If you’re like me, you were terribly excited when they announced the launch of ABC’s Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably been a little disappointed with the product since it started airing. While I do believe the show has gotten a little better recently, there is still a lot of room for improvement. I desperately want the program to succeed and be the vehicle that keeps tying the MCU together in between movies. But to do that, there needs to be some changes.
More Movie Crossovers – I obviously understand that actors like Robert Downey, Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner aren’t going to be popping up on the show, but there are tons of secondary characters in each of these films that could. I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode for this reason as Lady Sif will be making an appearance. But outside of her, a one scene cameo by Maria Hill, and two by Nick Fury (one of which lasted all of 5 seconds), there have been no crossovers from the MCU movies. I think most fans (myself included) saw this show as an unprecedented opportunity to seamlessly blend a TV series with a movie franchise. So far, it has fallen pretty flat in that respect.
Better Characters – Outside of Coulson and May, both of whom I really like, I’m pretty ambivalent about most of the cast. Skye is a cute girl and has her moments where I like her, but she’s also kind of whiny, doesn’t have the most common sense, and is constantly thumbing her nose at rules and procedures that one would think would get her arrested, or at the very least kicked out of S.H.I.E.L.D. I really want to like Fitz and Simmons, and truth be told, they’re growing on me, but I just can’t help but feel like they’re a little bland. Then there’s Ward. He’s not particularly likable or compelling as a character. And for someone who’s supposed to be almost on the same level as the Black Widow (as referenced in the pilot), I’ve yet to see anything from him that displays that fact. Trying to establish brand new characters has been a tough row to hoe in the first season…this leads me to my next point.
Use Established S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents – There are dozens of already established characters in S.H.I.E.L.D. that could have been used in the cast to further tie-in the comic, but aside from the aforementioned cameos by Nick Fury and Maria Hill, and of course main cast member Phil Coulson , Victoria Hand has been the only agent from the comics to appear on the show. I realize that the super-powered agents like Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, and Mockingbird are probably being saved for Avengers movies, but there are tons of non-superhuman agents to choose from that would be fun to see in the show.
Stop Random Breaks – It’s really difficult to stay connected to a television series when they keep taking long breaks between episodes. I can somewhat understand not wanting to go head-to-head with the Winter Olympics last month (though there are plenty of people like myself that didn’t watch them and would have preferred my regular shows be on), but also keep in mind that the vast majority of people don’t watch shows live anymore and will DVR them and watch them later…and DVR recordings still count towards overall viewership and ratings, so there’s really no reason not to air programs even against tough sporting event competition. What doesn’t make sense is the random 3-week break the show is going to be taking after tonight’s episode.
Joss Whedon Writing – One of the things that excited me most about the idea of this series was the fact that Joss Whedon was attached to it. I’m a huge fan of his writing and storytelling style. Sadly, apart from the pilot episode, Whedon hasn’t written for the show and merely acts as executive producer. The show is in serious need of a dose of his deep, touching, familiar characters and quick, witty dialogue.