What’s killing Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and how to fix

Agents of SHIELDI’ll get right to it since basically I’m just fresh from watching with my baby the latest attempt to do something with Agents of SHIELD other than meander on to finally figure what TAHITI was all about, and once again they sort of failed. Also tons of spoilers down below so skip it if you’re considering watching but haven’t.

Agents of SHIELD suffers from what I call the Knight Rider problem. You’ve got your people you know (Michael Knight or the SHIELD team) your transportation device (KITT or the plane), and then a deserted town with one building and maybe three people who actually talk or interact who aren’t the regular cast.

It doesn’t really matter where this is or what the stage is, last week we had this super secret mountain fortress in which TAHITI’s secret was kept and this multibillion dollar investment built into a mountain was deserted except for one security guard. Yes, let’s funnel the funds of a small country into making a place with alien tech that can bring back the dead and then set one guard up to handle it. I may have blinked, there might have been more than one guard, but I didn’t see it.

This week a sorceress was amassing an army of men, I believe she got six guys if I’m not mistaken, of which two were regular cast members.

I understand the budget of Agents is probably not the best, but I also understand than with a great fan base comes great ability to get extras to hang around.

So, create a world where there are more than three to eight people that aren’t your characters existing in. I mean you can use few characters if you’re in a comic and have nonstop action, but it doesn’t translate to TV. Save some money on the CGI and get Carl from the bus stop in the background doing something.

Also quit with Coulson’s TAHITI thing – you totally blew it attempting to explain that what was done to him was inhuman… ok, you brought the dude back to life using random tech and perhaps a gooey space alien… and then you didn’t bother to guard that with more than a couple of guards and it blew up.

Why is Coulson so shocked by everything and worried about what that drug could do? He’s alive, he lives in a universe where he shouldn’t be shocked by alien tech, the attempts to make this some vast conspiracy that needs to be uncovered are leading the show into a direction I don’t think the writers can write their way out of. It’s dead, move on.

This is one of those things for “how it should have ended,” in which Coulson sees what TAHITI is and where the mysterious drug is coming from, says “ok,” grabs some more medicine and walks out. There’s nothing more for him to discover. They anticlimaxed the thing. A universe where Thor and the nine realms exist should be a universe in which you’re not particularly shocked by a blue goo alien.

For those who don’t know and aren’t going to watch any more because it wasn’t particularly good, Coulson was saved by doctors who wouldn’t let him die, programmed with memories of being in Tahiti, given a drug from a blue space alien in a tank that said TAHITI, and then when trying to save his teammate who had been shot he freaked that the drug came from a blue space alien and tried to get his team to let her die.

Like seriously. Blue probably Kree alien blood vs death… that wasn’t a choice. Not even something that should have phased him.

But yeah, stop the drive to explain TAHITI and the other agent’s mysterious past and start dealing with SHIELD, random super encounters, and stuff that doesn’t involve shooting at other humans.

This would have been a much better series without everyone having to fall in love, find their past, discover they’re alien, have some secret history, chase down why they’re still alive. It would also be one episode long if you removed each episode that dealt primarily with that.

Dude, Agents of SHIELD show up, they deal with random superhero/villain wannabe – doesn’t even have to be an expensive power, perhaps MIND POWER, that is cheap to CGI. Maybe a sonic screamer, or someone who’s incredibly lucky, whatever the deal is they need to have that solved and maybe throw in a bit of the backstory or personal quest.

But Agents of SHIELD set up a series with two personal quests of which only one was cared about going in, and they blew that one with a horrible letdown. The other personal quest involves the hacker, and I’ve never felt I needed to find out what her deal is since they hammer it home that she’s trying to find out every episode.

So my suggestions to fix:

  • Drop the personal quests or rename the show to Agents of SHIELD who aren’t working on a SHIELD project at the moment but are taking your tax dollars to do this.
  • Add more people to the background so it doesn’t look like all these events happen in deserted Podunk USA.
  • Bring out the Clairvoyant.
  • Throw viewers a bone with low-rent Marvel characters like MODOK, Baron Zemo, The Shocker, Jubilee, Power Pack, Dazzler, etc.
  • Perhaps when you break into a multibillion dollar mountain fortress have backup show up?
  • Somewhat realistic weapon use would be appreciated.
  • Oh yeah, NOT EVERYONE HAS TO HOOK UP WITH A COWORKER.
  • If you punch a human hard enough to throw them across the room, that human should not get up again without medical attention. Figure out who are superheros and who are not.

But yeah, at the moment each episode involves the team going on their super plane (which I lovingly call K.I.T.T.) and flying to some amazing location that has a shack in which one to five people will be guarding. Once they beat the crap out of these people the Clairvoyant’s name will be mentioned and the agents will whine about why they’re alive or didn’t know their parents or some such.

It’s a hole they’ve dug themselves into a failing format and I don’t think they can get out without some major changes.

Also yes, Maggie disapproves of the show and she’s not even one year old. Seriously. Also yes, I’m aware this has nothing to do with baby stuff, but I’m also the one who writes it so yeah.

  • Ian

    Also, showing more than 1-2 episodes at a time before going on hiatus would be nice. They’ve been on a “1-2 weeks on, 3-4 weeks off” cycle since November.