ABC Exec Admits to ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Problems, Promises Strong Season 1 Finish

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 21st, 2014 at 7:23 pm,

Agents of SHIELD season 1 final episodes Ratings ABC Exec Admits to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Problems, Promises Strong Season 1 Finish

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a huge experiment for Marvel – a TV series tie-in to their blockbuster movie universe – and the results of that experiment have been mixed, at best. A sharp ratings decline after the season premiere, mysteries dragged out for too long, weak tie-ins to the movies and some all-around lackluster storytelling have left even the hardcore Marvel fanbase split over whether or not this show is a failure. And please believe, the studio has taken notice.

While at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee confronted the issue of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s struggles, pledging that solutions are on the way, while reasserting that the network is in support of the show – which has already been slated for a full 22-episode season.

Here’s what Lee said about the show’s struggles:

“It was obviously disappointing that we started with a very high number and it came down. It took a little bit of time to find our sea legs, but now the show is really doing well…. I think the key to us was really starting to work closely with the studios, and really figure out with our showrunners and all the creative brains, how we could have a show that didn’t have Iron Man in it, but did have an incredible amount of the Marvel universe and an incredible amount of the mythology that went through there. We also took a little bit of time to get the balance between a procedural and an arc. I’m so proud of how they’ve now arced out the last nine episodes. But, that’s something that many shows do, as they go through that.”

arrow season 1 oliver ABC Exec Admits to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Problems, Promises Strong Season 1 Finish

There is a fair amount of truth to that quote: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most ardent supporters are fond of pointing out that rival DC TV series Arrow also stumbled through a fair portion of its first season before finding sturdy legs as a dark superhero character drama. While one could debate how the first twelve episodes of Arrow compare to the twelve episodes of AoS we’ve seen so far, there is little debate that Arrow did grow more exciting, focused and confident in its approach after the halfway mark of season 1. Now the show is better than ever.

So there IS room for AoS to pull a similar trick and come to a strong finish by the time Captain America: The Winter Soldier is into its theatrical run – and Lee says the network is confident that upward trend will happen as season 1 closes out:

“…Creatively, we are loving what we’re seeing for the back nine. We’re doing a lot of work, and I’m really enjoying doing this with Marvel. We can announce that Lady Sif is coming in, in Episode 15. We’re shooting it now, and that’s going to be absolutely integral to that hour of television. And then, there’s going to be this really cool arc to the end of the season. You’re going to find out who the Clairvoyant is, and it’s going to be very, very cool.”

agents shield new characters ABC Exec Admits to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Problems, Promises Strong Season 1 Finish

With 12 episodes aired and one about to air in two weeks (from the day of writing this), that “back nine” Lee refers to are the last 9 episodes to come (eps 14 – 22). It’s a big deal to hear Lee praise the back nine as a focused arc; unless its hyped-up “astonishing, series-changing, final act” lives up to the hype, episode 13 “Tracks” looks like a pretty standalone episode (watch the promo down below) – which now puts pressure on every other episode in the season to deliver an exciting piece of a fantastic end story arc. At this point, who’s willing to make a 9 out of 9 success rate bet on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Also curious is Lee’s notation that the Lady Sif appearance (ep. 15) will be “absolutely integral” to that episode. We’ve heard promise that the show would soon have stronger ties to the Marvel Movie Universe, but a lot of that focus has been on how AoS will tie to Captain America 2 (a Thor tie-in was thought to be a done deal after the missed opportunity of episode 8, “The Well”). How Sif will be “integral” in an episode that Lee alleges is itself integral to the “back nine” story arc remains to be seen; however, after the quasi-revelations of the mid-season premiere, “The Magical Place,” I’ve personally been of the belief that Agent Coulson’s resurrection has some yet-unrevealed Asgardian connections. Maybe (hopefully) Sif’s appearance will be the catalyst to pushing fans’ favorite Agent into the heroic limelight he belongs in.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns February 4th @ 8pm on ABC with episode 13, “Tracks”. You can watch the promo below:

Source: CBR

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  1. I honestly believed the show was going to be about cleaning up after the Super Heroes and policing alien tech. Instead we get ‘D’ level supers, third level villains and that Lost level plots shown with almost zero FX. Clark Gregson and Ming Na cannot carry this cast with these scripts since their characters chief appeal to fans is how little we actually know about them. The cast is way too young and not believable at all in their roles. They look like a bargain basement DC Justice League starter set rather than an elite MVU SHIELD team.

    The show started right but has jumped way over the shark with the ultra top secret under the radar SHIELD having logos on their ‘covert’ Academy, marked vehicles/planes and and existing infrastructure that makes the CIA and NSA redundant to say the least. Instead of the low profile coordinating agency hinted at in Ironman they give us an underground government with its own independent military, spies and justice system??? This is fine for the movie universe but in serialized television they just don’t have enough money to deliver a weekly MVU.

    I would rather watch the intended SHIELD ‘X-Files’.

  2. Eh, yo, Paul Lee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Robert Chapman I agree. They show their symbol on everything how secretive can you be rolling around in this stuff, a villain can locate and infiltrate easily this way. also the villains should be cool characters Marvel might not ever use or get to use in the films like the serpent society, Ulik, Grey Gargoyle,(etc). The Leader would have been a great villain to really start this show off, Ulik could have found a way to get to earth along with Enchantress, so many ways to make this work and they keep pushing this in an unbelievable fashion. I would use scandle as a template for grounding this to make it feel more organic. These kids running around is silly. I say if they would slow down the pace and focus on some details and really build something it could really fit into the Marvel films and be its own thing and work. Like find a alien tech ok, then as culson introduces sky have the tech team start reverse engineering the tech and come across some information, ok now someone higher up wants to use the tech to build something, then they create some god awful threat. There is your season one leading into the films, and the higher up could have been Hank pyme creating Ultron or something. They jump from one location to the next and it make the show stale because they cannot build on anything. its just a goofy show, That life raft scene in the plane made me think these people really do not care how this show is doing or they would take the time to work out the details. The whole explanation for Culson could have been way better if he had been a cyborg or something. Horrible show.

    • Speaking of the logos I find it interesting that there are two SHIELD logos. I’m thinking one is old and the other is new, but Coulson’s ID from AoS has the old one, but his ID from the Avengers has the new one. Also in the Avengers, Hawkeye and Black Widow both had different SHIELD logos on the shoulders of their suits. I forget which one had the old. There were some vehicles which had the old one, some which had the new one. The sign you see at the research facility in the opening scene has the old one. I’m wondering if this is just random, a mistake, or if it actually means something.

  4. The way this show is going the Clairvoyant will just be some randomly created character instead of one that could be pulled from Marvel huge list of interesting villains. I would have either went with The Leader to build up Hulk for the Avengers, Ultron, or M.O.D.O.K.

  5. I doesn’t help for families to watch when the idiots had Chloe barely dressed for 20+ min in one of the 1st episodes. My family imediately turned off the tv at that point and almost swore off the whole show. The producers can’t figure out that there is enough of that junk on and the commercials are just as bad in the scantily dressed arena. No wonder the rating fell after showing that stuff. And they are not smart enough to figure it out???

    • If that bothered you how did you sit through a guy getting a flaming hand punched through his chest or Mike Peterson admiring his severed leg ?

      Some people really make too much out of almost seeing nudity, while being okay with varying degrees of violence.

    • Just… wow. But I guess watching someone being riddled with bullets is fine.

      “Barely dressed?”

      America is a strange, strange place.

  6. My personal “theory” about Skye’s past is that she’s Loki’s daughter. If anyone saw the last episode of SHIELD they revealed that the “alien artifact” a previous SHIELD team was nearly wiped out protecting was baby Skye.

    Out of all the movie tie in’s lately it seems Asgard has been getting a lot of attention and now Sif is going to show up later on. What if Loki and Sif had a child but something happened and Sif wanted to hide her from her father and sent her to Earth?

    • Could be and with the Sif coming up it “would makes sense” but who knows with this show. I am glad that they admitted this show didn’t meet their expectations(along with everyone else) but at the same time they also said that want to move away from the big screen world and make the series their own. The way the show is heading and what they are saying are kind of contradicting themselves but then again, knowing ABC, they will probably just have the Sif do a 5-10 minute cameo in which she only makes an appearance on the behalf of the Clairvoyant. With the numerous interviews that Whedon has done, it’s pretty clear that he wants to separate the two worlds. Also, based on some rumors around the web, the tie-in to Cap 2 is being said that it just reveals that SHIELD is corrupted. Other than that, there is no Skye/Bucky ties or Coulson or start of Ultron ties. If true, then I can see a lot of disappointment because people were expecting that the show had a huge tie into Cap 2. This is going to be interesting

    • Great theory seeing as there is another Thor tie in coming soon with Jamie Alexanders (Siff)

  7. Maybe the Clairvoyant is Loki. He’s just wondering how he didn’t die.

  8. There is no urgency or threat in the show. Agent Coulson should be the calm in the eye of the storm, instead he is the calm in the eye of light showers!

  9. I am extremely disappointed in this show! I knew they wouldn’t have Iron man or Cap, or even Hawkeye! I assumed, however, they’d have great chemistry and fun storytelling. Unfortunately, I was thinking of Firefly, Buffy and Angel, instead, they’re making a marvel lite, that is neither strong or sweet. It’s simply mediocre. I like some of the cast, but am not thrilled with the stories. They should be dealing with MVU villains! Not new, made up ones for the show. If you’re going to bring in Jamie Alexander as Sif, make it count. However, don’t only count on cameos. We need to come back for this cast! The one we see every week.

  10. Someone said above that Skye is the daughter of Loki…Good theory…

    BUT… could be that Skye is Sif’s daughter.

    I still think Scarlet Witch will end up being Coulson’s adopted daughter. Could be that when Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s parents died they were split up by Fury and SHIELD. Coulson was given custody of her and raised her. But he forgot about her after he died along with SHIELD messing with his brain. Now he vaguely remembers her.

    SHIELD and Fury are now hiding Scarlet Witch in some sort of protective custody and lied to her saying Coulson died. This could lead to heated drama between Coulson, SHIELD, FURY, and Scarlet Witch.

  11. I think two of the agents (probably FitzSimmons) are going to be killed off in this upcoming episode, as we already know that two new agents are joining the team in episode 14

  12. Its funny I started out agreeing with all of you that the show was too childish and the stories were weak and the acting was weak. Now the show is picking up big time, a lot more well thought out drama and mystery. I am now really liking the show and the story line now is keeping me watching to see what happens next. Im highly approving the show and hoping they continue to get better.