Yes, I’m still watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Coulson-Agents of Shield

To say that MAOS (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) started off slowly could perhaps be the entertainment understatement of the year.  A show that started with so much hype and promise – they were bringing back Agent Coulson for Pete’s sake –  missed the mark by quite a bit in the first half of its first season. From a viewer’s perspective, when the show first started it felt like it could have been titled anything….there wasn’t much to make you feel like you were watching something based in an established universe.


Apparently I care more about the state of hair for women on television than I do about your story.

The first…oh let’s say 6 episodes –  largely centered around Coulson’s new team and really honed in on a non-S.H.I.E.L.D agent, female computer hacker Skye.  Huh?  Your show is called “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and you give me episodes obsessing about a non-agent who isn’t part of the Marvel universe?  I get wanting to bring in new characters into that universe, Agent Coulson is the poster kid for that, but frankly there isn’t that much about Skye that makes me want to know more.  From her “tough girl” hacker persona to her generic ‘rope hair’ (it’s that same long slightly twisted hair that 90% of women on TV have-ugh, don’t get me started), there just isn’t much to make her compelling.  I don’t care how mysterious her background is, stop trying to make her a thing.  You know why most people are watching this show and she’s not it.

Where this show largely missed the mark was not taking advantage of the universe it’s a part of.  It’s right in the title…MARVEL! As a viewer I want to know we are in the Marvel universe, otherwise this could be any sci-fi procedural.  You have a pretty rich universe at your disposal, make use of it.  This is where DC’s Arrow (on the CW) excels.  Yes, it’s on the CW so fairly heavy on teen drama, but right from the start you know you are in the DC universe thanks to consistent and successful use of familiar characters.

So, after all this griping why am I still watching?  It’s because there has been a noticeable change…eventually…and not without some Internet drama.  The show’s creators and actors were quoted as saying fans weren’t being patient enough. Week to week a payoff was promised.  But this initially only came in a passing mention of “Asgard” or “Hawkeye and the Black Widow”.  That’s it? Apparently in my regular life I talk more about the Marvel universe than your average SHIELD agent.  Then there was a hiatus; I think maybe the Winter Olympics were the best thing to happen to this show.


The Ladies Sif and Lola

  Whether it’s thanks to re-shoots, or they really did just get there eventually, the show has shifted to better take advantage of the Marvel universe. They are finally and quite quickly starting to mine the Marvel catalog  to remind the viewer that “Yes!  This takes place in the same universe as that Avengers movie you liked so much”.  This was most noticeable when a recent episode of MAOS featured Lady Sif.  The same Lady Sif from the Thor movies.  Sif comes to Midgard to track-down and capture Lorelei, little sister of the Enchantress (think girl Loki).   At long last, worlds are starting to literally collide.  The storytelling seems to be improving as well.  I’m not sure if it’s because they are moving into more familiar territory or because yes, often shows do take a first season to hit their stride, but I have found myself actually enjoying watching, rather than wishing I was enjoying watching.

With upcoming additions of S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Eric Koenig (played by Patton Oswalt) and Major Glenn Talbot (played by Adrian Pasdar) MAOS is bringing in characters who align with Captain America and The Hulk, respectively.  While these are much lesser known characters (I had to google them), they symbolize more outreach into the source materials, and possibly a connection to the movie universe.

I remain cautiously optimistic that this show has turned a corner.  If you have stopped watching, maybe give it another try.  I’ll give it the rest of the season, especially since an upcoming connection to The Winter Solider has been teased (yes, yes, I am falling for that ploy).  I gave The Walking Dead over 3 seasons to connect with me, so I think think I can invest a little more time in MAOS, so long as I continue to see some return on that investment.



  1. Travis Trudell

    I have also stuck with this show even though it had only dissapointed me during its first 10 episodes. Then things started to happen, Deathlok, and things became more serious, “Please let me die!”. I couldn’t tell if the show was getting good or if the bar was set so low that an average episode seemed good. I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the content since their mid season hiatus and finally look forward to learning more about Skye. Nothing was as surprising to me as to when something bad happened to her and I actually cared.
    Nice write up Elise. I agree I will give this show a little more time. Then again I also force myself to finish books I hate because you never know…(but secretly you do).

    • tinydoom

      Thanks Travis! And I totally hear you on the “is it better better, or have my expectations been lowered so mach I’ll take anything?”. Since there have been some consistent moments of “Hey! I’m enjoying this!”, I’m cautiously optimistic the tide has turned.

  2. itsthegoog

    Yup, I totally agree. Arrow is doing a great job of bringing in recognizable characters, SHIELD brings in recognizable actors for characters you barely remember, it’s not the same and they need to rethink how they are going about this.
    Otherwise, the show HAS started to get better. Right off the bat, any episode that delves into the Marvel U. became engaging and still sticks in my mind. Episodes like the introduction of Graviton, the clean up after Thor 2, the episode where they tracked down a Chitauri helmet that was making people sick, plus a few others. Other than that, I struggle to recall any of the other episodes.
    I am intrigued to find out who or what the Clairvoyant is, but I completely expect to be disappointed.

  3. smalerie

    Ah ha! My planned worked! I got to stop watching the show and just waited until other people told me it was safe to go back. Thanks for trudging through the mud for us, sister.

  4. Pingback: Daredevil: A Netflix not so Hidden Gem | The Ladies of Comicazi

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