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


1 2 3 7

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. #5 Change the channel.

  2. I have four more:

    Iron Man
    Black Widow

    • +9000

  3. R’hllor’s flames do not lie. This show cannot be saved.

  4. LOL!

    Best 3 Comments ever!

    • New champion comment ever: Why don’t all you major complainers S.T.B.O. (Suck The Big One!)?!

  5. Hmm. May I humbly say that I don’t know if I agree with you there Kofi? I am certain that your suggestions would work; but they feel like the easy (and obvious) way out. I particularly wouldn’t like to see too much focus on those characters that are easy to flesh out (like the fan favorite Agent May)….at least, not yet. It’s obvious that their stories will be big. The big stories should be saved for later.
    Instead, I challenge the writers to take these (admittedly) too-sweet characters and actually give them some CHARACTER. I want to see some interesting and unexpected back stories, and I want to see the characters changed by darker and darker events, till they’ve been sharpened into individuals worthy of our respect.
    Slicing out the weak bits seems a bit too straightforward and lazy in my opinion. It would be interesting to see the weak characters grow as a consequence of their involvement with SHIELD.
    Then again, the public hasn’t been known for their patience with TV shows, so time may be a problem if the creators went with my approach. Just throwing in my two cents.

    • I agree.

  6. It was just the pilot episode. Things get better with time. In my opinion, I think the show is excellent.

  7. Another way to improve the show, or at least adjust the mood of the audience when watching an episode is to add an awesome opening theme song with a video montage (however minimalistic) to match. I know a lot of tv shows are opting not to do an opening theme song, and go straight in for a “cold open” followed by simple title card, but great action, ensemble shows almost always benefit from having the characters sort of introduced through catchy music opening credits and visuals. Look at Buffy, Angel, Firefly n Dollhouse. This is not a Joss Whedon show though. Not entirely.

    I agree with all the calls about killing cast members that don’t stick. I feel the cast of Dollhouse were much more appealing. Firefly too ofcourse. WIthout question.

  8. I’ll pass. I have a hard enough time with Marvel on the big screen. Mindless fun at the movies is a lot more palatable than it is at home.

  9. i think this show would be better off using characters like Black Widow Hawkeye…not superheroes but also not paper pushers from the office…dig into the old vaults for some characters.

    • I agree. Introduce Mockingbird and characters like that. I know they want people love their normal humans and stuff and not just wait for Iron Man to come flying in, but everyone is waiting for that anyway. Nobody cares about SHIELD. I enjoyed the pilot but I wasn’t thrilled with it.

    • Yep, that’s the solution, All ABC need to to do is pay about 20 million for Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner to appear in each episode

      • Seems legit.

      • characters like…that don’t require cgi or super powers

  10. Skye is one of the best characters, Coulson may be a fan favorite but he’s a distraction to the show and not sure if he should be involved.

    The 2 people the show could do without is Fitz & Simmons

  11. 4 Ways to Improve ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’:

    1. Scotch
    2. Whiskey
    3. Tequila
    4. Vodka

    • I can say without a doubt that enjoying some gin while watching the pilot helped. Though the show is about what I expected, at least for a pilot. It shows potential, but hasn’t turned me in a weekly viewer yet. I’ll give it 2-3 more epiosdes before I decide. I wish they hadn’t included Extremis though. That was one of worst handled parts of Iron Man 3.

  12. I remember the first episode of ST:TNG. That was cool but had it’s pretty lame aspects (like Troi crying and Worf’s hair). It turned out great. It needs to get it’s feet under it.

    • Every time I think of that first episode, I wonder how they could possibly have started such a big-name series with such as horribly, insufferably boring story.

  13. It’s only been one episode and we’re already calling to kill off characters? It’s a 45 minute episode introducing the premise, setting the tone, and introducing characters. And we already are impatiently calling for some of their deaths? We don’t know how it’ll play out, all of them could end up being irreplaceable.

    Think Firefly. I could’ve done the same thing and said that I wouldn’t care if any specific one of those characters died after the first couple of episodes, but I was patient and found that I liked every single one of them; it took a while for me to build that love for the characters, but I didn’t act like an angry gorilla, pounding my chest, and calling for death.

    • My problem was, as you said in the article, they’re an ultra-secret spy organization yet we see them driving through Los Angeles with their logo plastered on the doors of their vehicle and then Coulson is calling out to his target through a megaphone on the corner of a busy street.

      • This. A thousand times this. You talk about this shadow organization yet they had time to run their logo and car design through the S.H.E.I.E.L.D. marketing department?

        • I’m not arguing that it isn’t cheesy, but compared to the comics, SHIELD is slightly more subtle in this show. I really don’t think it’s meant to be very realistic. You either have to go with it, or watch a different show.

      • An organisation that got pushed partway out of the shadows after the Invasion of New York. They’re the ones who led the cleanup effort, so the public’s aware of them. Public don’t know everything, but the public facade and goodwill makes it pretty convenient to contain the increasingly weird ‘incidents’.

        • “They’re the ones who led the cleanup effort, so the public’s aware of them.”

          You made that up. Nowhere have they said that they were involved with cleanup and made it clear who they were.

    • Its an instant gratification world we’re living in now man, nothing really has room to breathe these days. And because its Marvel, it comes with a lot of hype hence a lot of scrutiny as well.

      I thought it was a good start, with room to improve like most pilots. Next week will be key.

  14. Whedon, please get rid of SKYE! It is painfully obvious that her only reason for being in AOS is to serve as cheap “eye candy.” But her lame attempts at humor, coupled with her potty-mouth and slutty antics, make her obnoxious.

    If this series is to be successful, you’re going to have to give viewers what they want: actual Marvel superheroes, such as — gee, I don’t know — the AVENGERS? If you don’t at least offer *occasional* guest appearances by Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr., etc., this show will tank. But it needs more than that. I agree with Screen Rant’s recommendation of eliminating the weak links (e.g., SKYE!) and zeroing in on Coulson (who is fabulous), the intriguing Agent May, Anita Hill, and maybe some dude named Nick Fury?! (Never mind Samuel L. Jackson. Bring in “The Hoff” if you must! In the comics, Fury was a white guy anyway!)

    Whedon could also use this series to develop the character of Clint Barton and, perhaps, Natasha Romanoff. That would do away with the need to create origin films for Hawkeye and Widow. Just some wishful thinking. ;-)

  15. I’ll watch this, but I’m not holding my breath it’s going to last. I think ABC committed to a full season already so I don’t think there is much time for re-tooling, re-edits or re-shoots.

    I kind of agree that there are too many characters already. A more gradual buildup (2-3 episodes) would have been better. Chloe felt like nothing more than a MacGuffin – she was only there to move the story forward. I couldn’t have cared if she lived or died. Being it is a “WHEDON” show, I know better than to get attached to the characters. In my opinion, that is one thing that is holding it back. Death is pretty much imminent for somebody.

    • oops. Skye, not Chloe. Got some names confused. Need sleep…

  16. I’m very optimistic about this series, I find that series that start with a mediocre pilot episode usually grow and become something really good. Seasons that start with a great pilot usually run out of steam and are not that great.

    • I agree. Firefly, Doctor Who (2005 reboot), Trailer Park Boys and most Tv shows that are fantastic usually issues with the pilot. Fastforward 3 to 4 episodes later, and thats usually when it gets rolling. The characters develop, becoming likable, the plot opens up leaving room for mystery, and the writing gets into a consistent groove. The only Pilot that comes to mind being able to pull off being nearly perfect was Breaking Bad, but thats a special exception.

      • Lost peaked and plateaued the 1st 2 seasons, then went on a decline until the end. i would rather this series build to the peak. if it lasts 3,4, or 5 seasons, then good. i dont think it will become the next CSI or NCIS, or any other series over 10 seasons long, but who knows?

  17. The whole “diverse” argument always annoys me. It’s like everyone says, “if this show doesn’t have more black people, it’s a bad show, and should be cancelled.” I never hear any complaints when Tyler Perry has an all black cast, but always hear whining if there are more white people than black people on a main cast.

    • I think by diverse he meant personality-wise. Fitz and Simmons are pretty much the same and so are Ward and Skye. May is the only serious one and Coulson is like a big kid. He wasn’t talking race.

    • It did not mean black people! Diverse doesn’t equal black people,there are other races as well. I’m sure they meant different personalites!!!!

  18. My post almost read, “How many articles about Agents of SHIELD does SR need?” Instead I say, this is exactly the article it needed. Very simple but very true. I think there’s room for those 2 weak characters to get more interesting so maybe give em a chance, but I wholeheartedly agree with the need for more espionage seriousness. A lot about hat episode was cliche. I’d really like to see more of Coulson knowing what he’s talking about. More lines like the “I’ll blow the building before you make the lobby” one from Avengers. I want that Coulson. Not the Coulson who wears Captain America footy pajamas to bed every night. every now and then we can have that Coulson and it’ll make those moments better.

  19. I didn’t even watch the show but I have never seen such poor reviews for a Joss Wheden project…have the wheels start to come off the wagon? The show does not interest me (save the superhero stuff for actual superheroes) and we should start a pool to see when the ratings dip low enough that ABC/ Disney opens up the pocketbooks for a special appearance of Banner or Capt. America (you will NEVER see ScarJo, RDJ or Hemsworth on TV)

  20. ONE episode and you already want a new cast?!?!

    • Agreed, these “tips” are a knee-jerk reaction and hyperbolic.

  21. I have not been able to watch it yet, but it sounds like the primary alleged issue is that several of the characters are boring and/or unappealing. (3 of the 4 points) If that is the case, how frustrating. A show like this has to have great characters and writing to make up for the lack of the big superheroes.

    Of course, it might survive on family-friendly Avengers association alone, but it would be a shame if that was all it had going for it.

  22. I never judge a show from the Pilot alone. I agree that Coulson and Melinda May were the most interesting, but I really liked Fitz and Simmons too.

    All characters need fleshing out though, obviously. This was just the first 40 minutes of the season. We barely scratched the surface.

    We’ll see how the characters will grown and expand in the upcoming episodes. Some of them might even surprise us.

    A Pilot is a pilot, but it was good enough for me to watch it next week and the week after and see whether I will grow to like it more or less :)

    I’m definitely optimistic, there’s a lot of potential here and no TV show was ever the best in its first few episodes. Things need time to develop after all.

  23. what it needs is more good looking girls in tight tops

    • They are all over at my house, and…sorry, I’m wrong…a couple took their tops off.

  24. Yes it was just a pilot, but if you’re so unconcerned with your characters that you introduce two of them as one (Fitz Simmons? Which is which and why should I care?) then you only needed to write one in.

    I’m on board right now (even with LOLA flying off into the sunset) but I really hope that they create NEW and interesting back stories for the characters. More then likely though, here’s what they’re going to do – so let’s list out the tropes that we expect from this cast of usual suspects:

    – Main Agent Guy has to get in touch with his touchy feely side while dealing with issues from his past (broken home, missing mom or dad, fiance that he either left or lost) thus allowing the rest of the team to see his human side. HAPPENS IN: One of the first 5 episodes.
    - Nerdy Chick has to go out into the field to support or in place of Main Agent Guy. In doing so she loses the glasses (and gets a makeover) thus making everyone else see her beauty for the first time. She barley pulls it off but earns the respect of the actual field agents. HAPPENS IN: One of the second 5 episodes
    - Hacker Chick has to prove that she really is on their side when the group suspects a mole (end the end we find out is a shape shifter / mind control device but I digress). As they look into her past they find out that she really WAS into bad stuff (rising tide) but she got out as soon as she went through a REALLY BAD EXPERIENCE and witnessed a murder/death/kill. Bonus points if that happened in front of the person’s kid or significant other. HAPPENS IN: episode 9-12
    – Nerdy Guy gets approached (and starts dating) by girl way out of his league and the audience (us) is made to expect her as being a spy. Of course she isn’t, and of course she’s killed off by the end of this story arc (it’ll last 2-4 episodes) so that we feel more sympathetic towards geeky guy. Bonus points if her death can be blamed on another team member (Main Agent Guy) thus increasing tension. Look for the stand alone episode in season 2 where he gets some tech and tries to bring her back to life. Alternatively the back to life episode happens in episode 1 and reveals what really happened to Coulson. HAPPENS IN: Dating will start within the last 10 episodes, death happens in one of the last two.
    – May. I hate to do it because she’s a strong character, but she was in retirement for a reason. My guess? She wanted to make a call one way and HQ told her to go the other. Someone died, she took a desk job. HAPPENS IN: First 5 episodes.

  25. I thought it was O.K.. If they try to appeal to too many demographics it will fail. Skye was lame. So was the tough pretty boy. The two gadget freaks should be relegated to the background for sure. Coulson and May work pretty well in their respective roles. The idea that Coulson may be an LMD is kind of interesting and having a nod to Fury’s old flying car was very nice to see. I’ll give it a chance to see how it develops…

  26. It was a great first episode and I wouldn’t change a thing. Characters tend to be more generic early on and get more fleshed out by the end of the first season. Even the (you say) bland characters aren’t terrible and they’ll improve.

  27. Wow it seems a lot are quick to judge one episode. the show hasn’t even started and apparently its already crap. i liked the pilot a lot, i agree there needs to be improvement for the show to succeed as is true for most shows on tv. Ward in particular needs to be fleshed out or written off, but i liked Coulson, i liked Skye, and i didn’t mind fitz/simmons although they too need to be fleshed out. you can’t expect this to be Homeland, its on ABC for cripes sake. if by episode three or four the characters still seem bland then i will join in judging it but until then i’ll wait and see what happens.

  28. The best way to improve Agents of SHIELD is to get Cobie Smulders as regular ASAP!
    This show needs Maria Hill sooo badly!

    • she’s ok…

  29. 4 Ways To Improve This Article
    1) Have different ideas for each point.
    2) Suggest alternative changes on each page
    3) Contemplate variant strategies with each number.
    4) Watch more than one episode before defining the nature of the series.

    Oh, and for commenters “Top Secret organization” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

    • so what does top secret org mean in your humble opinion?

      • The CIA, the FBI, the NSA, MI6 are all Top Secret Organizations. We know they exist, their agents show up with badges and jackets that say their agency, they have vehicles that ID who they are, we know where their headquarters are.

        We don’t know what all they do, we don’t know their secrets…that’s what top secret is.

        When we first meet Coulson, he’s fully upfront about what organization he’s with. They’re existence isn’t a secret. (The Helicarrier is pretty visible in Avengers).

    • Well, since the suggestions in each slide have the ability to be done independently of one another – doesn’t that make them individual suggestions?

      Or would that ruin your good ol’ Internet snark?

1 2 3 7