Marvel's Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D quickly fell into a trap I had hoped it would somehow avoid: technology is magic.
I can suspend my disbelief enough to accept that some entities have technology beyond the average citizen--that's barely even a suspension of belief; however, in the movies that led up to it, Shield's technology was somewhat tame unless it referenced an earlier film. We had some fancy vehicles, transparent computer screens and, of course, the physics-defying helicarrier that could become invisible, but the rest of Shield hovered somewhere near real-world limits.
I had hoped that with their command center based on a real airplane, that perhaps the show would be more grounded. Sure, we might see dazzling computer displays everywhere, maybe even a hologram or two, but I had hoped the producers would keep technology reasonable.
But no, it's magic. It can do anything, yet it continually fails to solve anything unless it does so conveniently and with techno-babble, and no regard for reason or established science. And other times it will be oddly unable to solve anything at all. Thus, technology-as-magic weakens many stories.
And the reason we call it "magic" is we don't know what technology can and cannot do. Now that a 1962 Corvette can fly, a Frisbee can let an agent see in some kind of x-ray mode, stolen alien technology is lying around in boxes, quad-copters have magic-laser-scanning trope-technology, and convenient serums can make a trained agent babble with total self-aware honesty, we have no sense of boundary. Technology can do anything. It has no cost and no limit. Any problem that presents itself loses impact. It is all too easy to fix with magic. Or not fix, conveniently.
How many times out of the next 23 episodes will we see a genius pull some last-second techno-solution out of their pocket to avert a crisis? I'll predict a conservative 10 at least, though as much as 15 wouldn't surprise me. I'd love to be wrong. Perhaps complex characters and good writing will prevail, but the too-convenient technology will always be a weakness
Writer of speculative fiction. Current work in progress is an untitled dark fantasy novella.