Last night at Thanksgiving, I was talking to my brother-in-law, who kept talking about how bad he thought Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is and I asked him why because I’m really enjoying it. His only complaint, his sole complaint, is that Marvel’s superheroes don’t show up every single episode.
That’s not what the show is about! It’s never been what the show is about! Nobody ever promised a show like that! I think most people with that mindset are going into this with completely unrealistic and absurd expectations, wanting a show that they’re simply not going to get.
The whole point of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is to focus on the humans in the Marvel Universe. It is not to have a different Avenger show up every week and if you think that’s what’s supposed to happen, you’re an idiot. They’ve made no bones about the fact that superheroes will rarely, if ever, show up in this show. It’s a vehicle for Coulson and his 100% human team, nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t like that, don’t watch it. Just don’t complain that it’s not something that it was never intended or promised to be.
In fact, I’d be happier if they did away with any super-powered people showing up at all and focused on the high-tech, super-science criminals like AIM and Hydra. That’s where the show would shine and do something that none of the other Marvel media properties are doing. I suppose there is some of that, the secret group who is developing the Centipede technology is great, as far as they’ve gone with it but they need to do more. No mutants. No aliens. All human-based, high-tech adventures as Coulson and his team try to solve very human problems with super-science.
I’m cool if they want to mention superheroes and keep a connection with the larger Marvel Universe, in fact, I want them to do that. I love the references, I want them to throw in all kinds of clues and hints and easter eggs into the show. I want people who are familiar with the Marvel Universe to get a rush every time they recognize a hidden reference and to try and guess how that reference affects the show. That’s what I love about Arrow, I want to love it just as much about Agents. Of course, when you do those things, you have to do them intelligently. I don’t want Agents to just randomly name a scientist Hank Pym unless that’s really who it is.
I really don’t know where Marvel wanted this show to go but I know where they didn’t want it to go and that seems to be the direction everyone expected, even though they were very clear that’s not where it was headed. I’m just hoping that they can plug along in the ratings and get a second season and really get the kind of focus they need to be successful. They’ve been averaging about 2.5 in the 18-49 demographic, which isn’t great but it’s not that far off stronger shows like Sleepy Hollow, but it’s quite far below some of my best rated favorite shows like Person of Interest. In fact, this past week, Sleepy Hollow, Agents and Almost Human all cracked the Top 25 and that’s in a holiday week (which shows you how far ahead I write some of these things).
My advice to people is to accept reality as it is. If Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t the show you want it to be, don’t watch it. Otherwise, accept the show as it actually is and enjoy it on that basis. Don’t act like they owe you a different show. They owe you nothing. Take it or leave it but at least be realistic about your expectations. Otherwise, it’s no wonder you’re not happy.