How Will Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Change Things Up in 2014?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated April 7th, 2014 at 8:54 pm,

Marvel Agents of SHIELD Changes Needed How Will Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Change Things Up in 2014?

When it was revealed that Joss Whedon had not only signed on to write and direct The Avengers sequel (Age of Ultron) and help guide Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but would develop a live-action TV series set in same universe, it was the safest of all bets that the show’s pilot would be picked up. And it did with the help of Marvel branding and the return of fan-favorite Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) from the dead to lead its cast.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered strong on the ratings front but has remained on a mostly downwards slope with a few upswings for key episodes ever since. The midseason finale however, despite being marketed strongly, was the season’s lowest viewed episode yet. So what will ABC and Marvel do to turn things around when Agent Coulson and co. return in January?

When Whedon and writers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon discussed the show at the outset it was described as a series about the “ordinary” people behind-the-scenes helping keep safe a world now host to super-powered beings and aliens. It would “weave in and out of the films” as Joss told us at Comic-Con but wouldn’t rely on characters from the movies or comics. But are the unknown S.H.I.E.L.D. agents created just for the series enough to sustain a Marvel show – against major hype and expectations – that’s meant to share the same space as the films? Not anymore.

They tried but despite their best efforts, the viewers are dropping off and the reaction to most episodes has been mixed at best – read some reader reactions in the comments here and follow along on Twitter after each episode for examples. TV Guide and The Huffington Post even labeled the series as the season’s “biggest disappointment” – and that’s the type of publicity the Marvel brand cannot accept going forward into Phase Two of the film franchise, and against steep upcoming competition.

Agents of SHIELD Cast1 How Will Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Change Things Up in 2014?

Whether it’s the characters, storytelling, lack of superheroes and characters from Marvel Comics, or the tone of the show, we can expect some changes as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. heads into its most crucial period early next year. The midseason finale ended with a cliffhanger that left many of its key characters in awkward spots (read: an opportunity to change the team chemistry). With two new regulars joining the cast, the creatives have a chance to start fresh in January, should they choose. There’s also a lot riding on the show to help setup some of the background for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.


Page 2: More “Marvel” Tone, More Characters & Cameos Coming


Captain America: The Winter Soldier releases on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: CBRHuffington Post (2), TV Guide

Header art by Dammit-Clint.

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  1. My biggest fear is this show undermining the films. Captain America in particular. I was so excited for this show but its so mediocre. I watch it week to week and I enjoy parts of it, mainly Clark Gregg but its just so dull. Its offering nothing new or interesting to the films and if they don’t step up soon its time to end it. Hopefully, for goodness sake, the netflix shows will be better.

  2. Hopefully by killing off the main group of characters and replacing them.(except for Coulson of course)
    Then maybe the show runners could try hiring writers to actually write interesting, non-stereotypical cringey characters, and compelling story lines and good scripts.

    I’d be happy with those 2 changes for a start.

    • Apparently, they can kill off Coulson as well… :)

      • haha, I see what you did there, nicely played.

    • Or have Coulson die like Kenny in every episode and come back again without ever explaining it.

      • #OhMyGodTheyKilledCoulson

        • #YouBastards

  3. Would it be so hard to get some real(?) Shield people in there? Clay Quatermain, Jessica Drew, Agent Carter… Could you imagine if they had a show with Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Falcon? I know, it’s never going to happen but how cool would the show be?

    • I don’t think they could afford Scarlet Johannson or Jeremy Renner on a tv show budget.

    • They could probably get Cobie Smulders to play Maria Hill after all of HIMYM is over with, right? That Cameo at the beginning was practically nothing, and I think she could potentially help out the show.

  4. I think too many people were expecting it to be Marvel’s answer to Arrow.

    • Or maybe too many people were expecting the show to be good.

      • Pfff… HA!

  5. Where da Moon Knight at??? Gimme some Moon Knight dammit!

    • F*ck Yeah!!! Bring in Moon Knight!!!

      • Actually, having Moon Knight troop through there could be a plus for AOS, plus launch Moon Knight as a weekly series. Seems like a potential win….!

    • Moonie needs his own show, something that has been in the development trenches for years now.

      But, seeing as the Netflix block is more like a Marvel Knights thing, it might be better if they do his show over there.

      • Yeah, get Moon Knight on netflix or introduce him in Daredevils show.

    • that’s funny. that sounds like a guy at my work and uses the where da [whatever] at? you’re not in ky are you??

  6. I’m wondering if anyone can answer this question for me. Throughout the season, they’ve gone to great pains to tell the audience that no one has psychic powers like telepathy or telekinesis. Does this show exist in a universe that’s separate from other Marvel characters who clearly have these abilities?

    • This show exists within the cinematic universe if thats what you’re asking.

      • The cinematic Marvel universe has people with psychic powers, yet the show states time and time again that these abilities don’t exist. It’s confusing. Anyone have an explanation?

        • So far no one within the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” meaning anyone under marvel studios has shown telepathy or telekinesis. If you are thinking X-Men(Charles Xavier, Jean Grey) or Fantastic Four(Sue Storm), they are not in the Marvel cinematic universe(thor, ironman, hulk, captain america).

          • Ahhh, gotcha. Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Thank you. Do you know if the comics are written that way as well? It seems strange to limit the crossover ability.

            • Nah, it’s not written that way in the comics. The movies are owned by different companies. SpiderMan is owned by Sony. Xmen and Fantastic Four are owned by Fox. Almost everything else is owned by Marvel studios. I could be missing something here, but I think that is pretty much the big ones. You won’t see cross overs like this because the companies won’t really work together… and if they ever do it will be a long time down the road.

              That being said, the Scarlet Witch(Avengers 2) and Dr. Strange(Sometime in the future) are in the realm of wizardy-ish power, so eventually they won’t be saying “It doesn’t exist” because stuff like this will have happened.

              • woops, hadnt seen your comment. yep, what he said

                • All good, I didn’t use the word movie licenses/rights in my explanation, so yours fills in the blanks. Haha.

                  • Alex and Rawi — thank you for the great explanations! Now I won’t bristle every time they make such a statement on the show.

            • Nope, Marvel comics are all inter-connected and have ‘limitless corssover ability’ between characters – for most practical purposes, all of the marvel caharcters within the comics exist in one universe (616). Cinematically though there are several universes due to licensing differences (Fox has X-men movie licenses, Sony has spiderman, Marvel Studios/Disney has avengers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, etc)

            • The comics are different because Marvel is the one producing all the comics. The films are different because different companies own the film rights to different Marvel properties. So everything is Marvel, but Marvel does not have the legal right to make a movie out of everything that is Marvel.

              The major properties at issues are these:

              Fox owns rights to Fantastic Four and Xmen.
              Sony owns rights to Spiderman.
              Marvel (Disney) own rights to all the films that have tied into Avengers.

              The impact of this is that any Marvel property cannot use or refer to any property whose rights are owned by Sony or Fox without some kind of agreement to do so first.

              So the film situation is markedly different from the comic situation because the film rights are split up among different entities.

              • Oops. I guess my screen was not refreshed before I wrote my comment since several people already addressed this issue.

                • Hey JetpackJesus (hilarious BTW), you’ll never find me complaining about too much prompt and insightful information. Much appreciated!

            • Plus – and I can’t cite acual episodes – I feel like there have been a couple of instances where something like telekenisis is said to be impossible by one character, followed by another pointing out that someone like Thor used to be considered impossible. In that respect, I think they’ve done a decent job of showing how the world is learning to adapt to the possibiliy of super powers, which I think was one of the points of the show. If this series was taking place years later, when there are superheroes, mutants and aliens on th news evry day, then a comment like that would be out of place.

  7. I want my Machine Man.

    • More likely to get Inspector Gadget right now…more important heroes on Marvel’s docket right now, I’m afraid.

  8. Nick Fury the series and Coulson, a quick clean up tv movie. Have Joss watch Arrow’s mid-season finale, revisit us later.

  9. I don’t think killing off all of the characters is the answer. I also don’t think adding two “new” characters is the answer. That is all surface stuff. The problems with the show run deep. Right down to the initial concept (not the concept most fans thought of) of within the Marvel Cinematic Universe but not really connected to much going on there. The problems flow from the writers room and the abysmal show running. If they weren’t related to Joss they would have been let go already. Don’t axe the characters axe them.

  10. I’m not completely disappointed with this show, but I will say out of everything they have done since Iron Man, this is clearly on the bottom of the pile. I don’t have cable, so I catch everything on hulu, but even then I don’t go out of my way to watch it. Sometimes I feel like I watch it to kill time. I won’t say that all of the movies have been 100%, but I guess we had to figure they would finally make something that majority of people weren’t going to enjoy as much as phase 1. It is a harder task to create a season over creating a movie, but I feel like this show didn’t even try to create an over-arching plot line.

  11. I just want to see Graviton

  12. Honestly, other than Agent Coulson and Ming-Na, I’d jettison the entire cast. I can’t stand hacker girl and her “My mommy was a SHIELD agent” is going nowhere. The scottish science twins are boring, too young and bring nothing to the table. Could the other male agent, Mr. Suave (or whatever the hell his name is) be any blander? The ‘romance’ between him and Ming-Na is contrived. The stories have been dull as dust for the most. This has no feel of the Marvel universe at all. Other than dropping a few names, it’s not really deep within the mythos. How about a more varied cast and finish the Coulson story already. Why is he alive? Other than he’s a great character and the show needed someone to rally around. Either introduce it into the MU, or jettison the show. It can’t hold a candle to Arrow.

    • Agent Ward is about the only useful agent there. At least he can fight off baddies ala james Bond. I can’t picture him and Ming-whatever being a couple….she is just too grouchy.

      • Except that Ward somehow got shot by someone in a moving helicopter while in a sniper position…..

  13. Once again we find a writing staff that has created a cast of characters that seems more based on TV demographics than good characterization. I find all of them irritating and or childish except for Ming-Na and Coulson.
    Somebody call Jim Steranko!

  14. Judging by the picture at the top, Screen Rant wants it to become more like ‘Mad Men’

  15. I say turn it into a sitcom. Have Agent Ward do some awkward Jim-type glances towards Melinda May and then look directly at the camera. Coulson with a World’s Greatest Boss coffee cup. Someone put Skye’s cell phone in jello. The Office…on an airplane.

    Gravitate towards stupidity and viewers will follow. Unless this is on opposite of Honey Boo Boo.

    • So basically… Marvel’s The Office?

      The Office was pretty good sitcom imo, don’t let this show tarnish its reputation.

    • The Office .. on an airplane. Marvels the office, I like it. But only if Nick Fury shows up now and again and acts like Shields version of Stanley, he doesn’t care about savin the planet, he just wants to see the work day through and get home

      • +1 :D

    • They would have to much better talent to pull off something on the level of the Office, both on-screen and in the writers room….

  16. The biggest problem with the show is that they have completely failed to develop SHIELD as a character. For a show that is supposed to be about SHIELD, the first 10 episodes have shown virtually nothing about the organization.

  17. The smartest thing to do is hire better actors, tighten up the scripts, improve the effects, and improve the quality of the writing. Right now this show is a bigger joke than a Syfy channel movie of the week.

  18. the REAL agents of shield is actually on FOX! it’s called ALMOST HUMAN!

    • Almost Human? Never heard of it… Oh you mean Generic Cop Show In The Future.

      • said the person who probably has not seen it

        • Don’t assume. I saw the first three episode, was not impressed.

          • It’s weird how you haven’t heard of a show you’ve seen 3 times. Also, what exactly do you find generic about it?

            • Boy, sarcasm is really impossible to understand on the internet. 2. The correct answer is what’s not generic about it, the only thing that makes it different from every other cop show that’s currently on the air is that it’s set in the future and has robots.

              • You’re right — other than the innovative stories, characters, setting, technology, dialogue, themes and situations — it’s a totally generic cop show.

                • Like I said, set in the future and has robots.

                  • doesn’t matter if you find it generic or not. it still is 10000x way better than agents of sh*t and that was what i was aiming for.

  19. I enjoyed Heroes more than most of Agents of Shield, so I’ll wait until something changes or goes away.

  20. I’d like to see the undercover Kree Captain Mahr Vehl, who masquerades as shield scientist Philip Lawson.

  21. All of this sounds like, “we weren’t as completely inept as you thought we were,” when really they were. There was hardly any cohesive story aside from what the hell happened in Tahiti and the Centipede thing that was mentioned all of 4 times. So, now that most people are at least disappointed with the show and at most have sworn it off completely, they’re going to start incorporating “characters either from the Marvel movie universe or the comic universe that fans would recognize” and “more momentum from the stories, episode to episode.” Oh good. So now they’re going to start writing a show instead of just filling an hour with flat characters, corny one liners, and predictable stories? Bout damn time.

  22. by being cancelled?

  23. AoS does remind me of Heroes in that their was a lot of potential, but it went unfulfilled. There came a point where pee were watching heroes just to see how bad it was and to complain about the quality. Sound familiar? And that show didn’t survive the backlash.

  24. Sounds like it might end up going to Superhero/Supervillain of the week that some people for some reason were expecting despite the fact they kept saying it was not going to be that.

  25. i have liked this show. i don’t get the whole, Melinda may is the only good thing about the show because to me she just walks around always looking grumpy. i think they are laying groundwork for bigger things and just like with their movies they are taking there time to make sure it is there. yes not every ep is amazing but its a fun show that i don’t have to over think in with fun nods to the comics and the movies and so what if they drag out how coulsen lives. it would be underwhelming if they had just told us in the first ep.

  26. @invisininja

    I agree. I don’t see why people keep putting Melinda May on a pedestal. Same for Couldon actually. It must be left over good will from previous projects. The directing and writing is so bad that even good actors don’t stand out.

  27. I really want to like this show but its just dragging. I like Coulson and Fitzsimmons but they need to get rid of everyone else and start over.

  28. Just cancel it already.

    Honestly, it could be the best thing for them. Use TV to explore other avenues and put this down as a failed experiment.

    I gave up after episode 5 because I found myself recording it, watching it when I had the time to do so and by the end of the hour, I was still none the wiser as to what exactly had happened. I mean, sure, things happened but it felt like nothing was important enough to really remember.

    Normally, you know a bad show when you watch it then can’t remember much of what happened the next day but AoS gave me that effect the moment the end credits signaled the end of the episode.

    For me, the writing and the acting was just terrible and the only likable characters for me personally were Fitz and Simmons, everyone else was just generic, including Coulson (who had lines that made him seem annoying with corny jokes that just didn’t work).

    The one argument I’ve always hated with the show is when people claim “they said from the beginning they weren’t including superheroes, people who hate the show must have expected that to happen” when actually, (can’t speak for anyone else) I knew and expected it to feature powerless humans but figured it would be like the brilliant Marvels series that followed the Daily Bugle photographer over the decades when the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner first appeared up until present day.

    Another argument I find less annoying but still pretty up there in terms of “holy crap, how can you even SAY that?!” is the following:

    “It’s just a slow-burner, give it time”.

    Sorry but as a British citizen, our TV has always had slow-burning shows (The Tunnel just recently, based on the Danish show The Bridge, is a good example with one season only, 10 episodes and we didn’t know who the Truth Terrorist was until episode 9).

    AoS isn’t a slow-burning show that needs time to let it become a good show. It’s just a poorly written pile of crap that has spent most of its existence seemingly dragging out a mystery (Coulson’s resurrection) in the hopes that people will continue watching to find out how he’s still in the land of the living.

    That’s not good writing, it’s a cheap ploy to sustain ratings because the rest of the show has nothing of worth to bring to the table.

    Great shows like The Tunnel, Low Winter Sun, Game Of Thrones and Spartacus only had 12 or less episodes per season and managed to be riveting, must-watch shows with great writing and fantastic acting.

    Honestly, I have a good measure of whether I’ll personally enjoy a show and that’s if a show has me hooked by the end of the first episode (or second in the case of Hannibal) and the above mentioned plus Arrow and 24 had me that same way.

    AoS took 5 episodes before I decided to try and pretend it doesn’t exist.

    • you forgot to drop your mic

    • “AoS took 5 episodes before I decided to try and pretend it doesn’t exist.”

      You’re doing a pretty bad job of it considering that you just wrote 14 paragraphs on it.

  29. All the characters are stereotypes.
    This show needs a reboot (read restart) and a change of network (HBO, AMC even SIFI [Battlestar Galactica was good for the most part]), but keep the Coulson character and Clark Gregg as the actor. Coulson is fun because he is NOT a stereotypical agent. All the other characters have been done to death in other shows. The geek scientist ???? Really??? I thought we were over that? You want a geek in the show? Put one in but play with the character. Look at Castle, he’s a geek but doesn’t come off as one.
    The production values on this show are so low you’d swear it was a mid 1970′s Saturday morning live action show (okay, I’m exagerating a bit here). Have the producers/directors never heard of ‘extras’?? This show is so empty of people. I mean the team itself, 5 agents? That’s a team? Guys, take a look at Fallen Skies, tons of extras around everywhere, now that looks like a real world. Or the new Almost Human, extras everywhere, it looks like a real place (best show on TV, by the way).