4 Ways to Improve ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 25th, 2013 at 2:33 pm, This is a list post.

4 Ways to Improve Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of SHIELD Tv show improvements changesMarvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a pretty strong premiere (in terms of ratings); however, a very vocal section of the Marvel Universe fan base have been very critical of Avengers director Joss Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot - and based on polling in our own review, even those who enjoyed the premiere episode nonetheless believe there is room for some considerable improvement.Always the helpful bridge-builders, we thought we could identify four ways that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can improve itself in nice, succinct (and relatively quick) fashion.Read on and see if you agree with our picks - and feel free to make your own in the comment section below.

Kill Off the Weak Links

Agents of SHIELD Weak CharactersSo far, it seems that one of the criticisms about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that the characters are too cliched and vanilla - in all meanings of the latter word. Not a problem: The great thing about teams is that there are a lot of bodies - and more than a few of them can be sacrificed. And we all know that Whedon loves to (sort of) kill characters off...TIP: Don't hold on to any weak links. If the fanbase isn't warming to a character within a few episodes - be it snarky blogger Skye (Chloe Bennet) or snarky agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) - then take him/her out of the equation for good.Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) seem to be fan-approved, so there's already a foundation there. And it's fortunate that Marvel went with relative unknowns for the younger cast: we won't feel much loss if (when?) they're gone.

Focus on the Coolest Characters

Melinda May in Agents of SHIELDMaking a TV pilot is like throwing sand into a colander and sifting it out until you discover a few gems buried within. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. threw a lot of things in that colander - and a lot of characters, to boot. Right now it looks like only one or two of them (maybe three) are going to shine, but that's okay: great TV shows have been made from less.Don't want to kill off or write off characters like Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) or Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge)? Fine. Have them take a cue from Q in James Bond and give them a little cameo scene every now and again to present new gadgets (and limited banter) to our agents. Meanwhile, Agent May is intriguing - let's spend more time focused on her!TIP: There is foreground and background to play with, so don't spread the show too thin. Focus on the top players and go deeper into their stories; create more restricted lanes for the other players (or just lose them entirely).  

Introduce Upgraded (and Diverse) Replacements

Agents of SHIELD Better CharactersLook, with every slide it is seeming more and more clear that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in need of a re-tooled cast. It's not just the actors - or the characters, for that matter. It's actually a combination of both.From the early marketing it was clear there was a problem: Nothing about the S.H.I.E.L.D. team seemed that interesting. Or badass. Or believable. Or diverse. It was all Disney/ABC-brand family-friendly blandness. In a world where character-centric cable shows have seized the zeitgeist, bland and forgettable characters are a death-knell for a TV series.TIP: When you pull some weak links out, you better replace them with something that's actually better - something more interesting, badass, believable AND diverse. This is the Marvel Universe; plenty of great characters (superheroes or S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents) already exist in canon, and if you're going to create new ones, give us characters with more imagination behind them, instead of a cast assembled from a demographics analysis printout.

Get More Espionage-Serious

Agents of SHIELD tone Spy ShowRight now, people are saying that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels like Avengers  with weaker characters and much lower action potential. It's easy to see from the pilot how Marvel could've indeed been going for that Avengers tone and feel to the show - but perhaps that was a misstep. Maybe a change in approach to the material would fix many problems at once - the writing, characters and overall tone of the show being some of the big ones.TIP: This is an ultra-secret espionage organization; give us a show with more espionage edge to it, rather than trying to emulate the superhero high-fantasy adventure of Avengers - with non-super, non-fantastical characters. There is a way to make AoS a little more like Alias24, Strikeback or Homeland and still retain that coveted family-friendly brand. The show needs to sharpen its claws a bit. Better characters and storylines will flow from that.

There Is Hope...

Agents of SHIELD Tv show improvements changesBased on our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere review and podcast discussion of the show, it's safe to say that around the Screen Rant bullpen there is a feeling that there is potential in the show - potential we want to see realized into the best possible show Marvel can deliver to fans.Clearly a pilot is only a test run - which is why both fans and critics alike are eager to see what comes next in Marvel's big spinoff show. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 2 evidences clear smoothing of some of these rough edges, maybe we can tuck our list away... for now.__________Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays @8pm on ABC.Follow me @ppnkof
TAGS: agents of shield


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  1. If any of these “tips” are followed then an unimaginable world of pain will descend upon both the party responsible and the party who first made the suggestion.

  2. Yes, PLEASE. Fitz and Simmons need to be less annoying and talk less. And speak with a normal British accent, not some rural whatever version.

    • Fitz is from Glasgow in Scotland, and Simmons is from, presumably, somewhere in middle England, although the actress who portrays her is from the northern English city of Sheffield. I know there are only around 60/70 million of us, but within Great Britain there are three countries (four within the United Kingdom) and within that a great, broad range of regional dialects – and even languages. There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ or typical British accent, just as there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ or typical northern American accent. Does every American sound like a Texan? Or a Floridian? Alaskan?

    • Well said, Jamie – what a ridiculous statement. And incidentally what’s ‘rural’ about them? Glasgow is a city, and Simmons sounds anything but rural!

      It’s this kind of comment that end up with films like ‘The Madness of King George’ having to drop the ’3′.

  3. As someone who considers herself to be quite geeky and considering the skills Fitz and Simmons have, I think they are excellent characters and enjoy seeing their relationship. Although I do agree that short of making Iron Man suits for these two, they should be kept out of fighting.

    There are 3 things I would like changing;
    I wish the writers would work on making AoS more realistic – being a hero is difficult, remember Spiderman’s “with great power comes great responsibility”. At some point each of these people would really question what they are doing and where they stand.
    I also don’t really see how a team with no special abilities can fight anyone with them – they really need at least one super on the team.
    They need to look more deeply at the impact of events – there’s been numerous occasions already when the team have found out something new and they’ve all just gone “Well that’s ok” and it’s barely turned up again. There’s no sense of urgency sometimes or continuity. There’s no effect.

    Overall, I enjoy AoS and I hope it continues. There’s some good character interplay going on – to be fair I like the characters and we have a good grounding on the background of each character now.

  4. Ward must go and Bill Paxton with him. Coulsen, Sky, and May rock! The fact that SHIELD denies the existence of psychics is absurd. Coulsen must have clearance high enough to know about the X-Men!! Fitz and Simmons need to be tweaked a bit. Blindsiding us with Hydra was genius!!!

    • agreed Ward has got to go and I want to see Sky take him out , I don’t mean kill him but he should end up locked up . The new guy seems ok so far although to secure his spot on the team he needs to come up with something big in the next couple of episodes .

    • There definitely should be some documented existence of psychic phenomena in the series – it seems that SHIELD is into that sort of thing. However, at present The X-Men do not exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Neither does Spider-man. They are currently licensed by other companies.

      Gotta wonder what’s going on with Ward. I liked him initially, and wondered if he was under-undercover, but that now appears clearly not to be the case.

  5. I’m not a fan of May. She just hasn’t stood out for me. Skye’s okay, but only because of the mystery of her parents. However, if they don’t turn out to be something massive, I mean something from the comics, then she can leave. She’s not that interesting otherwise. Fitz and Simmons are okay, but I’m okay if they go to the back of the room. Coulson. ‘Nuff said. Ward needs to stay Hydra and become a pain to Coulson and the others, otherwise kill him off. If he comes back as a triple agent, or just someone who wants another chance… then I’m dong with this show. Triplett’s a cool replacement, but I say John Walker who could replace Captain America for a while before Steve comes back and John becomes the U.S. Agent. And, or, Lemar Hoskins, aka Battlestar. Also a good choice. Then there’s Carol Danvers who can become Captain Marvel and create a better link between the TV series, the movies, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. “It’s all connected,” remember?

  6. My list of changes is actually pretty similar:

    1) Work on the writing. The dialog is awful, even by comic-book-TV-show standards, and the characters really are bland. You can’t blame this on the notion that the writers are trying to keep it “family friendly.” You could subtract all the sex and most of the violence from ‘Game of Thrones’ and still have a much higher quality show with more interesting characters than ‘Agents of SHIELD.’

    2) Improve production values. And it doesn’t have that much to do with budget either. Again, using ‘Game of Thrones’ as an example, episodes average about $6 million each – but an episode of Agents of Shield can cost as much as $5 million. Definitely in the same ballpark. The production standards of network television are stuck in the cheesy 1990s. Whenever I hear about about a really cool premise for a new show – and then find out it’s going to be on CBS, ABC, NBC, etc. – I cringe because I know it’s likely going to suck. The same show on AMC, HBO or even Netflix will look infinitely better.

    3) Quit worrying about undercutting your film franchises. ‘Agents of SHIELD’ is an action show inspired by comic book super heroes – and it has very little of either action or super heroes. When Chris Hemsworth signs a contract for a new Thor movie, get him to shoot 5 minutes worth of cameos for ‘Agents of Shield’ and then sprinkle those throughout the season. Give Jeremy Renner (aka Blakhawk) a semi-regular spot on the show, before he gets too famous. Hell, just give us occasional glimpses of the Hulk or Iron Patriot every so often – you wouldn’t even need an actor’s cooperation to do that! Tying in the Hydra plot twist that appears in the new Captain America movie is a great move, but it’s not enough and the lack of crossover characters between the films and TV show make that painfully obvious.

  7. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, RIGHT! These suggestions here HAVE to have been written shortly after the premier… wondering what the author’s thoughts are on this now. Now I’ll admit, that I’m guilty of dismissing this show after the first two episodes. But after the majority of my favorite shows went on break, I binge watched this season, watching 16 episodes in two days. I just could not stop watching even though I was depriving myself of sleep on a work week. This is one of those shows that was able to get better and better with each episode.

    But I’ll break down my thoughts on these suggestions in order:

    1.) Skye was pretty bland in my earlier viewing of the show, but her character has enough intrigue and mystery surrounding her that it’s piqued my curiosity. Please DO NOT kill her off. She’s now hitting her stride IMO.

    2.) Fitz and Simmons DO NOT belong solely in the background introducing gadgets periodically. They’re awesome!

    3.) There is no need to “re-tool the cast”. They’ve all developed into their roles quite fantastically IMO.

    4.) Please, please, PLEASE do NOT turn this into a “24″ knock off. The show has so much potential because of it’s ability to tie into the (Disney) Marvel cinematic universe. We need to see MORE super-heroism and out of this world power – not less. I’d like to see them bring more of the lesser known Marvel Comics characters (like Deathlok) into the fold.

    I think the negative feelings towards this show occurred during the first 2 or 3 episodes, but you can’t base your changes or adjustments based on the opinions of the first few (very slow moving) episodes of this series.