I’ve gotten very into listening to podcasts lately, and one of my favorites is Welcome to Level Seven. Basically, it’s two guys who love the Marvel Cinematic Universe so hard, they started a podcast about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. almost six months ahead of the shows premier.
I’m still catching up on their episodes, but I very much enjoy Ben Avery and Daniel Butcher’s analysis and perspective, but what I’ve noticed about the hosts, and the various listeners who are interacting with them, is that they want this Agents to be Firefly. Both Ben and Daniel admit to loving Firefly but not having much familiarity with Whedon’s other work.
It’s not just them though. Many people who respond to their show seem angry that the focus isn’t on Agent Coulson as Mal Reynolds and everyone else taking their parts in turn. (May as Zoe, Ward as Jayne, etc.) I have to admit, I had this idea in my head too, but I was far less disappointed than these others seemed to be, because well, this show isn’t Firefly, it’s Angel.
Coulson treats his team much more like how Angel treated Angel Investigations than how Mal treated the crew of The Serenity. His attitude towards Skye is far closer to Angel’s treatment of Cordie (in seasons 1-3 before they fell in love) than of Mal’s treatment of Kaylee. He’s hands off, and on at the same time. He can get the job done on his own, but it’s nice to have people who have his back.
Grant Ward is Wesley. I made this comparison back during the pilot, but it holds true. Despite Ward’s attempts to fit in with the group, assimilate and stop being kind of tied to the rules he can’t. Remind you of any adorable British book types?
Let’s talk about Skye for a minute. I mentioned before that she’s Cordelia Chase. And so much of reminds me of Cordie (again, this is Angel Cordie, not Buffy Cordie. So, less whining.) While it gets kind of annoying to hear her say, “I’m a hacker” over and over again, I think we can all agree that it’s along the same lines as “I’m an actress” right?
Fitz and Simmons are Fred. Period. I love them as much, I want to protect them as much. They’re just as useful in unexpected ways.
Melina May is Charles Gunn. She is. She’s a stone cold bad ass with a past that haunts her. She’s the one you want having your back in a fight. She’s the one with all the skills.
And so, Ben and Daniel and other Welcome to Level 7 listeners, don’t expect Agents to be Firefly, then it will be better.
Expect it to be Angel, and you’ll absolutely love it.