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TV! (Worlds changing edition)

I think a mostly-tenable position from which to enjoy Agents of SHIELD is to consider its essential cliche-nature as reflecting (or rather, being reflected by) Coulson's love of old gadgets. Its plots and acting are for the most part a throwback to a time of much kludgier television, with stock characters having entirely predictable relationships in very familiar settings.

Its biggest risk is Marvel. The series doesn't have the choice of not taking itself seriously, because the Marvel cinematic universe does (not with DC's nihilism, but still), yet to take the premise and run with it in a serious way requires basically events with consequences, and that's not something consistent with a movies-centered franchise. Whatever failings he has, I don't doubt Whedon's ability to do consequences (in that sense, Buffy's every-potential-is-an-Slayer ending ranks with Babylon 5's "out of our galaxy!" as my favorite TV endings ever), but he doesn't own the universe, and I doubt the owners will give him that leeway, not with multi-billion-dollar revenues at risk.

As for Person of Interest, I have to applaud the choice and design of the latest perpetrator, and I don't necessarily disagree with Finch, but I don't think the show goes anywhere close to engaging the politics of what it depicts. Sure, Finch is much less of a creep than Lifetrack's CEO, but just because people aren't aware of its existence, it doesn't mean that the creation and deployment of an autonomous AI with almost unlimited access to information and resources and its own agenda isn't more of a breach of implied societal contracts than everything the other guy did.

Don't get me wrong, I think Finch's solution is a pretty interesting compromise, and I don't necessarily think that "you can't trust the government and you can't trust companies, so let's build a Machine we *can* trust" is a wrong idea (actually, it's often the right one), but it's a very striking position from a political point of view (absolutism engineering?) and shouldn't be taken for granted.


cass, can you not

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