Agents of Shield Christian Perfas
Set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” explores the more human side of affairs in a world of superheroes and expertly balances playful and serious themes. Currently in its first season, the show’s mid-season premiere aired in early January. With a healthy dose of action and humor, a handful of appearances by recognizable characters from the Marvel franchise and numerous nods to the source material, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is perfectly suited to fulfill the demands of comic book fans and action aficionados hungry for more content from Marvel Studios. For those who may still be feeling a bit lost: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is set in the same “universe” established by recent Marvel superhero movies – with the most relevant being The Avengers, given that the series picks up where that movie left off. The program aims to redirect focus from these super-powered stars to the regular activities of the secretive organization that supervises them. It is essentially a show that comes from a perspective that differs from those in the films, demonstrating how ordinary individuals function in a world filled with such larger-than-life characters, and it does an excellent job expanding the mythos and introducing other interesting but lesser known Marvel characters. While the challenge of a movie-to-television adaptation has stifled many a production team, Marvel Studios thankfully has Joss Whedon behind the reins, who helped to amplify the success of the collaborative Avengers film and has past experience in such adaptations. Whedon’s creative expertise and vision are evident in the writing and character development within the series and help keep the show engaging. With the central, easily recognizable character Phil Coulson acting as the medium between mediums, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” effectively manages to establish a sense of authenticity that so many other adaptations fail to cement in its viewers. Though still in its developmental stage, the show opened strongly after its month-long hiatus. Viewer reception has been mixed from both critics and fans, but the series has potential and plenty of time to convince its more skeptical audiences.u
The momentum Lena Dunham generated from both critics and worshippers of the first two seasons of HBO’s “Girls” continues in the show’s third season but with a few twists. Hannah, our leading lady, has found solid ground with her highly unique “partner, lover, rent-sharer” Adam. Her stability gives this season new excitement as her professional career is finally headed in the right direction and serves as a new source for Hannah’s hyper-dramatic humor. On the other hand, Charlie’s character is gone because actor Christopher Abbott decided to leave the show, which leaves Hannah’s former roommate Marnie to flail as the season begins. As a viewer and a writer, it’s nice to see Hannah perfect her stroke while Marnie treads water for now, flipping their roles from season two. Shoshanna has decided to balance academia and partying in her senior year at New York University in order to “enjoy both sides” as she becomes a mature adult. She adds lightness to the show with unpredictable and usually unintentional humor as she watches her friends struggle to survive in the real world. Her lifestyle change is juxtaposed with Ray’s “career success” – his new position as manager of a Cafe Grumpy in Brooklyn Heights – but we see him continue to struggle with their break-up in the beginning of the season. Ray and Shosh show no compatibility this season, making me wonder how they ever dated in the first place – I’ll have to go back and watch season two again. Forget all about that though, as the true focus of the season’s opening was the return of Jessa, in the form of a phone call: “Don’t scream, relax … I’m in rehab.” Hannah immediately takes Jessa’s word and agrees to come get her from rehab, which provides the viewers with great humor to Jessa’s rehab experiences, from her pleasuring Danielle Brooks from “Orange is the New Black,” to the road trip on which Hannah, Adam and Shosh embark.
BBC’s “Sherlock” is the latest British craze to hit American airways. Now early into its third season, “Sherlock” portrays the familiar iconic British detective solving crime in modern day England. Season two ended with one of the most talked-about cliffhangers in recent TV history. Sherlock’s supposed suicide and later-revealed survival of his fall from the roof of St. Barts Hospital had fans of the show coming up with a wide range of theories. Even though the show’s creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, have everyone awaiting the solution, the real anticipated moment comes with the reveal of his survival to his mourning friend, John Watson, after two years. While the superficial lure of the show is Sherlock’s speedy deductions and comical detachment from normal social interactions, the real core of the show is the unique friendship between Holmes and Watson. Brilliantly represented by rising stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, season three finds the famous duo reuniting to fight a new array of criminals. Episode one titled “The Empty Hearse” tackles Sherlock’s re-emergence and the threat of an underground terrorist network in England. This is followed by “The Sign of Three,” in which Sherlock must prevent a murder at Watson’s own wedding while juggling being best man, an even greater task for him. The season finale “His Last Vow” will see Holmes and Watson trying to take down newspaper mogul and professional blackmailer, Charles Augustus Magnussen, who has sensitive information on someone close to them. Currently, the writing and acting of “Sherlock” is unparalleled in television. As a loyal fan of the show, season three doesn’t fail to live up to expectations and is definitely a must-watch for fans old and new. Make sure to appreciate these three 90-minute gems while you can; “Sherlock” is known for its rather lengthy and unbearable wait between seasons. The third episode of season three of “Sherlock” airs Sunday Feb. 2 at 9:58 p.m. on PBS.