be The Joker. (End spoiler) This is the second commissioner already in the Gotham City PD. Does this mean Detective Jim Gordon (a still great Ben McKenzie) finally will be named commish or are there more hurdles for him to go through? Again, that question goes back to pacing.

It's a big problem when I could care less about Mazouz's Wayne. I just don't buy that he has what it takes to be Batman, aside from his disdainful treatment of butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee, whose character isn't getting nearly enough meaty things to do).

Where's Wayne's drive and determination? His I'll-stop-at-nothing attitude? Heck, even his desire to fight crime?

One last thing: I'm somewhat interested in the relationship Alfred is building with Chris Calk's Lucius Fox and even though there's still great chemistry between McKenzie's Gordon and his detective partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) — there's not enough for me to come back to FOX at 8 p.m. on Mondays.

There's no doubt I'm much more interested in "Supergirl," which likely will be on at the same time. There's no contest there! "Supergirl" -- which looks it should be a lot of fun -- premieres at 8:30 p.m. EST Oct. 26 on CBS.

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

As I've said before, I'm not sure how this ABC series was renewed past Season 1. Yet here we are with Season 3.

"Agents" served its purpose after the first season — to answer some questions left over from "The Avengers" and let Marvel fans know what happened after the 2012 film.

Granted, I didn't watch much of Season 2, but I will say it was intriguing to see what S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fate was after being in shambles from the events in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

But then the agency went from an underground, barely existing operation early in Season 2 to seemingly back in full force. What did I miss?

From what I gathered from Tuesday's episode, this season seems to be nothing more than a big set-up for the films "Ms. Marvel," I mean "Captain Marvel" (to be released Nov. 2, 2018), possibly even "Doctor Strange" (Nov. 4, 2016) and certainly, "Inhumans" (not out until July 12, 2019 for Pete's sake!).

Sadly, even with all the "inhuman" characters introduced in the TV series, it's doubtful any of them will make any sort of appearance in any of those Marvel Studios films. (If it's OK for "Agents" to name-check events from the "Avengers" films" and "The Winter Soldier," why can't it be good the other way around? What's good for the goose is good for the gander, I've always heard. ...)

"Agents" lacks focus -- that is, the series doesn't have its own focus aside from chasing the tail of Marvel's movie empire.

Much like the world of "Star Wars" when it's the Rebel Alliance/Resistance taking on the Empire, the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization is at its best when its agents are on secret agent-type missions or fighting Hydra (or both preferably!) -- as is happening on the big screen and in the comic books. That's the kind of TV series I want to see! Sadly, it's not what Marvel, ABC and Disney are delivering.

Much like "Gotham," I can't see me returning to "Agents" on a regular basis. Unless I'm bored or there's nothing else for me to watch at the same time.

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