Gather round children, with the coming of half term I think it is time to examine the performance of the characters in this “could be/would be” blockbuster of a series and reflect on how they’re doing. Scores are given for Attainment (1-5, where 1 is best) and Effort (A-F, with A being best).
Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg): 2 A
Well there is no doubt about who is the star of the show, and he’s clearly giving it all he can as the too-cool-for-school (probably dead) G-Man. His acting has been effortless and his character, though mostly deadpan, has stolen most of the best lines. And yet he doesn’t hog the screen time, more’s the pity. Frankly I would happily watch the Phil and Lola show, such is his charisma. Now, if the writers would just give him a little more to work with I think we could be seeing a 1A by the mid-season break. Voted Most Likely to Bugger off Back to the Movie Series Before too Long.
Agent Melinda May (aka The Cavalary) (Ming Na Wen): 2 B
A solid effort, enlivened now they’ve got her rapidly off the “I drive the bus and don’t do action” which seemed a strange choice. Won the “Most Improved Character Since Pilot” award and may in time become the break-out character of the show. More on her back-story would be much appreciated in rounding out her rationale and drives, but frankly her partnership with Coulson is easily the best developed character dynamic of the whole series. I have high hopes for her achievements. She’s also the most beautiful member of the cast, but I can’t give her extra points for that. Voted Most Likely to tell Phil he’s Dead Before too Long.
Agent Grant Ward (Plank O’Wood): 3 C
Not unlikable but at the same time lacking any spark to make him really stand out from the pack. Could be replaced without notice by any one of hundreds of other 20-30 something studly agents and I can’t say I’d notice a discernible change of character. Like Melinda May lacks obvious character flaws, and is rather too Peter Perfect to be interesting. Unlike Melinda May, he lacks anything approaching an interesting back story or plot hook. With better attention to script and dialogue efforts for him could be so much better. Voted Least Most Likely to have a Crisis of Faith before the end of the season.
Skye (Chloe Bennet): 4 C
A pretty lady with a lovely face and figure, and could be developed into something interesting. Currently played as thought she’s Echo (from Dollhouse) stuck on a particular engram. Bright, shiny, twinkly and I am frankly sick of focusing on her as the central story. She’s just not that interesting as the sorta-hacker who might be a bad guy. Or not. Needs more genuine character dynamic. Telling Coulson and the rest to go to hell, before ploughing her own furrow for real, rather than stomp her foot like an angry teenager before saying “Sorry dad” to Grant and Phil all the time and promising to be a good girl, would be a major step in the right direction. Voted Most Likely to have an ex-Boyfriend Wherever/Whenever the Plot Demands It.
Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee (Iain de Caestecker & Elizabeth Henstridge – interchangeably): 5 F
Honestly I don’t know which of these two I find the most annoying. It was as though the writers placed the characteristics of Willow, Tara, Echo, Fred and Kaylee in a blender, and then strained out everything except the annoying parts. Serve little or no plot point except to be damsels in distress. I’m assuming the series bible requires a balance of 3 agents and 3 techs, but it seems an uneven balance. And don’t get me started on the difference between a life scientist and a medical officer (something you’d think a field team would be crying out for!). Voted Most Likely To Be Killed Off in a Climactic and Ratings Winning Bus Crash before the end of the season and replaced by actual actors.
Or even better by Ron Glass, since he was in the pilot.
The Series as a Whole: 4 B
it’s trying. It really is, but frankly comparing it to something like Heroes – which by episode 5 we had seen a heck of a lot of plot, drama, thrills, chills and brains being eaten – it’s a poor poor relation. Even Dollshouse had got over the initial T&A and developed into something quite watchable.
Chances of a second season 5:1 – given he amount of money Marvel Disney’s got tied up in this.
Chance of all of the current main cast being the S2 main cast 50:1. Changes are needed, or better yet an expansion of the supporting cast might be nice. Or is SHIELD just these 5 people these days (aside from those in the movies)?
Now if the class will please excuse me, I’ve got to go rate The Walking Dead cast before any more of them get kill…oh, for goodness sake at least some of you, try to stay alive!