Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Should Have Been a Mid-Season Show

I am still amazed at the new direction that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has taken over the past couple of months. It is almost feeling like an entirely different show. I am excited about the show now and am really excited to see what happens with Agent Coulson and the crew. In some ways even if you are not too found of Skye, Fitz, and Simmons, they have introduced enough of a twist to not make it as important. This new direction of the show got me thinking that they really should have just planned to start the show in the mid-season. So much of the episodes in the Fall just seem unimportant with this recent shift that it really seems that the show was biding it’s time until they could do the shift. (Spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Captain America The Winter Soldier)

Captain America Winter’s Soldiers Spoilers

So to talk about why Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D needed to be a mid-season show, we have to first spoil Captain America The Winter Soldier a little bit. There was a pretty big reveal during the movie that was kind of a catalyst for why the show had to change directions. In the movie we end up finding out that Hydra has actually infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D at every level of the agency. This means that in the show we suddenly have the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D in its entirety. When I saw Captain America The Winter Soldier I was wondering what would happen to the show because where would they take it after revealing that Hydra was really S.H.I.E.L.D. In the end I think they have used the show as a great way to show the after math of the event.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Post-Hydra

Now obviously once you make a reveal like that in a movie that happens in the same universe you have completely altered the trajectory of the show. Of course part of the problem is that the show did not seem to be going anywhere before now. After Hydra we now have a mission to try and put the pieces back together and fight against Hydra. The big thing right after the reveal was Coulson and his team trying to figure out who to trust. There was a lot of playing with trusts and loyalties in a spy agency where people lie to each other for a living and now suddenly you really do not know who to trust. I actually really liked that they made one of Coulson’s team part of Hydra because it showed just how deep the corruption went. It has made for a much more interesting team dynamic and has even introduced a new character to the team.

Mid-season Start

Part of the reason I think a mid-season start would have worked better is because it is feels like the show knew that the Captain America Winter’s Soldier reveal was going to happen. Meaning that you could not build S.H.I.E.L.D up too much because you knew it was going to be torn down. The fall part of the season just felt like a mismatch of circumstances and a lack of focus on a bad guy. Eventually we got the clairvoyant, but even that felt half cocked. If they had started at the mid-season point, they could have introduced the characters (both heroes and villains) and focused on the origin of Deathlok and who is controlling him. As well as focusing on the Tahiti project and revealing more about that. I think they could have condensed some of the episodes and taken out some of the story lines to make a more cohesive and interesting story without having to take so much time before the big reveal of Hydra. I think it would have made the pace work better and it would not have stretched the storyline out so much. Then when the reveal came I think more people would have been invested versus the number of people who have been abandoning ship since the beginning.

In many ways I think the storyline of Captain America The Winter Soldier cut Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D possibilities because it created a secret that they tried so hard to avoid revealing in the show, that I think it crippled its potential.

13 responses to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Should Have Been a Mid-Season Show

  1. They certainly could have cut out a lot of the early episodes, but I think it would have been hard to start a show featuring agents of a basically defunct agency. They had to start somewhere before Winter Soldier, but it should have been a much stronger start than what they did.


    • I agree that they had to start before Winter’s Soldier. I just wonder if they could have started in January and had a shorter lead up to Winter’s Soldier and the big twist.


  2. I don’t think that the early episodes were great, but so much stuff was in being put in place. The alien-writing/schematics that Garrett and Coulson are scratching on the wall was seen very early on in the episode that introduced the eyeball bombs. Nearly all of the groundwork for Deathlok, and the setup for next season (with Raina, Quinn, and the gravitonium) were put in place early.

    I think the early episodes make for a decent re-watch, particularly knowing what we know about Ward.

    Obviously, I agree that once Winter Soldier premiered and shook things up, SHIELD really shone, since I was waiting for a SHIELD vs. HYDRA type of show, but I think the groundwork for a realistic threat from HYDRA had to be laid out.


    • That could be true. The early episodes might be better in hindsight at the same time that still means that they did not do a good enough job in my opinion. Another option they could have done is had a larger mid season threat. I think for me there felt a real lack of focus almost because they were trying to introduce all these elements and not give something away. They never gave me enough that I could sink my teeth in to. If it was not for Clark Gregg as Coulson the show would have lost me.


      • I won’t argue with you on the lack of engaging story in the first block. This was one of those times when I just resolved myself to let the show get some track laid down, like season one Angel (which didn’t pick up until Doyle died, who I really missed) or pretty much all of season one Buffy.

        As a family, we’re re-watching Buffy so our daughter can see the series. In no way will I say that Buffy season one was as aimless as the first half of SHIELD, but Buffy had some clunky episodes. I’m glad that it was given a chance for season two.

        But I think your assessment that they were introducing stuff and holding back until Winter Soldier is spot on.


  3. ” it is feels like the show knew that the Captain America Winter’s Soldier reveal was going to happen. Meaning that you could not build S.H.I.E.L.D up too much because you knew it was going to be torn down”

    You’re right – not just about the show feeling that way, but in that the higher-ups on the show all found out about the WInter Soldier twist like the day after the show was picked up to series. So, not necessarily from Day 1 but maybe since Day 2 they were building toward the HYDRA reveal, which now makes for kind of fun re-watch but originally made for a less than thrilling first-watch.


    • Thanks for the comment. That makes sense that they had to know early on and maybe they had a story idea and had to work it into the Hydra issue. The early season just did not give me enough to hold on to. I loved Coulson though and really wanted to see his story even though they did some weird things there. I liked your review of the last episode because it is true that some of the mysteries that lasted all season have not been answered. At the same time the question is how interesting are those mysteries really.


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  6. I think that there was a lot of other possible tie ins beforehand, the show just didn’t use it. Hell, they barely used the time they had to flesh out the characters properly. For example, I didn’t get a sense for Fitz until four episodes before the end.


  7. In other words, all of you wanted rushed storytelling in which the plots are resolved as soon as possible. It’s apparent that today’s television viewers lack the patience (and probably the brains) to deal with serial drama . . . especially in the science-fiction/fantasy genre. If shows like “BABYLON 5”, “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER” and “ANGEL” were on television today, they would not have lasted very long . . . or their writing style would have changed to suit those who prefer “Storytelling for Dummies 101”.


  8. Pingback: Thoughts – Agents of SHIELD, Season 3 | Comparative Geeks

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