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In Defense of SHIELD

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD just completed its fourth episode in a 22 episode season. The show seems to be settling into a groove, but it has its detractors, and this is why I’m writing this article today.

My fellow Marvel fans, step away from the ledge. The Sycorax aren’t controlling you with a blood spell.

I feel like a broken record because I’ve said this so many times, but Agents of SHIELD will be just fine. It seems some of us are expecting greatness in a show that’s finally comfortable wearing underwear instead of PullUps. Granted, some of that falls at the feet of Marvel themselves, as they have given us a Cinematic Universe that is so groundbreaking and beloved, their rivals at Warner Bros./DC are trying the same thing at an accelerated rate. So, the show has the expectations of a god in the early stages.

I think people are expecting existing Marvel characters to make appearances. They want to tune in and see Tony Stark or Steve Rogers show up and crack wise with Agent Coulson. This is a TV show, folks; you’re not gonna see Robert Downey, Jr or Chris Hemsworth pop in. We got Samuel L. Jackson to do a cameo, but I think he just likes to work. Remember, this show isn’t about the Avengers; it’s about SHIELD proper. We got to see Maria Hill (any chance to see Cobie Smulders in the SHIELD uniform works for me), but even that was a cameo. I suspect we may see her more, but I’m not holding my breath on that.


If you need a better example of how much a bit of patience helps, allow me to present Arrow. The DC property showed up on the The CW, and it’s first three or four episodes were – to put it mildly – horrible. The acting was wooden, the stories were convoluted and all over the place, and I was half expecting it to not come back from the winter hiatus. But, it did, and it was spectacular. In fact, the season finale was one of the most riveting things I saw on network TV last season and the second season promises to be a thrill ride.

The important thing is to have patience. I have faith in what Joss Whedon is doing, and I believe the show will be just fine. Look at what’s going on now as a long game; setting bits and pieces here and there with the expectation of a finale that will knock you off your feet.

When it does, I promise not to say “I told you so”… too loudly.

You doubters, Agent Coulson is sick of your shit.

You doubters, Agent Coulson is sick of your shit.

About Joseph Seltzer (401 Articles)
Joseph K. Seltzer is a movie reviewer for When not writing or talking obsessively about the art of movies and TV to anyone who will pretend to listen – especially when it comes to his love for the musical score – he works as a Help Desk technician for a local school board. Generally, you can find him either burrowed in front of the TV watching movies or playing video games, or spending time with his precocious daughter.
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5 Comments on In Defense of SHIELD

  1. I think Arrow actually started much better than Agents of SHIELD has. The problem I’m having with SHIELD is a problem I think is shared by others: the characters are still unknown and unsettled. It may just be the fourth episode, but we’ve seen several series that have been cancelled after fewer episodes for having this same problem. Luckily, because this is a Marvel property and had that built-in audience coming in, it has more time to find its legs, but that time is not infinite. The series is already bleeding viewers.

    What makes the problem even more frustrating is the fact that we get great guest stars each week (I’m not talking about Cobie Smulders or Samuel L. Jackson; I didn’t like those cameos). I mean J. August Richards, Ian Hart, and Pascale Armand; those actors played characters who were almost instantly both likeable and defined. Even Mack the truck driver was a great, well-acted character. None of the main characters (outside of Clark Gregg’s Coulson) is defined, at all, yet. That’s a terrible way to begin a series. It might be passable, if some of them were characters from the comics or something, but these are all new characters that the audience has to get to know. Even when the show has tried to give some sort of definition to the characters, in the way of back story, it’s fallen flat. For example (spoiler alert through the end of the paragraph), Ward’s “I ate birthday cake and got beaten up by my brother, and that’s why I became an agent” was a nonstarter; such a nonstarter that Skye later makes fun of it.

    I didn’t come into the series thinking it was going to be the Avengers, but I did come into it thinking it would be great. So far, it’s just kind of okay. If it wasn’t Marvel (and if I wasn’t sure something is bound to happen on this series that connects to upcoming films), then I’m not sure I’d still be watching each week.

    One last thing, look at a comparable show: Heroes. Say what you will about how it handled the spotlight in later seasons, but that first season immediately hooked an audience and didn’t have the luxury of bringing fans from a highly successful film series. Agents of SHIELD is struggling, right now. It is getting better, and I have confidence that it will continue doing so (not because of Joss Whedon; even if I was a huge fan of his, he’s simply not that involved in Agents of SHIELD); I think it will continue getting better because of Clark Gregg. Gregg is a very good actor, and actors like that tend to bring their costars up to their level over time. Because of its Marvel connection, Agents of SHIELD should get that time. Will it turn into a must-watch series? That I’m not so sure about; let’s start with “good” and go from there.

    • Whereas I agree that the ensemble is a little flat, I also think that they’re getting their groove. It’s going to improve, much like Arrow did.

      And, we’re just gonna disagree on the opening episodes of Arrow; I found the first four to be completely flat and unimaginative. They did get better after the first four, but that was after they found their voice. Up until that point, it was struggling along and looking like it was about to end up as another failed DC television project.

      As I’ve said time and time again, Agents of SHIELD is going to be just fine. I think it’s finally found its sweet spot, and the rest of the cast will fit right in.

  2. Most Haters do not hate the series itself, but their fans. That’s what happened with “shied”.

    People said it was the best new series, with only the PILOT shown. Folks, it does not exist. And look that the pilot was NOT a big deal. Like I said, it does not exist.

    I will watching the series kinda forced, because I wanna believe in Joss Whedon, but until then, please do not say it is the best series of the Fall / Year / Decade / Century. That is annoying.

    • That’s what fandom does; we find something we like, we latch onto it, and we refuse to hear anything negative.

      An example of this is the Mass Effect series. I love all three games, and the ending didn’t bother me like it did for everyone else. I hear criticism of the series because of the ending of the last game, I process it, but I don’t care. I loved it, and that’s that. I’m a fan, and I own up to that.

      Same with Agents of SHIELD. I believe it will be fine, so I hold onto that. If it fizzles out, then I’ll accept that, but I’ll still love the show.

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