Published on December 3rd, 2013 | by gareth0
Is It To Late To Save Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Months ago I wrote an article asking what can be done to help improve Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show made a splashy debut in the ratings and has since been in a freefall to a 2.2 low. With Disney investing a lot in the new series, one would thank that they would keep the show around as long as they can as they want to see a return on their investment and not lose a hold on the tv audience for future Marvel based shows.
While there was a brief increase to 2.6 in the ratings due to a rerun of NCIS and a tie in to the recent “Thor: The Dark World” film, fans have largely been unimpressed with the show and have continued to stay away.
With the ratings bottoming out, the question for many is can the show be saved and what is the best way to do it. I stated previously that casting is a big issue for me. I find the cast of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be very bland and filled with uninteresting characters who are paper thing action show stereotypes. The only character of interest to me is Agent Coulson as I do have interest in the slowly developing backstory of how he survived the attack by Loki in “The Avengers”, and his recent doubts about himself have been the most compelling part of the show.
The biggest issue for me is that Clark Gregg is a wonderful supporting actor but his character like Gregg himself are best used in a supporting role and not as the focal points intended to carry a show of this size.
The tacked on romance between ultra bland May and Ward was supposed to bring some heat to the show but their characters are about as exciting as watching paint dry and I have zero compulsion or interest in them whenever they are on the screen and in my opinion sap much of the energy out of the show.
Lab geeks Jemma and Leo are supposed to be the comedy relief of the groups but are to often more annoying then they are interesting as despite their awkward flirting, they are best left in the background to develop tech and do research and not become focal points of storylines as how many times can we have the nerds in trouble and need saving angle?
Skye had some interest at first as a fish out of water in the mysterious world of S.H.I.E.L.D. but she does little more than Google information and provide Coulson a different point of view and does not do much to justify being on the show.
I think if the show is to continue they need to shake things up. Do not turn the show into a Monster of the Week show but seeing some real danger and some interesting and reoccurring bad guys would be a step in the right direction.
I would also love to see some new cast members added to the show who would add some fire to the crew. They fly a rigged out plane yet Agent May is the only pilot. Most planes have a co-pilot and to me it seems odd to have a weapons expert also be your only pilot as one injury and your grounded.
A co-pilot could be an interesting move especially if they conflict with May and in time provide a spark for a potential love triangle with Ward should they continue this relationship.
Another avenue they should look at is the killing off of a character or two. This is a dangerous world that the agents live in and for them to come out week after week unblemished is not in keeping with the show. We saw agents going down and down hard in “The Avengers” lets have some danger and mix things up. The Walking Dead has not been afraid to kill off main and beloved characters before and is able to find replacements. The sense of danger is something that keeps the show fresh as you know that almost anyone can be killed at anytime.
Finally, explore the rich Marvel history. I know that budget concerns will not allow them to bring the A list stars from past films in on a regular or extended basis but there are over 7000 characters in the Marvel Universe and I cannot believe that there are not characters that can be introduced. Yes this is tricky as characters that may appear in future films may make casting difficult as stars of film do not often do television and when they do it is not cheap.
But a solid contract that requires various television appearances to go with movie appearances can easily solve this issue. I would love to see how the show will handle the “Avengers 2” storylines should it still be around when the film is released.
Finally, make the show have an edge. Give us characters that we truly care about and danger that is worthy of the heroes and their abilities. The show could be like a great mix of The X-Files, Marvel, and at times Star Trek as they seek out and find new and dangerous Paranormal threats each week.
The time is now for the show to step up or else it will become like many other Joss Whedon shows and be gone before we know it.