Why Critics Are Wrong About "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Critics can carp all the want about the lack of superheroes and supervillains in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. History suggests that Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) is taking the right approach with the show, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Agents differs from the Marvel movies in that the story is told through the eyes of human witnesses to a superhuman world. And in that sense, the series is reminiscent of a successful Marvel comic book miniseries from the 1990s known as "Marvels." Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Alex Ross showed readers what it might be like to witness the birth of the Marvel Universe from the sidelines. Agents takes that idea and tweaks it by taking the human witnesses and making them central to the evolving storyline.

Agents star Clark Gregg might have put it best when, in an interview on Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast, he suggested that his character -- team leader Phil Coulson -- is a fanboy who fulfills the fanboy dream of working with superheroes. He's right. Tim says it's a dynamic that not only makes the show relatable, but which also supplies an elegant mechanism for introducing viewers to new and weird elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Do you agree? What do you hope to see next in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand.

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Read/Post Comments (24) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 2:42 PM, Kyhia wrote:

    Marvels: SHIELD was a great idea for a show. I watched three episodes and due to lack of a good story, writing and terrible acting I no longer watch it. The head guy of Shield is the only decent actor. This show can have a good name like Marvel to back it but it's got alot of work to do to get a better story and to get its viewers back.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 3:47 PM, SturgeonsLaw wrote:

    Tim makes some good and valid points, and I agree with his basic premise. However, I do believe he indulged in a bit of sophistry when he states that the numbers are "a bit down" for SHIELD. Those numbers have dropped significantly week to week, and shall continue to do so until ABC comes to the realization . . . if they ever do . . . that they pitted this program up against NCIS, which was the height of hubris on their part. One cannot blame SHIELD for this egregious error of judgement, yet still, it is.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 7:20 PM, coastlinepc wrote:

    The show is horrible. I don't care what the critics say. It was a major disappointment . First off let me say I am a huge marvel fan and I was looking forward to the show. When I watch the pilot the acting SUCKED ! The action was not there and the plot was horrible. At first I thought maybe it was the first episode . After watching three I quit. The Tomorrow people came out and the action /CGI was so much better. You would of thought they would of put more into this show than any other . Agent of Shield thumbs down !

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 7:57 PM, randomvariable4 wrote:

    In my opinion its a good start. 7 episodes in and its getting better. I enjoy the actors as well. Its a quirky show and they fit the humor. Lastly, the show is going to be slow moving. Fans of Joss know this. His story telling is different than most other writers on television these days. Try not to be too harsh until all 22 episodes are aired. I bet some of you will change your minds. Its no Firefly, but its still fun.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 8:12 PM, debi wrote:

    Show sucks. Period.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:28 PM, attlantiz wrote:

    Marvel is synonymous with superheroes, you think Marvel you think superheroes, action, adventure far i find this show extremely boring non-captivating and the acting is medíocre at best, the writing is horrible and it reflects on the show's storyline. I'm losing interest really fast! . Today's TV audience is too demanding and impatient to wait around for this show to come of age. Considering other shows such as Arrow and its future spin-off Flash if i was Disney i would be very worried. This concept in which the story is told through the eyes of human witnesses to a superhuman world, ( which just happens to be void of superhumans), will in my opinion be this show's doom, but its never too late to turn things around.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2013, at 11:51 PM, Bradleysr wrote:

    The problem with S.H.I.E.L.D. is that none of the agents have an ounce of personality. Marvel rules at portraying characters with personality, foibles, and snappy dialogue. SHIELD agents have none of that. Every scene Agent Carlson is in- I immediately flash back to Jack Webbs Joe Friday in Dragnet. FYI that's not a compliment.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 12:38 AM, Allend406 wrote:

    Watched every episode havnt enjoyed one yet, but just watched avengers about an hour ago so i guess i can keep watching shield maybe it csn still get better.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 12:48 AM, Taja wrote:

    I don't think the show "sucks" as some people have said, merely that it's a work in progress. I am not a Marvel fan in any real way, but I think the concept is very cool. I'm not sure why it's a problem that they scheduled it at the same time as NICS. Doesn't everyone have TIVO now? I know I watch all my shows on the internet, hours after they air.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 12:58 AM, lmlstudio wrote:

    I have to make some comments....

    1) It's Joss and his shows take time to develop and I have a feeling that he made sure that ABC and Disney purchased the full season so he would not be Foxed again - re. Firefly!

    2) My wife is willing to watch and enjoys the show! I may get her reading the comic books one day but I am not going to count on it. I am not reading that many Marvel titles any more.

    3) It's a fun look at how the average - okay TV average - person is responding to the superhero.

    4) The less superheros the better! The fantastic powers can always be over come be enough people that are working together as a team.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 3:19 AM, dhx7 wrote:

    My wife and I were extremely excited about this show, I looked forward to it for months even. Then... it came out. The first episode wasn't that bad, I enjoyed it with only one real complaint. Other than colson, the asian agent, and agent ward.... the other team members don't belong!!! They are horrible!!!

    I get it, they want this show to have quirky comedy and appeal to younger audiences, that's fine... but C'MON!!!! This is agents of shield, every freakin field agent should be like a danged jason bourne,... or nearly as skilled as ethan hunt in the mission impossible movies. Shield is supposed to be the best of the best of the best of the best. Instead... we get a crack team of 'agents' where 2 of them are techy nerds with horrible accents... that are so gd annoying! The girl looks like a drop out from hogwarts, and the boy techy is just so damned annoying. There is no reason to have TWO techy nerds babbling away in one group.... one would be perfect for the group make up, and the techy with no combat skills, no infiltration skills, and no skills outside of a lab, WOULD NOT BE SENT OUT ON FIELD MISSIONS BEHIND ENEMY LINES!!!! Blathering on and on about his gd proscutto sandwhich! ARGH!

    And don't even get me started about skye. Paris hilton is more believable as a nuclear scientist than skye is as a top tier world renowned computer hacker.

    You have a girl that is maaaaaybe 23 years old, looks like she just stepped off of a cover of vogue, is always in designer clothing with perfect makeup and hair.... and oh yeah.... she lives in her van. errr... yeah. Also, as one of the 'top hackers in the world', she never EVER seems to talk about computers, and for the first 3 episodes the extent of her 'computer use' was using her iphone to check social media sites to see if an alien power source was being talked about.... wtf.

    The show is nothing but nonstop idiotic banter. These are supposed to be SHIELD AGENTS!!!! These guys should be a super team of humans almost on par with black widow and hawkeye. Instead.... we have colson and ward, babysitting a group of pretty kids that bumble around like the keystone cops.

    My wife won't even watch the show anymore, she is sick of it. And I don't watch it until she's gone to sleep... because I don't want to make her have to sit through the crap, hoping it eventually gets better... and that maybe fitz, simmons, and skye will get killed off, and replaced by actual shield agents that are worth watching.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 6:07 AM, Maxxx wrote:

    Ok, first i like the show and that it a slow build to things to come. They can't have superheroes/villians every time that's not what its about. It about how we deal with stuff that is strange and new and how we adapt to it if this was happening in the real world. No show start with a bag it has to grow, x-files, Seinfeld, other show had to grow first before everything got into place, you can't run before you walk so give it time and you will see that its great!

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 9:31 AM, Efernal wrote:

    I think the show is good enough to watch. Sure it isn't all about superhero's. It's more about people who deal with the effects of living in a changed world. And so far every episode has showcased that. I do prefer to watch it through Hulu. Less ads and I get to view it on my time and not have to get torn between two different shows.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 9:51 AM, coolbear64 wrote:

    Reading some of these comments and it's a shame. I think the reason some of the 'critics' on here don't like the show is for 1..not much special effects, lets face it alot of the masses out there now want the SFX instead of the story. 2...They are hopping for a mini movie on tv to feed their 'appetites" in between movies on the big screen...sorry, if they did that then no one would go to the movies, they could just watch it on the small screen. 2a. tv shows are meant to be stand NCIS and NCIS:La, sure you may have a tie in sometimes but not all the time that just wouldn't be right, the shows have to "stand Alone". And 3...what does the title say?? AGENTS of Shield, not Avengers or Super heroes of Shield, but AGENTS so ergo it must be about the people behind the scenes. Myself,? I actually like the only ? is if Coulson will make an appearance in the next Avengers movie or not and if not, then why not..Is it because Fury 'lied' to the Avengers or what? I would like to hear that line.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 10:48 AM, JuggaloJ wrote:

    The show is just boring

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 12:17 PM, Ekkis25 wrote:

    I understand the economics of TV and why there is no Iron Man or Hawkeye every week. This is after all about SHIELD. I think they could please fans by including other aspects of the Marvel Universe. Drive past the Baxter building every so often. Cruise out to the village and pass by Dr. Strange's pad. Read a Bugle Newspaper (Keep the Spidey story above the fold (Sony and all that!) Show flashbacks of Fury's Howling Commandos -in Desert Storm- with a young actor playing Fury before he lost his eye. Have Fury and Coulson meet during Desert Shield.

    Have them talk to Alpha Flight. Have them show up moments after the Hulk has trashed the Abomination. These kinds of links would give us Fanboys a thrill (just ask Coulson)

    And build the Marvel Universe in a whole new way!

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 12:49 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:


    Thanks very much for the comments. I also asked MARVELS writer to weigh in on Twitter and he had a lot to say. Find his timeline here. Note that he disagrees with the core thesis:

    FWIW and Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 12:56 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    Shoot. Posted too quickly. I should have said I asked MARVELS writer Kurt Busiek to weigh in, and he did.

    If you don't know Kurt's work, allow me to refer you not only to MARVELS but also Astro City. More at

    FWIW and Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 1:16 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    One more thing. In the video I incorrectly referred to Joss as showrunner. He's a co-creator, yes, but the actual showrunners are Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

    My apologies for the mistake.

    Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 8:23 AM, tlrobinson2k8 wrote:

    There are other comics that have just non superheroes they could have made in to a tv show. shield police superheroes so they have to be in the tv series.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 8:50 AM, virgilcole wrote:

    The people who are whining about a lack of superheroes in this show obviously don't understand what it is supposed to be about.

    It's about how NON superheroes go about policing a world that has suddenly realized that aliens, and super powered beings are now prevalent all over the world.

    It's not the "Avengers" TV show.

    Besides, there have been new Marvel characters introduced almost every week.

    Just because they haven't all had superpowers is irrelevant.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 9:12 AM, CluckChicken wrote:

    I agree with what most people have said:

    - writing is defiantly in need of help

    - Melinda, Grant and Skye characters all seem very bland.

    - Most of the actors seem stiff

    - Only Coulson, Fitz and Simmons seem to actually enjoy what they are doing.

    May give it another ep or so

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 9:52 AM, jsnchrry33 wrote:

    I love how the writer compares this mediocre CSI clone TV show to the Marvels mini series comic. This show's problem lies in weak writing and bland characters. I think most can deal with a non-superhero orientated TV show but at least make the story compelling.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2013, at 11:28 AM, firemanemt wrote:

    I agree with what everyone is saying. The show needs to change quickly to keep its viewership. It has been very boring everything is just an investigation. At least NCIS has more of a plot for their investigations. They could do so much better with Agents of Shield but they aren't.

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