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Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Needs to Fix These 3 Big Mistakes

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Back in September, I discussed Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, an ambitious attempt by Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- dominated by Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America -- onto the small screen.

It was the first time that a movie franchise and a television one co-existed in the same universe, and I initially believed that it would eventually tap into the creative richness of the Marvel comic universe on which it was based.


Unfortunately, I've been dead wrong so far. After watching nine episodes of this show, I'm disappointed that Joss Whedon -- the writer and director of The Avengers -- still hasn't breathed any of his trademark magic into this once promising new franchise.

The good news is that the show hasn't completely tanked -- its ratings recently climbed 4% week-over-week to a Nielsen rating of 2.5 -- a steep drop from the rating of 4.7 for its premiere, but a major improvement from the low of 2.2 it hit earlier this month.

However, fans might not be as forgiving if the show doesn't make some big changes soon. Let's take a look at three of Agents of SHIELD's biggest mistakes, and how Joss Whedon's team can rectify them before this show suffers the same fate as Whedon's Firefly, which was cancelled in 2002 by Fox (NASDAQ: FOX  ) before the first season even completed.

Mistake #1: Built on faulty 1990s logic

Whedon is one of those directors who has done well on the big screen (The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods) but has produced mixed results on television.

Agents of SHIELD suffers from dated storytelling techniques that Whedon carries over from his previous shows, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the successful 1997 reboot of a mediocre 1992 film, and Dollhouse, the 2009 series that featured people turned into programmable "dolls" to assume any identity.

Dollhouse. Source:

Agents of SHIELD uses the same "monster of the week" formula as Buffy, the fights are choreographed in a similar manner, and special effects -- such as lasers, flames, and superpowers -- aren't terribly convincing. Like Dollhouse, Agents of SHIELD is scripted with plenty of unconvincing pseudo "geek speak" -- Skye, Agents Fitz, and Agent Simmons constantly prattle on about "TCP/IP" and "firmware and hardware" -- terms that were apparently copied off the settings of a Wi-Fi router.

Due to these influences, Agents of SHIELD feels like a show trapped in the 1990s -- an age when shows like Buffy, Angel, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules were passable forms of entertainment.

Back then, photogenic two-dimensional characters were acceptable -- but today, in the age of Lost, 24, Breaking Bad, and The Dark Knight, audiences expect deeper, more flawed characters being driven by more than an innate desire to save the world.

Mistake #2: Not "Marvelous" enough

That leads into Agents of SHIELD's second major flaw -- it is losing its connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show occasionally uses plot devices from the films, such as the Extremis virus from Iron Man 3 and the Tesseract from Thor, to remind viewers that they are still in the Marvel Universe.

However, if the names of these devices were changed, the SHIELD team would simply be just another team of scientist-slash-government agents investigating supernatural events -- a tired concept that we have already seen done better in The X-Files and Fringe.

Fringe. Source:

Audiences, seeing the Marvel page flip logo at the beginning of every episode, have come to expect bigger, flashier things from the Marvel Universe -- things that Whedon's team simply can't deliver on a smaller budget. There's no moment in Agents of SHIELD that matches the impact of Iron Man's suit catching up to him, Thor smashing his hammer, or Hulk smashing Loki into the ground at the climax of The Avengers.

Early on, Agents of SHIELD featured some cameos of other characters, such as Agent Maria Hill (editor's note: not Smith, sorry, played by Cobie Smulders) and a Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Since then, however, no other characters from the films have appeared. Even a widely hyped crossover with Thor: The Dark World in episode 8 featured nothing more than the SHIELD team on cleanup duty after the battle in Greenwich.

Therefore, as Agents of SHIELD drifts farther away from the Marvel Universe, its initial charm will wear off, and eventually more unfavorable comparisons to The X-Files and Fringe will emerge.

Mistake #3: Lack of compelling story arcs or backstories

Last but not least, we need to discuss the show's timing. Agents of SHIELD is sticking with its "monster of the week" formula in a time when most TV shows favor serialized story arcs.

The show's only major story arc is the mystery of Agent Coulson's miraculous resurrection after being impaled by Loki in The Avengers. Every few episodes there's a little hint dropped that "Tahiti," where Coulson claims he went after he died, isn't what it seems.

The writers are obviously counting on that mystery to keep viewers coming back, but in the meantime, we get hit-and-miss stories of a deranged scientist transformed into the Marvel villain Graviton, a cheesy pyrokinetic guy named "Scorch," and an invisible stalker.

"Scorch" brings new meaning to burnt cheese. Source:

It's a lot like what Whedon did with Dollhouse -- the series started off far too slowly with weekly episodes in which the main character, Echo (Eliza Dushku), was sent on bland missions programmed as various people and "rebooted" after each mission. The story didn't start picking up until the second season, when it was revealed that Echo could actually inherit all of her previously programmed personalities, but by then ratings had tanked and the show was cancelled.

Agents of SHIELD might eventually introduce an interesting, compelling story arc to keep us tuned in every week, but for now, it's getting off to a very sluggish start. In an age when people use DVRs and streaming to watch TV shows, there's no reason not to use serialized story arcs to keep viewers coming back for more.

A final thought

Despite these problems, I believe that Agents of SHIELD can still be salvaged, with a clearer direction, better written characters, and more compelling story arcs.

However, I think that upcoming efforts from Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) DC to hit the small screen -- such as Gotham, Constantine, and The Flash -- could run into similar problems. Gotham, which imagines Gotham City before Batman, will be a particularly problematic one.

By centering on Commissioner Gordon's early career in the Gotham police force, it removes the most appealing part of the franchise -- Batman -- from the equation, just as Agents of SHIELD removed the four main Avengers from the story.

Therefore, dear readers, that leads to an interesting final question -- will Agents of SHIELD succeed in its efforts to ride the coattails of The Avengers' success, or will these mistakes eventually sink this ambitious attempt to marry Marvel movies and television?

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Read/Post Comments (61) | Recommend This Article (12)

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  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:13 AM, slightXedge wrote:

    "Early on, Agents of SHIELD featured some cameos of other characters, such as Agent Maria Smith (Cobie Smulders) and a Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)."

    Who's this Agent Maria Smith you speak of? Smulders plays a character named Maria Hill. Know your Marvel.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:17 AM, GrooveMachine wrote:

    This is one of the only Fool articles I find myself agreeing with lately.

    I would take it one step further in saying that other than Clark Gregg, there isn't a single cast member worth caring about. I find myself hoping that Joss will do his Whedon thing and do some surprise kill-off's to make things interesting. Agent Coulson's team, frankly, stinks. They're unlikeable, uninteresting, full of themselves, and hard to relate to.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:19 AM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    @slightXedge -- Oops, thanks for the correction, will get that taken care of.

    @GrooveMachine -- Thanks, I'm particularly tired of Agent Ward -- he definitely needs to take one for the team and die to change things up a bit.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:23 AM, monty wrote:

    Exactly! There is nothing "Marvel"ous about this show. It looks like you could film the whole show on 1 soundstage. Limited budget may kill it. Too bad because it had potential.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:27 AM, billbuckleyfan wrote:

    The cast is too young. It looks like the Scooby Gang. S.H.I.E.L.D. should be staffed by adults

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:29 AM, KingLinus3000 wrote:

    With a television show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe I'm sure most was looking for a well placed superhero or villain (known or obscure) every once in a while.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:32 AM, geroger wrote:

    The show get preempted in my area by bassaball most of the time so I haven't seen many episodes. The weakest link in each show to me seems to be "Chirtine's" husband. He can't carry the part. Firefly wasn't given a chance by Fox to fly. The network simply didn't understand the program and aired the shows out of sequence. Understandably the audience could not follow the plot line. Shield as I see it is not developed enough for adults. It comes across as a show for eight year old boys and a few girls. A show the network put on for a few groans to satisify someone and keep parents and grandparent tuned in at that hour as baby sitters for the advertisers.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:37 AM, lordtoastbutter wrote:

    What, no comparison with Arrow? That is hand down a better written and directed show then M.A.O.S.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:54 AM, DVCAZ wrote:

    I find it refreshing. Take for example "Person of Interest". I will still watch it but it may have jumped the shark with its smoochy, schmaltzy killing off of Agent Joss Carter. Hawaii Five-Oh's last episode with Carole Burnett was so immediately scrambled with far too many stories layered on top of one another that I didn't finish watching it. There just seems to be a tendency to get to hung up on every characters background story that in so many shows it over complicates and somewhat obscures any episodes story line. And please lets have the "romance" on NCIS LA go away. Marvel's Agents of Shield is simple good fun. It need not be anything more. I like it because it doesn't try too hard, it need not try to. It's entertainment and it does that job well.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 12:01 PM, dribsanddrabs wrote:

    The casting director for this show should be fired. The entire cast has ZERO chemistry. The lack of an overarching story arc is shocking. "Smallville" did a great job of having a stand alone villain each week, while still advancing an overarching story arc.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 12:02 PM, Gangwolf wrote:

    # 1. Whedon's commercial success rate in television shows is 0% where David Greenwalt is not involved, a fact nobody ever mentions because few people are aware of Greenwalt's crucial contributions as co-exec producer to both Buffy and Angel. I would have been very curious to see if Whedon's other shows would've survived if Greenwalt was involved, though in the case of Firefly I'm not sure the studio executives wanted it to.

    #2. I think it is not Whedon's storytelling style which is dated rather his belief that narrative is not like using blueprints but rather a chemical reaction that goes where it wants to go and it's the producer's job to follow it along instead of guiding it. As you pointed out, audiences nowadays need to know where a show is going right off the bat and I'm not sure he has more than a vague idea when he starts. His attitude is "let's see what happens!" In the case of SHIELD I think by the time something happens the show will have been cancelled.

    #3. The less said about the claim that Buffy's (and more to the point, Angel's) characters were two-dimensional the better. I think you are confusing the comedic tone of Buffy with shallowness. Yet if by "three-dimensional" you mean confused, conflicted characters with deep dark sides, well, that is an apt description of Angel and even Buffy in its later seasons.

    I have to add that while I get your criticisms of SHIELD's lack of tangible arcs, Buffy/Angel both made extensive use of story arcs; in fact each season of each show is definable by its particular arc.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 12:03 PM, thebird65 wrote:

    Finally, an article that has hit the nail on the head. I have a love/hate relationship with Agents of Shield for all the same reasons mentioned in this article.

    Unless AOS is improved upon I will never pick watching it over other shows, will only watch On Demand or online after run.

    Truly hope they make these suggested changes sometime soon or they will let a great show fail for no good reason.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 12:07 PM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    @DVCAZ -- Person of Interest actually does a lot of stuff better than Agents of SHIELD -- I agree, killing Carter was over the top, but the show has charismatic villains like Elias and Root, clever banter between Shaw, Reese, and Finch -- all of which SHIELD lacks.

    @Gangwolf -- Yes, I know Buffy/Angel used story arcs, but Dollhouse failed to do so until late into the first season. When it actually started, it was actually good, but unfortunately no one else was watching anymore.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 12:24 PM, Aldirick wrote:

    Lets take a look at this from the other side of the shield shall we. We have been inebriated on the movies of the greats, yes greats as in minds, warriors and soldiers. Here you are trying to compare an above average person, be they scientist, jack of all trades pilot/calvary, ops specialist, and the computer hacker who happens to get through shields firewalls. These are 'average people' when compared to the superheroes of the universe, but their priority is making sure that those who do not play by the rules stay out of the way. SHIELD is trying to hold the current standards of the world in place, in some cases, this means clean up. As for the dark world cleanup episode, you say it had nothing to do with it, but it does. Due to Thor's return some decide to go after a device that would make them like gods. Clean up, yet again. Also, this is a first year series, show me one where the special effects are cutting edge, because you have no idea how the public will accept the show. The cast is a list of people that we have never heard of, that feel they have done what they have to do for the greater good, but they are forced to work together and that means they will change. Heck, May has gotten her sense of humor back, the Lab Nerds were willing to die for each other and Sky gave them here biggest secret and it is going to be a big one when fully revealed. It takes time to develop a character, and that is what Whedon does. And we have a story arc, someone is trying to create super soldiers, and they are willing to kill of their own to make it happen. So we have lots to look forward to, you have to be patient, because they only have one hour a week to tell us these stories.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 12:26 PM, Buzzrammet wrote:

    The article is correct. Right now to me at least the show comes across as WAREHOUSE 13 with a very cool jet.

    I want to see more gee whiz, whiz bang effects and how come we NEVER see the Corvetter anymore? We saw it ONCE but otherwise it just sits in the jet.

    And if they are a secret organization...what is up with the shield logo on everything?

    And with the exception of May and Coulson time to get a new cast..

    We are expected to believe a bunch of petty boys and girls are the absolute best to be handling these situations???


    The boy girl thing between the computer whiz's is so weak it's unwatchable. That bit is being played to death by NCIS L.A., and a couple of other shows with the same exact thing, two weirdo people a boy and girl who have the most forced "banter" on TV with the girl ALWAYS showing up the guy and making him look like an idiot when he is supposed to be one of the best.

    Give that crappola a rest.

    The character of Skye is awful. Cookie cutter.

    May and Ward ending up in the sack together almost killed it for me. THAT was completely unbelievable.

    Joss' characters from FIREFLY were great. You liked each of them and none of this pretty boy/girl cast. They all came across as real people who cared a great deal for each other. Not with those four crew members.

    PLUS and this is where my geekdom comes to play. READ the Marvel comics with Agents of Shield in particular the original Nick Fury:Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and look at all the cool gadgets.

    PLUS when we going to see that flying aircraft carrier again?

    Great idea but not quite where it should be.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 1:09 PM, JoeSolarte wrote:

    I want to see REAL villains from the comics. And nothing in private or in a top secret facility. I want to see something like The Rhino robs a bank in broad daylight on live tv. Where Caulson is ambushed by reporters afterwords. Maybe where Caulson has to go up against a lead FBI agent whom claims he has jurisdiction.

    And where it is not wrapped up right away. Where they track the Rhino down but he gets away to pague the team later

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 1:12 PM, dragonfly1023 wrote:

    The success of a tv series usually boils down to likeable/believable actors and great stories which A.O.S. has few. Clark Gregg (Coulson) and Ming-Na-Wen (May) playing main characters are too dry, too old, and definitely miscast for their roles in the show. This program needs better tongue and cheek dialogue, better stories, and better lead actors, and certainly cameos from their 'real' super hero stable to stay afloat. I think bringing Coulson back from the dead from the Avengers and building a show around him was a huge fail on their part. Sorry Clark and Ming but in both your cases, with age came experience not fans. Nuff said.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 1:30 PM, anth1225 wrote:

    I love Marvel and sadly I agree with most of the criticisms leveled against AOS.

    I love the Colson and May characters.

    Sky's always getting into trouble and then getting a pass from a hardcore shield agent is unbelievable; bracelet notwithstanding.

    The 2 scientists don't work and the prideful attitude of the Scottish guy is insufferable.

    There is no chemistry with the cast and all their interactions seem to come across as forced.

    Sky's empathy is over the top. She will change everyone just by how much she cares. Uh, really?

    I love the twist with Ward and May. Totally unexpected.

    I like Colson's experiment trying a team based on chemistry and not on necessarily the best.

    He's waiting for them to take over and become a unit. He's like the daddy waiting for his children to grow up.

    It's just taking too long to come together which will cause people to tune out.

    Rather than an overhaul they need one defining moment; one huge supervillan that brings them to the end of themselves and somehow they overcome.

    A moment that they can have a chemistry that would be believable; a family core; a sincere caring for one another.

    You get that from Colson but that's it.

    If these actors can't pull that off then there is no charisma; no charm; no compelling reason to invest yourself into the show.

    No matter how many cameo's you want to throw into the mix; it won't save it.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 1:57 PM, ZAP1ROWSDOWER wrote:

    No ones cares about these second stringers. The movies made millions because of Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Cap, but these characters suck.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 2:10 PM, NubianGoddess wrote:

    I think dribsanddrabs is right! Sorry, but I don't like the actress that's playing Skye or the tough guy (I can't even remember his name). I honestly don't think they should have made this for the small screen. I just feel that there are high expectations and when they are not being met, the show is cancelled.

    I think that the CW did a very good job with casting "Smallville." Also, they "Arrow," and the "Tomorrow People," is very well casted. I like the "Tomorrow People" better than I like "Marvel: Agents of Shield."

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 2:37 PM, Smurfkillersquee wrote:

    To be honest, the problem with this show is the premise for it. No one wants to see a bunch of normal people go up against shadowy groups in order to protect the piece. They want to see heroes and villains duking it out, with lots of property damage in the process. We want to see super heroes taking on super villains. That's what Marvel is all about. This show just sucks.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 3:55 PM, landoc63 wrote:

    I like Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., but you are correct. They need to be willing to use terms like "Mutant", "Doctor Doom", "A.I.M." and other familiar names from the Marvel Universe to make them look like they are in the neighborhood that they claim to exist in. And maybe develop a relationship with maybe characters who will be appearing in upcoming Marvel projects or even some past ones. If Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to survive or even flourish they have to move outside their comfort zone. Use Season 1 to develop their crew and core mission, then move more in line with the rest of the universe.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 4:17 PM, jdenney wrote:

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one cringing when I watch episodes. My take on what needs to be done to fix the show: 1: Lose the boy/girl geeks. Their lame attempts at comic relief are agonizing to watch and keep derailing any suspense created by the plotlines. 2. As much as I hate to say it, lose Brett Dalton (and give him his own show). He's total eyecandy and a decent actor, but his beauty overshadows Clark Gregg's more low-key sex appeal, which is how Clark got the part in the first place. If this were old Hollywood he'd have been gone after the first two episodes. 3. Get rid of Chloe Bennett. Her character is just plain irritating. 4. Fire the writers. Bring in a writing staff that understands what made X-Files such a hit, and can re-invent that same mood. X-Files took itself, its characters and situations seriously. Clearly the writers of SHIELD do not, or they wouldn't have written in the comedy team of Frick and Frack. 5. Once the decks have been cleared, give the ball to Gregg and Wen and let them run with it. I don't know if there's enough time to save the show, but it's definitely worth a try.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 4:47 PM, Richard233 wrote:


    Take a look at the credits people.

    They have so many different writers and directors

    it's doubtful you will get a compelling vision.

    The show exists because of Joss, but he's not doing

    the day to day stuff on it. It's not "his" in the way

    Buffy/Angel/Doll House was.

    Part of the problem with getting what you want has to do wit licensing. Various companies have "dibbs" on the characters and you can't use them without clearance first. They also don't want to interfere with characters they are using in their own movies for fear of setting something up or ruining/using an idea they want to use in the film.

    As to "villain" of the week, you can do it if you have the right set up. No one can argue with the success of Castle or Elementary which are mystery/villain of the week types though with a story arch of sorts.

    And, Buffy as well as many other shows needed at least a season to shake themselves out. If they do a good job, you get attached/addicted to the characters. Star Trek the Next generation is cringe worthy the first season, but once they stopped taking themselves too seriously, it became very enjoyable.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 6:35 PM, Lenny24 wrote:

    Time to add some characters with an impact, be it hero or villain.

    Would like to see a connection to AIM or HYDRA, maybe some Grim Reaper, MODOK.. something

    I thought it would be a great way to get some under used characters on the screen like Namor, Doctor Strange, Power Man, Iron Fist...

    So far it's just a high tech version of the X-Files.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 6:37 PM, cvxxx wrote:

    The comments are right on. "The softness" of these character when compared to other Sci fi orientation like Continuum with a real central story line that progresses with each episode. The herky jerky shows with the new pseudo villain tired. Yes, they have a problem with being on regular over the air with all the PC isms but other shows are able to sidestep that too. The writing has to be much better with a central story line.

    Not keeping your audience because the network pre-empts for sports or "specials". The original Star Trek was canceled because of the poor Friday night slot. Above and Beyond lost due to pre-emption. Sci Fi shows are not for everybody but the audience is very loyal.

    It is a different world in 2013 Continuum is doing great with that slot. BBC's Orphan Black is doing well too. Same reason a good story arc!

    The show seems that it was rushed. Taking a little more time to develop the story arc and bring it out in the spring might have been better.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 7:04 PM, WarriorDL wrote:

    You want a long story arc? Track/chase the Hulk. Along the way, have a villain here or there.

    The Hulk is the only CGI character they could use WITHOUT having to have the actor in place. That is the problem with being attached to the Movies- The actors and their pay to appear in episodes. Won't hapopen, or will be vary rare.

    The Hulk, however, can be used to be shown desproying stuff or fighting baddies. S.H.I.E.L.D. can back him up, or try to chase him down.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 7:35 PM, mnealbarrett wrote:

    "[The Show] was the first time that a movie franchise and a television one co-existed in the same universe."

    This is wrong. This honer belongs to Star Trek. Now, before you say that the shows and movies were in the same "universe" but not at the same time, I'd like to point out a scene in First Contact in which Worf boards the Enterprise from the Defiant; this scene originally showed the Defiant being destroyed, but had to be re-shot because the Defiant was an important part of the show 'Deep Space Nine' at the very same time. The S.H.I.E.L.D. show isn't even the second one; there was an X-Files movie that took place between the next-to-last and last seasons of that show.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 8:13 PM, alexharris144 wrote:

    Since when was Buffy a "monster of the week" show. Buffy had very defined seasonal story arc. In fact the term the "Big Bad" came from Buffy describing each season's villian.

    The problem with Agents of Shield is that the characters have no connection. If they killed of a character, I would careless. There are just too many characters. They should of started with 3 or 4 main characters instead of 6. Let the audience connect with the 3 or 4 first.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 9:57 PM, redleg5 wrote:

    My wife, daughters (ages 16 and 11) and I love this show, and I completely disagree with the author's "fixes". As a show under the Disney and Marvel monikers, showing in Prime Time (at 8pm EST) I like the fact that the characters aren't "flawed" anymore than is currently shown. I have no desire to watch a show with a character dealing with drug abuse or alcoholism (thank you Marvel/Disney for not showing that part of Tony Starks life) or any of the other issues that some critics seem to believe belong in a show in order to call it successful. We like our happy endings and the humor this show has. The series is making its own mark outside of the movies, with just enough references to the movies (or Marvel "History") to keep the geek in us entertained. We see the number of characters as a strength, it provides variety, and each episode has let us learn more about each one.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:15 PM, Alericc wrote:

    I saw this coming a mile out and said so on as many articles that allowed comments. Its typical Whedon, he takes a franchise and changes everything about it with lazy writing filled with plot holes all the while hyping its connection to the original. It then comes out with all the Whedon fan boys slobbering all over it and the geek critics loving it for the same reason, it gets ok rating the first few episodes then fades into obscurity attaining cult status by the same people who will like anything Whedon does. Firefly ting a bell, no matter how much they tried to make us like the show it still had BAD writing an implausible scenarios that lazy scifi aficionados hailed.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 11:43 PM, ponydriver1 wrote:

    I like the show. But I have to admit they arent pushing things to limits. I dont see it on tues night I watch it on Video on Demand. I wonder if that doesnt help the ratings.

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 12:37 AM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    @mnealbarrett -- Thanks for pointing that out. I should have said the first time a comic book franchise co-existed in the same TV and movie universe.

    However, I don't count Star Trek and X-Files as similar experiments as SHIELD -- those both featured the core cast of the TV shows in the movies. By that definition, even films like Twin Peaks could be considered "expansions" of their original TV shows.

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 12:55 AM, jeterderek1 wrote:

    saw 1 episode and knew this was way too over-hyped.... super disappointed.. its really

    just fringe or x-files for high-schoolers....

    Wat was the last straw was seeing the joy luck

    club lady pretending to be kool.... that was the

    straw that camels back in terms of tolerability....

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 1:50 AM, swrwizard wrote:

    What you also have to remember about S.H.I.E.L.D. is that it was almost always a government agency that was written in to support storylines in the Marvel Universe! I didn't do any in-depth research on this, but I do know that S.H.I.E.L.D. did have it's own title, but clearly it didn't last long & Nick Fury was the main title character. A character who has only a few cameo appearances on this show so far! And cameos is all this show can afford considering that he's played by a big name actor who commands the big bucks!! So you have to realize that this show is actually running on support characters & that's why it will likely not get better & not last long!

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 2:31 AM, Wiste wrote:

    You are assuming all viewers enjoy long story arcs. One of the reasons I *didn't* watch Lost, 24, Breaking Bad or The Dark Knight was because of their lengthy and often overly-complicated plots. If I missed an episode, I couldn't always pick up the story again. All of those were programs where, if I missed the pilot, I might as well not watch because I didn't have the first chapter (exposition) of the story.

    So the "monster of the week" format is fine with me. There's enough of a through-line to keep me coming back to learn more, but not so much that, if I miss an episode, I'm stuck.

    That said, I do wish for a stronger movie/TV tie in. While I was initially disappointed there wasn't a bigger connection with Thor, I later realized my expectations were a result of the hype, not Joss Whedon's fault. Putting them on clean-up duty was exactly something they would do. And it brought home the fact that *someone* has to clean up the big guys' mess....

    Thanks for the article. I don't agree with all your points, but it's fun to discuss it! :)

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 7:32 AM, thehollywoodrant wrote:

    I agree with this article, but I think Mistake #3 is its biggest problem, and if they were to correct it, the other mistakes could be easily overlooked. Check out my thoughts on the show here:

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 9:08 AM, James00359 wrote:

    Need I remind everyone of the Nick Fury movie starring the Hoff. While the premise was silly in some ways and I don't think the writers of the script had a clear understanding of the Marvel universe they worked with what they had and it was a fun movie. But getting back to AOS look at the title Agents of Shield not Nick Fury agent of shield so now they introduce a team with one familiar face that every body knows Clark Gregg, Maybe Josh is afraid it will go the way of the series Man from Uncle which was a kinda of spin off of the shield idea Uncle had Thrush Thrush stood for Technical Hierarchy Removing Undesirables Supreme Headquarters or maybe Specter which was Flemming's idea from Thunder ball. But let us look at the A O S universe okay we have the Avengers but no references have been made to the Fantastic Four or the X-Men many of my friends who are Marvel fans contend that X-Men Spider-man, the F F and the like do not exist in the A O S universe. Introduction of say Hydra as they did in the Hoff movie would have to bring up the whole background of Fury's father fighting Hydra in W W 2 along side Cap the howling commandos and Logan when he was with Canadian special forces see avengers cartoon series the early seasons for this reference. Aim with Modok okay CGI to create him but how terrifying is he gonna look. Dr. Doom the F F movies screwed that up Victor von Doom was not how he was portrayed in the comics he was a student in college along with Richards and a experiment to increase his brain power when wrong the machine exploded and disfigured him so no cosmic radiation stuff. Actually I think the Avengers cartoon show had them going into Latervia Dooms country he rules and Fury's about to blow a gasket since they are violating international law and the like. Many of the fans see these problems because of the various movies and the like and trying to place AOS in the overall Marvel universe is a hard trick to pull off Going with AIM or Hydra they may become like Man from Uncle if they wish to stay with the primary Marvel universe then reintroduce Dr. Doom, The Mandarin as he was portrayed in the comics heck even bring back the Yellow Claw since Red China's getting in the news again. Joss has a lot of source material to draw from if he would take the time to contact Marvels writers go to New York and get into the companies archives and adapt some of the Shield stories I will admit some of the stuff would have to be toned down but watching the team go up against the Red Skull or Von Struker the original founder of Hydra or even Dr. Doom himself would be great to see. Well I vented long enough sorry if my writing styles a little off been a long week been tracking Hydra activity in my area

    00359 out

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 1:10 PM, jklolbeer wrote:

    I could not agree more with this writers assessment of Shield. I want to like the show, I really do and I am no Fan Boy. However with the fact FireFly being mentioned in the article, is trying to be used as a comparison to Whedon's failure...I have to stop there, as FireFly was a far superior show compared to Shield and better than most of the Carp that is on today. Firefly was a victim of fledgling Faux networks short-sightedness. I mean they are now the network of low brow fart jokes, and some sports coverage. However like I said I am really trying to like the show...Oh and Arrow is far better. Take a hint ABC, this show needs help!

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 2:25 PM, Neocene wrote:

    Marvel really shot themselves in the foot back in the 90's when they licensed off their biggest brands to different studios.

    Fox owns the rights to the X-men, The Fantastic 4 and their collection of characters.

    Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man and his library of characters.

    Marvel recently brought back the rights to Punisher,Ghost Rider, and Daredevil from New Line who had done nothing to help those films get off the ground.

    If those studios don't do a movie with their properties every few years, Marvel gets the rights back to them. That is why Spider-Man was rebooted so fast cause Sony didn't want to give him back to Marvel.

    Since AoS is set in the Disney Studio version of the Marvel Universe, they can't make any reference to Mutants, Spider-Man, etc without paying those studios a fee. That is why you'll never hear mention of the X-men, the Daily bugle, Peter Parker, etc in any of the films/TV series that Disney owns.

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 2:41 PM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    @Neocene -- excellent points. I actually plan to discuss Marvel's "failed" franchises in an upcoming article, and what it will take to successfully revive Punisher, Daredevil, and Ghost Rider.

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 7:18 PM, tangentiallyfun wrote:

    Boring characters - there's no friction or depth to the character acting, coupled with mediocre dialogue. Drier than a brick furnace. Additionally, it looks like their budget is small, because the show is pretty much uneventful from start to finish. Finally, they have very little ethnic diversity. Is this as good as Hollywood could give?

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 9:46 PM, BrettOG wrote:

    Show only exists to soak name cred from Marvel movies. Novelty of agent cousin is over. Now they need to do something original with the show. Agreed that they won't. Just another re-work of the old x-files formula. Fringe couldn't make it work and neither can all the other knock-offs.

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 10:35 PM, alle430 wrote:

    Okay. I am not 1) a big comic book fan (comic book fans are crazy loyal and extremely patient). 2) a Whedon fan 3) a "Fringe" or even 4) a "Lost" fan.

    But....with time and good writing, all of the above had accomplished the impossible, my interest and loyalty. Get over your short attention spans and try to figure out where Agents of Shield is going and you just might be rewarded with some of the most interesting scifi out there. Hope this show lasts. SAVE HAVEN :)

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 12:45 AM, beezers wrote:

    Other than Coulson, there's no interesting character on the show. May's back story would be interesting, but they're not focusing on it. The geeks are irritating and difficult to understand (especially the Scottish one, and I'm very good with accents), Sky is a joke, and Ward is 1 degree away from wooden. I taped a lot of the shows because I watch NCIS, but I'm having trouble watching the last three. There just is no good reason to watch them. They're all the same boring stuff!

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 6:47 AM, moviefan wrote:

    Mistake #1 - YES!

    Mistake #2 - YES!

    Mistake #3 - YES!

    I believe the show can be salvaged but needs a major overhaul!

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 6:57 AM, Burung888 wrote:

    The show is great - the biggest mistake is Agent Coulson's attire. He always wear a suit and tie no matter where the assignment is. Shouldn't he wear the proper attire during an assignment

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 7:43 AM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    @WarriorDL -- the CGI Hulk idea is interesting, but the actual CGI Hulk in the three prior films were all pretty costly beasts. I have a feeling that a CGI Hulk in SHIELD would be unintentionally hilarious and totally expose the show's limited budget. :)

    @Burung888 -- Funny point. However, I kind of like the fact that Coulson constantly wears his suit, even to the beach. It's like in Person of Interest, when Reese constantly wears his suit even when assassins are told to "look for the man in the suit".

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 9:24 AM, Aztecace wrote:

    The Coulson mystery isn't much of a mystery. If you know anything about the Marvel Universe and SHIELD, you can guess it in the first episode. I did.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 11:16 AM, BriGeek wrote:

    the article and many of the comments have good points. I want to like this show. I'm trying to like this show. BUT ... The 2 science geeks are negatives. (And I like science geeks). Ward is too stiff. (although they are loosening him up). Skye is cute. (But not much substance) I do see multiple story arcs. Coulson's death, Skye's linage, and May's history. Plus the group of baddies they've been playing with on and off since the first episode. You also have the good Doctor who was sucked into the graviton and locked away in the Shield vault. The biggest problem as many have posted, is there is almost NO chemistry between the characters. Coulson is the only one I would care if they got rid of, and he's probably dead anyway. I don't know if it's writing or acting, but something has got to change.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 12:49 AM, WarriorDL wrote:

    TMFSunLion, the CGI Hulk 3D model is already made. So no cost to make another one.

    The shots/renders of doing the Hulk for an ep or two would be minimum- You don't need to do the entire episode with him. Maybe a minute or two TOTAL. That's it.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 2:25 PM, RosieP wrote:

    Do not ever write for serial television. Never. You lack the patience be another Joss Whedon or J. Michael Straczynski. You and many other viewers lack the patience to allow a show to build in quality over time. Instead, you want instant gratification and a mind blowing first season.

    I think that "LOST" had screwed with the American public's ability to appreciate first-rate television storytelling. "LOST" provided a mind-blowing first season. And because of this, many television viewers and critics now demand that all sci-fi/fantasy serial dramas have mind blowing first seasons. "ONCE UPON A TIME" certainly gave viewers this.

    But what you and many other viewers and critics fail to take in consideration that serial television drama is like a long distance race. It's not a good idea to start out as the best. If you do that, you end up losing energy before the race is over. The so-called "outdated" storytelling methods worked so well that it produced some outstanding television series like "BABYLON 5" and "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER". These shows not only developed in quality over time, they still remain among the best written series in television history.

    On the other hand, shows like "LOST" and "ONCE UPON A TIME" that began with a first-rate first season, ended up continuing seasons with inconsistent quality in its writing. "LOST" never achieved the same level of quality after its first season. And "ONCE UPON A TIME" is in danger of finding itself in the same rut.

    But if you and other viewers lack the patience to allow "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." to develop in time, then ABC and Marvel might as well take the show off the air. And allow American television to continue its decline in quality.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 2:56 PM, RosieP wrote:

    ["So the "monster of the week" format is fine with me. There's enough of a through-line to keep me coming back to learn more, but not so much that, if I miss an episode, I'm stuck."]

    If "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." is going to resort to a "monster of the week" format to keep the viewers happy, I am through with this show. I'm sick and tired of the one-dimensional, borderline infantile television programming that already dominates the airwaves.

  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2013, at 6:48 AM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    @WarriorDL -- stay tuned, I have a new article on CGI characters in SHIELD that you might want to read later today. :)

  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2013, at 9:49 PM, WarriorDL wrote:

    Just read it. Awesome to include other CGI characters too, like Ghost Rider.

  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2013, at 11:13 PM, esxokm wrote:

    Didn't read through all the comments, maybe someone pointed this out, but perhaps the problem is that the show is on ABC and not a cable channel. If it were on a cable platform, it probably could act and look a different way that might be more exciting.

    As someone pointed out, Smallville might be a good example...although not a cable network, the CW is definitely not a major. Smallville probably wouldn't have looked or have had the same tone on ABC as it did on CW.

  • Report this Comment On December 04, 2013, at 11:57 PM, matthewluke wrote:

    I've rather liked the last two or so episodes. And I'm apparently not the only one, as the ratings have definitely improved.

    Although I certainly wouldn't be opposed to comic book heroes/villains showing up on the show, I like the story thus far as well. And we are only nine episodes into the series. I wouldn't be surprised if we got more 'super' towards the end of this season and into the next.

    We were treated to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's origins of Gravitron in episode 3. Don't forget about him. He's locked in a S.H.I.E.L.D. vault right now, moving around unbeknownst to anybody (except to us, the audience, when they teased that during the final 3 seconds of the episode).

  • Report this Comment On December 05, 2013, at 12:12 AM, AceInMySleeve wrote:

    Given they have other Marvel properties wrapped up I wonder if Netflix will bother saving this as they did with The Killing in a co-sponsored season kind of deal.

    I haven't actually seen this show but all I've heard is the sounds of disappointment. After Dollhouse I knew anything was possible with Whedon.

  • Report this Comment On December 05, 2013, at 9:10 AM, stockdissector wrote:

    I find that the 90s monster of the week theme refreshing myself. Television shows have become too centered on being realistic. When I watch a television show I want an escape from reality not a reminder of it. I think the world desperately needs the concept of good versus evil that those old science fiction shows provided. Although, from an investment standpoint your are probably right Leo. The show needs to go in the direction that the majority would like and buy and not cater to odd people such as myself.

  • Report this Comment On December 07, 2013, at 11:13 PM, TMFSunLion wrote:

    @stockdissector -- The problem with "monster of the week" is that there simply isn't enough time to introduce, build up, and resolve a storyline in a single episode. When they do, the result is either predictable or viewers don't really care.

    Today people have DVRs and streaming, so it's much easier to catch up on shows than it was in the past.

    I'm not sure "good vs evil" is all that old sci-fi shows provided. Star Trek and Twilight Zone disguised plenty of social commentary in their stories -- something that SHIELD doesn't attempt to do on any level. Twilight Zone did the same.

  • Report this Comment On February 05, 2014, at 11:20 PM, alexubel989 wrote:

    Here is what I think the problem is.

    People were expecting Superheroes & Superviliians, when it was clearly stated that they would not be the focus of the show. The focus of the show was ordinary, while well-trained, people dealing with the fall out of the events in the Avengers.

    People didn't get what 'they' wanted, so there is hate on the show. Never mind, the events of the show will tie directly into Captain America : Winter Soldier. which will be the basis of the second season. (assuming it gets one)

    I do have to agree about some of the episodes being weak. Though it is picking up speed. As well as a lack of chemistry with the cast.

    The problem is, that in today's market, a show has to be an instant success, and is not allowed the time to actually mature into something great. Several good show get cancelled before they even finish a season, or only get one, before they are shelved as failures.

    The internet (as well as most media outlets) is very good at presenting a myopic view of a TV Show and leads the followers into believing something is terrible, even if its really not. Everything is presented as the worst thing ever, of the best thing ever, and very few people think for themselves these days, and just jump on the bandwagon.

    That said, I'm not saying the Agents of Shield is a great show, far from it, but it better than people give it credit for.

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