It’s the loudly spoken truth of the internet that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not living up to, well, any standard. High expectations from the get-go have practically ruined this show. High expectations for anything always seem to ruin reality.
I’m here to tell you not to give up just yet on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Because it’s not as bad as you may think.
In the landscape of television, it can take as little as two episodes to cancel a series. With a name like “Marvel” attached to it and a beloved character like Agent Coulson headlining, it’s no surprise that S.H.I.E.L.D. was given a full season. Given those extra episodes, fans thought that maybe things would pick up after the first initial episodes, right? Right? Things might actually get better! They might actually do things!
The creators/producers/writers seem to be treading so lightly around this whole thing that it’s frustrating. People only seem to like half of the main characters. It feels–to most people–that S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn’t done much with the infinite universe at their fingertips. Pick a random, lesser-known baddie from the Marvel Universe and just run with it! Name-drop superheros! Give us anything!
Skye is annoying and hard to connect with, yes. And no one really cares about her back story of trying to find her parents. Yes, the show seems to focus on her as the “main” character, which can hinder an episode fairly quickly. Yes, Ward feels like the stock handsome character, a wooden version of James Bond.
But there are things to enjoy about S.H.I.E.L.D.
1. Agent Phil Coulson
It’s the most obvious answer. Coulson was a fan favorite in The Avengers and pretty hilarious in other Marvel Movies. Heck, one of my favorite Coulson quotes is from Thor when someone asks if the Destroyer from Asgard is one of Tony Stark’s. “I don’t know… guy never tells me anything,” he deadpans with just enough emotion to show he’s a little tired of “superheros.”
Coulson brings a lot to S.H.I.E.L.D.. The positive? They don’t overuse him or focus too much on him. A sprinkling of Coulson throughout the episode is perfect, because if they focused on him too much, we’d get sick of him.
And the preview for the next half of the season makes it look like they’ll be changing S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s tune sooner or later. Maybe you’re not interested in why Coulson’s alive after being so obviously stabbed in the heart by Loki in The Avengers. Maybe you think they’ve dragged their feet around it enough already.
Some of us still are intrigued.
There’s something about huge science nerds that’s so endearing. And hilarious. Fitz and Simmons fill this role perfectly and play off each other so well; their banter can make an episode that much more tolerable. It may not be as glorious as Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills on Sleepy Hollow, but it’s cute and helps lighten scenes. Or at least adds in a couple of laughs.
3. Agent May’s Badass-ness
Sure, we don’t really care what secret she’s hiding from Skye (mostly because we don’t care much about Skye). But she’s got a great death stare. And her fight scenes are quite wonderful. They’re one of the few things I look forward to in episodes.
This one may just be my personal preference. No, they have not set up the idea of Centipede very well. Yes, Centipede seems a little incompetent. However, tying multiple storylines to one overarching baddie (or evil corporation or organization or whatever Centipede is since we’ve only seen like three people (still alive) in it and heard one by name) is a good move and could help curb the second half of the season. Having the same evil person behind a bunch of crap is the heart and soul of many comics. So a TV show taking inspiration from comics should follow suit, yes?
Plus, put Coulson’s life at stake and you have our attention (whether you still care about his mystery or not). He already died once, so you can’t kill him again, unless you really want to change the tone of the show.
Honestly, if you look at the bigger picture of everything, S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t that bad–it’s just very standard. Much of it still needs work. Not all hope should be lost. Improve on the relationships already established, attempt to make Skye more likeable, and just try.
If they need ideas, we’ve got some over here!