TV: Agents bore, Sherlock score

TV: Agents bore, Sherlock score
Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson (above) is a highlight of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The big question about Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. that is bigger than even the Giant Man comic book character is this:

Where are the superheroes? In the way you name-drop influential people in a job interview, there are references only to Thor, Captain America and Tony Stark (aka Iron Man).

This series is set after the big alien invasion in last year's The Avengers movie, in which Shield agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) appears to die after suffering what had to be a fatal zap.

Here, he is resurrected to front this new team - he was healed in Tahiti. "It's a magical place," he keeps repeating with trademark serenity as a running joke.

However, since Shield, as Iron Man once described, is a CIA-like agency that has secrets that have secrets, you can bet that there will be more to this matter in later episodes.

So what is wrong with this muchhyped show driven by The Avengers director Joss Whedon and his brother Jed? The plots are not imaginative and, except for Gregg's Agent Coulson and Ming-Na Wen's Nikita-like Melinda May, the good guys - a prettied-up hip squad of young faces - are so boring you would settle for anybody from the movies, even super-Jurassic Marvel creator Stan Lee himself, to pop up and take over.

The stock characters seem to have been taken right out of the scriptwriter's playbook: resident hunk/action man Agent Ward (Brett Dalton), two chatty Brit tech nerds Fitz and Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge), and right up there front and centre is genius computer hacker Skye (half-Chinese cutie Chloe Bennet).

Worst of all, the people with special powers here which Shield identifies and tracks are decidedly fifth-rate so far.

Five episodes in and the only supercharged villains I have seen look just like escapees from that defunct series, Heroes (2006-2010), with similar issues of misunderstood angst and oh-so-predictable problems of not knowing what to make of their strange abilities.

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