Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ghost Rider and a Soft Reboot Reignite the Show's Fire

Agents of SHIELD Ghost Rider and a Soft Reboot Reignite the Shows FireMarvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has had more than its fair share of troubles over the years, but the show's Season 4 premiere and the fiery introduction of Marvel character Ghost Rider at least give off the appearance of the comic book series being better off than when we left it.

The six-month time jump that closed out Season 3 meant the premiere acted as a soft reboot for a series that's had a number of them already, and without the dead weight that was Brett Dalton's Hive arc, the series has more direction and feels more invigorated than it has in a while.

Part of the reason for that is the introduction of Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes, the show's version of Ghost Rider, who is invoking vengeance on the streets of East Los Angeles. But the fact that Coulson's (Clark Gregg) original rag-tag team of agents has been disbanded and given new roles in the wake of the government once again taking control of S.H.I.E.L.D. adds new complications and mysteries to a series that desperately needed it.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Meet the new director

With the addition of Ghost Rider this season, the series is entering unchartered territory and introducing the supernatural into the MCU. According to showrunner and executive producer Jed Whedon, who addressed a small audience of friends, family, fans and press following the show's premiere screening Monday evening, the fact that this is happening just shy of the November release of Doctor Strange is just a coincidence.

Whatever, Jed. This isn't our first rodeo.

Still, the series has clearly taken steps to up the ante and add its own spin to not only the show's powered population but Ghost Rider himself. The show's version of the character has been aged out of high school but otherwise remains pretty faithful to the original backstory. And as Whedon noted, the writers have only made adjustments to the story so that those fans familiar with the comics and the character won't know exactly what's coming next. That uncertainty is what ultimately made the premiere an enjoyable ride.

But there's still the case of the shifting dynamics of Coulson and the gang. The biggest shift in power oddly enough didn't stem from Daisy's (Chloe Bennet) departure from the team or Coulson being demoted from director to agent, but rather the promotion of Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) to special advisor to the still as-yet-unseen director (who will look a lot like Jason O'Mara when he makes his debut).

Her new role comes with new responsibilities and puts her at odds with each of her friends, including Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), with whom she's still happily coupled (thank God). And because she has to take a lie detector test every day -- a measure put in place to hopefully prevent another awkward company-wide Hydra infiltration -- S.H.I.E.L.D. is basically a breeding ground for secrets. That set up alone has the power to create an infinite amount of new conflicts. Already before the end of the premiere, Fitz decided to keep the fact that Radcliffe had developed a Life Model Decoy prototype a secret from the one person who could probably assist in its development. That probably won't come back to bite him in the a** at all.

Exclusive: Ghost Rider is blazing back to comics

With Daisy delivering her own style of vigilante justice and Coulson back in the field as an agent, the series has essentially come full circle, and not in the way it necessarily had been doing with the constant retreading of Daisy's desperate desire to find a place to call home. Using the character's isolation to introduce Ghost Rider gives her something worthwhile to do and means fans aren't being treated to a pity party by someone who's admitted she's ready to die.

And that's a fine place to jump into the story in Season 4. The show desperately needed to prove there's still some gas left in the tank after a lackluster end to a third season that started out so promising. Pushing forward and finding new conflicts for each of our heroes to face, including a supernatural element that the series has never tapped into before, could be just what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs right now.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Nov 03, 2016
For me the series made a giant leap forward in the middle of the first season that continued into the second season. It has gone steadily downhill since then.
The Inhumans story line was boring and the Ghost Scientists and the Ghost Rider story line is even more boring.
I actually like most of the core cast and their personal interactions but the big story feels like some lame Spielberg attempt at genre TV.

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Oct 11, 2016
I have been praying for Coulson to go back to being an agent from the very first episode. Being the director sat badly on the fanboy, dryly humorous version of Coulson we saw in the films. The best moment in the last series was his little tribute to STAR WARS which was pure Collector-Of-Captain-America -cards Coulson.

I like the new version of The Ghost Rider but I'm wondering if the frequent references to Peggy Carter and SSR mean the "ghosts" are a result of the experiments we saw in the second season of the much-missed and untimely cancelled AGENT CARTER.

The new tensions caused by the post-HYDRA infiltration are great. I liked the new Director once I realised he was more than the corporate drone he appeared to be but I'm still wracking my brains for which 1940s Marvel hero he is meant to be.

Captain Marvel seems a bit on the nose but he might be one of THE TWELVE who were put in suspended animation by the Nazis in WW2 in which case he might be Captain Wonder.
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Sep 26, 2016
I've loved this show throughout all of the seasons, even though it's been a bumpy ride. This new Ghost Rider is too cool for words, though I'm a bit confused about him driving a car instead of riding a motorcycle. But I'm so glad the show is back.
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Sep 27, 2016
Well this is not the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider that most people are familiar with that was introduced in the 1970s and that was featured in the Nicholas Cage movies. This is a new one introduced in a 2013 comic reboot that drives a car instead of a motorcycle and is not actually the real Spirit of Vengeance. (Spoiler?)
The original one is still around though...so keep dreaming of a Blaze cameo.
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Sep 24, 2016
This was unexpected. I thought when I heard about the 'Ghost Rider' promo that they were just going to slap stick him in and blow the whole thing (see Hive/Ward for reference). Instead we got actual plot that went over surprisingly well. I like the breaking up of the band, 'Director Coulson' was never my favorite as much as 'Agent Coulson'. And I have to say, Skye - Daisy - Quake is much better not hampered by SHIELD.

May said it a ways back, Skye works off official channels. Amen Melinda May, amen!

I think the 'geeky' Skye version has done the doodoo but the current Quake might be an improvement over 'Daisy'. Really curious over the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" box that makes you nuts. I can see the Rider and Quake bonding over that in a very destructive way. Of course with May's exposure, well, how much worse can have a lethal, highly trained agent/fixer (assassin) slowly losing her grip really get, huh? Not like she doesn't have her own person team of shooters riding shot gun... no not at all. That can't end badly at all.

Call it a hunch, but ol' Nick Fury better hurry back or he might find his hela carrier picking off people. This new director best have his stuff together because I don't see him or her reaching mid season if he doesn't!

On a positive note: I like the new Simmons!!!! She is taking no crap from anyone and she isn't apologizing for it at all. She had zero problem telling May the facts of life; she's higher on the ladder, live with it. Fitz better be reeeaaalllllyyyyy careful. She isn't playing favorites with any of them. And I don't see Fitz's project staying secret for long at all.

Here's to hoping the new director bites it and Simmons grabs the brass ring. Long Live Director Simmons!!!
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Sep 24, 2016
As some of you have pointed out, I am highly suspicious of the origin of this article. Reads more like bland press release from TV guide than the hard hitting, humorous evaluation piece we all loved that this site used to be known for.

The entire episode, all I could think of was Daisy's eye make up and who the hell did that awful piece of work and why.

Daisy was becoming less annoying that her season 1 and 2 self. She had some kick as moves but I fear its going to get annoying again in terms of her character and story line. Sigh.

Liked everthing else. Wish there was more Ghost Rider expo as it was advertised as a Ghost Rider ep, so was expecting more. They did such a good job on him I wouldn't have minded waiting one more ep to find out about the rest of the team.
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Sep 26, 2016
I know it is shallow but I agree on the eye makeup...all I could think was...who thought raccoon eyes are good for a kick ass inhuman?
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Sep 22, 2016
The only thing that I was legitimately upset about with the pilot was the fact that it was far too short of a time frame for Fitz to be buddy-buddy with Radcliffe, and to start the entire season with Fitz being shady and lying to Simmons -for any reason-was NOT ok.
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Sep 22, 2016
Finally! It's a new season, baby!

And what a way to start!
Finally Agents of Shield is justifying the "Marvel's" on the title. This season premiere is what the show was supposed to be from the beginning but for some reason was not.
The Ghost Rider (beautifully presented by the way), Aida (hopefully the first of many LMDs), some mysterious dust that seems to be remains of our old friend Hive, all of that promise to boost the show like Marvel wasn't able to do in the previous seasons.
Daisy as a vigilante was not very cool though, unless it is only a transition phase and she soon finds her way back to being Skye, that funny geek I came to enjoy.

Anyway, cool start. Sure hope they keep the pace.
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Sep 22, 2016
At first, I couldn't exactly put my finger on what the episode was missing, and then I was like: "Ah! Needs more Ward."

Seriously. AoS is a lesser show because the lack of Ward. :(
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Nov 03, 2016
Actually without Ward the show is cookie cutter. But they even managed to mishandle his character towards the end.
One of my favorite shows back in Season 2 is now a show I might drop from my DVR.
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Sep 22, 2016
I enjoyed the episode but I think there was too much going on, which I feel has been a recurring problem with the show. This season branded itself with Ghost Rider, why can't the primary focus be that character? I don't know that anyone wants or needs whatever the parasite ghost in a box story is or the life model decoy story. I think the episode would have been better off if they cut those stories and maybe answered some questions left lingering after the end of last season.
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Sep 22, 2016
It should have been Nick Cage!
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Sep 23, 2016
But after their ignorant uninformed politically failing comments I think there may be many shows (this one included) that are no longer entertaining. Why are the opinions of overpaid babies relevant at all except that sheeple are easily swayed by "famous" people.
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Sep 22, 2016
As usual MAOS just short of being truly satisfying. Why is Daisy or Quake going around doing vigilante duties in LA? Who nominated her? Daisy told the Rider You don't get to decide who decides to die(...or be punished)) Am surprised she didn't see the irony in that.
A couple of other niggling issues like this makes keeps MAOS on my DVR queue rather than a must watch.
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Sep 22, 2016
I wasn't that impressed and that up there reads more like a press release than a review come on man. I hope this season improves because for me that was a slow start. If you want to look at a successful reboot go look at Blindspot and what it did.
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Sep 22, 2016
It was a decent season premiere.
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Sep 21, 2016
The reboot did some good to the show, but first episodes are regularly better, so i'm going to stay cautious. The robot thing looks promising, and hopefully something interesting will come out of the new cast members, such as that mysterious director. Ghost Rider should be ok, but will that give material for a whole season?
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Sep 21, 2016
What a great start to the season. I love the introduction of ghost rider and the actor is going a great job so far. I just ador yo yo she's great and how she plays with mack is perfect.

Just a little bit of help please, I've never read the comic books about any of these character but do know somethings and for some reason the name ADIA sounds very very very familiar, is she important as a character, is she something?

I've always loved this show and I've been here since the beginning and I'm here to stay until the end.
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Sep 21, 2016
Decent opener. But, hasn't Daisy been using her powers enough over the last couple of seasons to have moved past the whole micro fracture of the bones thing. I get that they don't want to make her too powerful, but it seems kind of redundant at this point. Drink some milk, take a calcium pill or something.

Other than that, it looks promising.
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Sep 21, 2016
Have loved the show since the beginning and although there have been some low points it's never been low enough for me to complain. In the last couple of years Agent's of Shield has been for me the one show that I couldn't wait for to come back after a long break. Now add the news that they were bring Ghost Rider into it A character I have really liked and in need of a really good rendition coming out of one semi alright Cage movie into a real disaster Cage movie. I think he fit's right at home in this one and can't wait to see what happens with him now.

Welcome back Agent's. Thank you for all the entertainment and continue to be awesome.
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Sep 21, 2016
AoS's back and it was a treat and Kaitlin, your review was one as well. I know people have left the ship but I'm still there to check great reviews, yours are always spot-on, even if sometimes I object to some points. I wish things got back to the way they once were but as long as we got you here, we'll be fine! I just wish you got more than 13 comments in 13 hours, wake up people, the new season has arrived and some great reviewers are back.
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Sep 21, 2016
Haven't you heard? TV.Com is now a ghost town of a TV site--gone are the days I'm afraid. I still come here hoping it will return to it's former glory somehow, but alas, I fear that's not going to happen. This is the time of year I miss the old gang so much more. The new TV season is upon us and it looks much better than it has in recent years. I've been over to TVGuide.com and I don't really care for its generic-ness and lack of camaraderie. And I don't blame the staff. You gotta do what you gotta do, and for most of us that's eating. There's nothing to see here, move along, move along...
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Sep 22, 2016
What are some good review sites to check out? TV.com has just become depressing since TV Guide took over =(
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Sep 29, 2016
Tvfanatic.com has been pretty good with the new shows, but I haven't investigated very thoroughly yet.
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Sep 21, 2016
Oh, and I love you Kaitlin...
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Sep 21, 2016
Welcome to SHIELD P.W. (Post Ward). It took two years longer than it should have, but we're finally here, and it's glorious. Well, glorious adjacent because while I'm glad to finally be rid of the bearded anchor, my Spidey sense is tingling with a couple of potential problems this season.

The Good: Straight out of the gate, SHIELD put to rest my worries about their interpretation of Ghost Rider. Gabriel Luna is great and their effects are even better. Suck it, Nicolas Cage! I'm still not quite clear how this dynamic is going to work, but I'm REALLY excited at the idea of a Ghost Rider/Daisy team up to rid Los Angeles of bad guys.

Whether that actually happens, I don't know, but I'm clinging to hope since it has the potential for all kinds of awesome!

The Bad: Really Fitz? You're just going to jump in with both feet and help Radcliffe build this robot prototype that you proclaimed to be a terrible idea from the second it was explained to you? The security implications within SHIELD. Radcliffe's less than reliable past. And yeah, the whole Ultron thing.

It drives me crazy when smart characters do dumb things for no other reason than to drive a plot point.

The Ugly: Simmons is amazing. And Boss Simmons is even better. But this whole dynamic is already giving me an eye twitch that I haven't felt since watching the last episode of Arrow. This lie detector business is a breeding ground for secrets, and secrets are the laziest way to build conflict.

If characters doing dumb things drives me crazy, this Three's Company model of plot development puts me right over the deep end. I can only pray that this dynamic doesn't last more than a few episodes, because I already HATE it.

"...without the dead weight that was Brett Dalton's Hive arc, the series has more direction and feels more invigorated than it has in a while"

Ding! Dong! The beard is dead, and already the show it better for it. I don't want to say, "I told you so"...but I think we both know I did ;)

"And as Whedon noted, the writers have only made adjustments to the story so that those fans familiar with the comics and the character won't know exactly what's coming next."

It also provided fuel for those same fanboys to do what they do best, complain. "A Latino Ghost Rider?!? That's not what it is in the comics. This is clearly Marvel pushing it's progressive PC bullsh*t agenda trying to force diverstiy down our throats."

Even if it weren't a great adaptation, I'd love it since few things make me smile more than upset fanboys.

"Simmons' new role comes with new responsibilities and puts her at odds with each of her friends, including Fitz, with whom she's still happily coupled (thank God)."


{sigh} I was really hoping we were going to pretend like that never happened last year and during the time jump, something happened, they broke up and returned to the dynamic they had in season 1, which was objectively the best those two characters have ever been together.
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Sep 21, 2016
I agree that keeping secrets is a hella lazy way to create conflict, but at this point in the show, I'm also so over so much of the other garbage that I'm just like "K. Give me more Ghost Rider and screw everything else."
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Sep 24, 2016
Well, technically, he was a Ghost Driver...
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Sep 21, 2016
I loved this premiere! It was great seeing Daisy out on her own again, and also interesting that Yo-Yo was secretly helping her. The Simmons stuff was a great hump to throw at our characters and fitting, as she's been the one at odds with decisions before - I find it enjoyable as she is opposing the good of the group's secret mission while genuinely feeling like she's doing what's best to keep everyone safe.

The only thing that really did bug me was how they for no reason hid Ghost Rider's face from us for half of the episode, only to have an anti-climactic reveal of him being someone we've never seen before. Part of me was getting my hopes up that it was somehow Ward, despite him being dead. I know, I'm probably the only person who is going to miss Ward... :-\
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Sep 21, 2016
I miss ward, I just miss seeing that pretty bearded face on my screen.
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Sep 21, 2016
Great premiere! And yes - please do not jinx FitzSimmons :-)

This version of Ghost Rider has me curious: The Spirit of Vengeance should not be killing (according to the lore). It WANTS to kill but is kept in check by the human host. Now that this version's host is an Inhuman, nothing's getting checked.
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Sep 21, 2016
The text recap is up, at tv.com.
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Sep 21, 2016
Loved this season opener I do agree with the reviewer above that they are going the Mystical route with Dr Strange coming after last season troubles this is what this show needed. I think the Ghost Rider is great although I did think at first they were going the punisher route but this is ABC and the network is not as daring as Netflix. Still its a nice change looking forward to next week
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Sep 21, 2016
Could you imagine what Netflix could do with ghost rider. I hope they do that would just be beyond perfect.
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Sep 21, 2016
The episode was pretty gruesome by AOS standards.
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Sep 21, 2016
Though I'm a bit disappointed that this version of Ghost Rider drives a car and not a motorcycle (though I'm hoping not for long) he does seem a lot more creepy than the over the top performance of the PREVIOUS Ghost Rider. I hope his role is expanded into something other than to solely be a deus ex machina that is sacrificed to save the main characters (Lash).

Daisy's begging to be offed by Ghost Rider after he defeated her puzzles me. Is she feeling guilty about all the things she's done under Hive's control or feels lost because most of her Inhuman companions, including the man she loved, are dead? I mean, we still have Yo Yo and that one guy who manipulates metal, but other than that there's no one else. I get some of her reasoning for wanting to be free from SHIELD after all the crap Coulson pulled on her in season 3, but literally begging for death because she deserves it is... weird.

Awww, FitzSimmons are a happy couple now... Place your bets! Will they break up before midseason, at midseason, or in the season finale?


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Sep 21, 2016
Given the dark place Daisy was at the end of last season, prompting her departure from the team, being "asked" to be judged seems pretty in line with the character. It isn't like she just walked up and asked to be killed, he was injured, beaten and not much she could have done about it even if she wanted to.

Accepting her fate, even death, seems pretty appropriate.
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Sep 21, 2016
DON'T JINX FITZSIMMONS.
We worked too hard to get here...
At least give them a season.
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Sep 21, 2016
Well it looks like Chris from FTWD is FINALLY gonna diexD
Anywho, GR v QUAKE was AWESOME, & I really liked the actor playing him as well! But the rest of the group so far just feels MEH 2 me, minus May's potential possession. I do HOPE they can kick their respective storilines in2 high gear if they want 2 sustain this show! Where's MockingJ/Hunter when u need them.
PS, GLAD @kaitling's back reviewing shows I watch!
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Sep 21, 2016
Really enjoyed the premiere tonight, though I feel like the 'ask questions and not answer them' way to generate intrigue is a bit overdone, like the dozen or so references to the unspecified director. Personally, my money's on someone named Koenig. "Spectrum of Security" definitely includes a lanyard in my book. Looking forward to next week!
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