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SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier or you aren't up-to-date on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and you'd like to remain unspoiled, I suggest you bookmark this page for later and hightail it out of here until after you're caught up.

Where does Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. go now that S.H.I.E.L.D. itself no longer exists? It's a question fans have been asking themselves since the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which revealed that Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and had been operating in plain sight literally since the organization's inception. These developments have obviously been in the pipeline at Marvel for awhile now, and the creative team tasked with bringing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the small screen knew where the show was eventually headed. 

Prior to the airing of "Turn, Turn, Turn"—the episode that revealed Agent John Garrett as the Clairvoyant and Agent Ward as a potential and probable double agent—executive producer Jed Whedon spoke to TV Line about the twist, and he confirmed that he and his team were ready for the film from the get-go: "We know a lot about every movie a long time before it comes out," he said. "We get to read the scripts and see early cuts, so if and when there are things that affect our world... we have a lot of time to prepare." So it's not as if S.H.I.E.L.D.'s producers were blindsided by the movie's plot twists and forced to scramble at the last second—this was always the destination. But some fans think the show has really been hurt by the delay in getting there. 

After all, it's not a secret that S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't the out-of-the-gate success Marvel and ABC were hoping for. After a huge premiere, the ratings fell and continued to fall; "Turn, Turn, Turn" notched the show's lowest numbers to date, even though it was probably the series' best episode yet. The episode was billed as a tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so it's certainly possible that some viewers might've held off on watching the episode because they didn't want to or weren't able to see the film on opening weekend. But as we pointed out in this past weekend's FTW vs. WTF column, the 17 episodes is a long time to have to wait before a show begins telling its "real" story, especially in this case, where it's clear that Marvel makes its films a higher priority than its weekly television series. The Winter Soldier had to blow up S.H.I.E.L.D.'s titular agency before many of the show's current storylines could get off the ground, and I'm certainly guilty of whining a lot about the show's problems during what turned out to be an extended waiting period. But now that it's over, I can accept that speeding up the timeline was not within the showrunners' control. And throwing complaints at a company like Marvel isn't going to get us anywhere. Instead, we can and we should focus on what this new development means.


S.H.I.E.L.D. really found its footing once it returned from winter hiatus—not in "Turn, Turn, Turn" as some might believe. Once the series started to reveal the mystery of Coulson's resurrection, and especially once Skye was shot in "T.R.A.C.K.S.," S.H.I.E.L.D. started to feel like a different show, one that had direction and purpose. There were hints of the organization's eventual fracturing in those episodes, but they weren't good episodes because of those hints, they were good episodes because the characters felt human and the stakes were real. Dismantling S.H.I.E.L.D. was a game-changer; that action will ripple through the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But how will it affect a show that's called Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Coulson has been a company man from the moment we met him, but his journey this season became increasingly personal as he grew more skeptical of the organization he dedicated his life to as he uncovered the truth about what happened to him. I think it's fair to argue that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never truly been a show about agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; rather, it's about men and women who technically work for the organization and sometimes benefit from its resources, but whose storylines aren't always dependent on specific S.H.I.E.L.D. assignments. The dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself will no doubt change things on the surface of the series and create plenty of new enemies to fight, but there are plenty of reasons why now is the time to really get excited about what's in store. 

Going forward, S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue to follow Coulson's team, like it always has—only now they're the ragtag band of misfits they've been masquerading as since the beginning of the season while flying the S.H.I.E.L.D. banner. They finally have a reason to be off on their own—only now there's the added danger of not knowing who to trust, always wondering if an old pal is actually a Hydra foe. Throw in the fact that they only have the resources on the Bus at their disposal, and the stakes have been raised in a way that many viewers have been begging for all season. Coulson and his team are at their perceived weakest right now, being hunted by former friends, which means whatever happens in these final episodes might account for the richest stories the show will ever have the opportunity to tell. S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally the show that we were promised at the outset. It's not about the shiny gadgets or the missions to Peru; there are questions of morality and an "us vs. the world" mentality, and the show now exists in a world painted in shades of gray instead of black and white. In other words, S.H.I.E.L.D. feels like a show that's been touched by Joss Whedon.

It's true that Joss isn't as hands-on with S.H.I.E.L.D.as executive producers and showrunners Jed Whedon or Maurissa Tancharoen, but the show's transformation over the course of the season feels reminiscent of nearly every Whedon show to date. First, the writers spent some time setting up the premise of the series through mostly standalone episodes, while also introducing characters and letting viewers get comfortable with the roles those characters play in this unconventional family. Then they started to introduce more serialized plots, dropping subtle hints about where things were headed at the end of the season, and putting those characters in danger, all before flipping the switch and making viewers question what they thought they knew. There were plenty of smug Whedonites throwing out the "I told you so" last week, I'm sure of it.

And while there've been plenty times that I've found myself frustrated by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s odd pacing—in truth, I still think it's one of the show's biggest problems—in retrospect, I feel a bit better about how we've gotten to this point. S.H.I.E.L.D. basically pulled a Dollhouse on us by blowing up the world it spent so long building, and while Dollhouse obviously did it for different reasons, we can only be so angry about a movie's release date impacting the series' storytelling. There are plenty of other issues to blame the showrunners for—including poor character development and a lack of stakes for most of the season—but since the pacing didn't really have anything to do with them, we're better off just agreeing to forgive and forget so we can look forward to what's ahead. 

Plus, we shouldn't discount the fact that the pay-off made the waiting and all the storylines from the first half of the season worthwhile. Logic would dictate that if The Winger Soldier had been released last November instead of Thor 2, "Turn, Turn, Turn" could've aired sooner and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ratings probably would have been better, but the storylines might not have merged quite so easily. It's possible that Ward's betrayal wouldn't have been a surprise. And I'm not sure the dismantling of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the TV universe would have felt organic at that point. Back then, Coulson wasn't in a place where he distrusted the organization. We can complain that the series moved too slow, and there were definitely a few filler episodes that made me want to throw my television into the Pacific Ocean, but this fits quite well as an end-of-the-season climax. 

Now that we've made it this far, though, where do we go from here? S.H.I.E.L.D. has yet to be renewed for a second season and the viewership haven't been great, but I don't see the show being canceled due to poor ratings, nor do I see the series defeating its larger enemies only to return to focusing on standalone episodes. With S.H.I.E.L.D. blown to bits and Hydra having infiltrated, well, everything, the possibilities for next season are endless. The way the characters will adapt to a S.H.I.E.L.D.-less existence and to Ward's supposed betrayal are what will make up the next batch of storylines. And after that, there will always be more villains to defeat. Now that the team isn't shackled by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the writers aren't handcuffed to a major theatrical event like they were this season, they can do whatever they want. The series went through a lot of growing pains to get to this point, but the worst is over. 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/17/2016

Season 3 : Episode 22

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So now what are you telling me? Now everyone's finally decided "AOS sucked early last season?" When I mentioned it back then (dubbing it Agents of S.H.I.T.E.) everyone spit in my face. Now even the damn executive producer admits it sucked? Amazing.
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I had issues with the first half too but I read online it gets better and it did. I started to have that 24 feeling to it. They still have issues they need to deal with like wards or Skye's acting, but at least i was able to watch the second half of the season in 1 day where the first half I couldn't make it through 2 episodes without falling asleep
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Almost all shows should be forgiven for their first season. It is not the networks that are killing shows it is people being far to critical about new shows first year. If that crap ass Duck show can survive then wtf.
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Stayed with until Ward became a killer. No turning back from that so wasted alot of time on this show. No forgiveness no return
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Sorry to inform the writer.. they ARE handcuffed.. and always will be.. if the Marvel universe (at least the Capt america/Iron Man/Avengers time line is to be cohesive) is to stick. ( Avengers 2, May 2015, CA3 May 2016, IM4 2016?) etc.. IF they keep the show going and tied into the movie story lines, it could be very interesting. One thing though is I am curious if all or any of this gets tied into Xmen at all or will Xmen (like Spiderman) run on its own storyline.
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X-men and Spiderman are both owned by different studios, so unless they manage to make nice with each other (unlikely) we will never see an Avengers/SHIELD tie-in with either of those properties. That's why the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were called "Miracles" instead of mutants in CA2, because "mutants", at least as far as movies go, are owned by another studio.
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Ok so I have just come from seeing Captain America 2 and OMG awesome and what a game changer indeed, it did not dissapoint. Well geared up for the final half of this so far incredible series. I think fanboys expect waay too much to quickly and while far from perfect with some of it's character development this show is still amazing. I am shocked, shocked I say at the badmouthing this series has had to put up with. I have enjoyed every ep of this show so far (some are far superior to others) but agree whole heartedly that the show has definatley picked up momentum since Ep11 "The Magical Place" and is definately heading for a biggie finale which will leave US ALL screaming for season 2. People just need to relax a little, have a little faith and enjoy the ride :)
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Maybe I missed it in your post...but Agents of Shield actually had the ratings adjusted up last week to like 5+ mil etc. Still waiting on +7 dvr ratings. The show has been incredible since the T.R.A.C.K.S. episode. At this point it's just haters talk bad about a show they stopped watching/have no clue about.
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talking*
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"Marvel Agents of SHIELD's problem isn't that it's episodic or that it's developing its long-game, it's that it's clumsy and awkward and bland in places it shouldn't be,"
Even shows like "BABYLON 5", "BUFFY" and "ANGEL" had suffered from occasionally clumsy and bland episodes. So did "LOST". Or have you forgotten? Apparently, you have.
Also, "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." is just starting out as a series . . . and you expect instant perfection? What are you? A Borg? Because you seemed to have this attitude that every episode in a TV series has to be mind blowing or outstanding from the outset . . . and that is an unrealistic goal to expect.

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I will never watch this show again. I stopped watching in January and just saw CA:WS. Its not that it's a bad show and it will probably get a lot better now, its that at some point we have to make a stand and protest what these big companies do. It might be cutting ooff your nose to spite your face, but the only way to hurt these corporations is in the pocket book and thisis one way to do it. I sincerely hope that the series gets cancelled because of executive stupidity and they learn a lesson from it.
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That could work. I mean, when everyone stopped buying gas to protest the rising gas prices that sure taught the oil industry a lesson, didn't it? Guys? Anyone?
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And I sincerely hope you get cancelled for the very same reasons. Bye.
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I'm so glad that I stuck it out earlier this season. I love watching things pay off.

Also, I think this article is a bit inaccurate with the ratings. I've been following the show since it premiered and yes, the numbers have gone down. However, the show had a huge audience from the start and hasn't dipped far below a 2.0, making it a top performer on ABC. Particularly with last nights ratings increase, I see the show easily getting renewed.
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I have loved most of the episodes I've seen so far - maybe because I fell behind on watching and have only now caught up on the show (I saw the first two episodes when the show started and have been recording the rest). So I may have had the benefit of knowing what would happen in The Winter Soldier before seeing the show which made me love all the hints through the season. And also made me love that I had a chance to meet and get to know the main characters knowing that the world they were living in would blow up around them.

So for me the show has paid of. And yes it took a long time to get to this but if the show had only begun a couple of weeks ago or even a couple of months ago the payoff wouldn't have been so devastating. We got to know the "family", saw the "family" come together only to realise that one of the members is a traitor. If this had happened shortly after the series started it wouldn't have had the impact it had. At least not for me.
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Stop trying to make SHIELD happen its not going to happen
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When you say that he is (probably) a double agent you mean that he is a fake agent of SHIELD working for HYDRA or a real agent of SHIELD sent into HYDRA as a spy. But in this case wouldn't he be a triple agent?
And in fact maybe not a very good one because he did nothing to prevent the fall of SHIELD.
But I hope he is not a bad guy.
Sorry in case of double post. I wrote something a couple of hours earlier but this does not seem to have worked!!
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Regardless of any other opinion about the show you may have, does anybody here actually feel that the show's efforts are up on the screen?

By that I mean,
Poll

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My vote is no, I honestly don't think this show's efforts are making it to the screen. Most of the time,
the effects look bad,
the fight choreography looks bad,
the cinematography is nothing to write home about,
nobody is winning any talent awards in acting or writing or directing for this show,
it's not a tour de force production,
even the locations chosen generally feel cheap like straight out of a Hollywood studio backlot or a movie ranch inside LA county that you've seen in dozens of other TV shows spanning decades of the medium.

It feels like the show is half-assing it a little, I didn't realize I felt that way until I thought about the various posts I made in this comments section tonight, but it's definitely how I feel.
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What do you (and the others who gave thumbs-up to this comment) want? An hour-long movie every week? You DO know movies blow up our minds because they spend no less than 100 million bucks on them, right? And that can be done because those are movies, events that happen from time to time. It is impossible to translate that to the small screen, production costs would be so high that shows would die after 3 or 4 episodes.

By the way:
- The effects don't look bad. At all.
- The fight coreography doesn't look bad at all (seriously are you pulling this?)
- The cinematography... sorry, this is a tv show, And it's technically PERFECT on that side.
- The fact that you're saying "nobody is winning any talent awards in acting or writing or directing" shows that you're trashing this show just because. The acting is fine, not everyone has to be Anthony Hopkins or Marlon Brando every minute they're on screen. The writing? Well, the article you're posting a comment to has just explained why the writers had their hands tied most of the time. The directing? Most of the time is fine, and sometimes, like in episode 11 (directed by Kevin Hooks) it's excellent.

All these are not opinions, they are FACTS. If you don't like the show because it doesn't meet your expectations (who are we to demand a show to meet our expectations? that's juist SO out of place), that's OK, there's no need to systematically trash it.
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Your objectivity is severely dubious when you claim the effects don't look bad, the fight choreography doesn't look bad, the cinematography is "technically perfect" are not opinions but facts. Fanboyism doesn't mean being blind to issues. Compare the cinematography to something like Alias or even Alphas, MAOS is all simple shots lit dully even when they're not effects shots.

The acting and directing are flat and simplistic, characters are played shallow. Instead of making excuses for production, you could champion what you do like but when you pretend everything's rosy you miss the reason why the show is going down in the ratings, you blame others for the show's faults. This isn't people going "u r a dum show!" trolling, this is meant as criticism and criticism like that is meant to be constructive. Some folks actually would like the show to live up to the quality found in the MCU, but right now it's up to the quality of maybe Xena Warrior Princess.

You talk about not replicating movies on TV, but other TV has proven it can look great and use its limitations to drive creativity - The Good Wife, Hannibal, even Sleepy Hollow are all network shows that look better and have more passion for the material, even when the material is silly or corny. It's not like it's a low-budget show, it costs A LOT to produce each episode, but it doesn't look it, it looks far cheaper.
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@robertowhovian, if you'll notice, that was written 2 weeks ago, and the ratings for 2 weeks ago's episode were a 2.1 key demo with a total of 5.52m viewers, the second-lowest rated episode, the lowest-rated coming right before. If you put the numbers on a graph, it would be a slope down after the pilot, and only the episodes after the release of Captain America 2 show any increase, and it's almost marginal.
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The show isn't going down in the ratings. What kind of ratings have you seen? The show had huge premiere ratings and then like any other show went down, MAOS fall in ratings was bigger than usual? Maybe. Marvel expectations for this show was higher? Maybe. But the show isn't going down, the show has been pretty stable in ratings, mostly above 2,0, more important has the best male rating in the 18-34. These are the facts about MAOS ratings.
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Who do I hate most, Garrett or Ward. Sleaze and sleazier. All those complaints about a villain in the show, must be put to rest, surely. Another interesting episode presenting lots of possibilities and I'm eager to see the direction they take. Well done on showing that the two people affected most by their time with Coulson were Fitz and Raina. That has me intrigued. Ward's too far gone for me, looks like Trip could be getting his seat on the bus!
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I don't think S.H.I.E.L.D., as an organization, is dead yet. Like Nick Fury, it will resurrect itself, leaner, more focused, and with a major new threat to root out in Hydra. What this means for the show is anyone's guess, but I'm voting for "w.a.y. m.o.r.e. i.n.t.e.r.e.s.t.i.n.g." I hope it translates to more viewers as well, because the show really deserves more love than it's been getting.

The MCU seems to be doing a lot of this lately: death and rebirth, as a means of keeping things fresh. Look at the last Iron Man movie, or Thor 2. They aren't letting ANY of their franchises get too complacent with themselves. I'm sure S.H.I.E.L.D. is in for a rocky ride for the next little while, but as Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) said at the end of Winter Soldier, like it or not, the world still needs them.

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If this show was a decade ago, this show would be unairable on network, it'd be syndicated next to Mutant X and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Cleopatra 2525 and Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda. It's been that bad so far, only Coulson gets any credit for talent above and beyond the material.
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We all know SHIELD will be back, there's a status quo that must be maintained. And Hydra wasn't operating "in plain sight", that makes no sense at all.

I maintain that the show's failings weren't that it was hamstrung by the delay in getting to the movie's big twist, but that the show failed to build anything worth tearing down. SHIELD itself was never scrutinized on the show, we never looked at it and understood it and its goals and its failings. The enemy may have been nebulous, but the protagonist on MAoS was nearly as vague. Then we get the title "Agents of SHIELD" and the show only really highlights two and a half agents (May being an agent who didn't want to act like one), a pair of techies, and an outsider.

Had MAoS been a procedural, showing us a little more of SHIELD and what these agents are supposed to do, then tearing all of that down would have carried real weight, and the show itself wouldn't have felt like it was dicking around trying to discover its characters and what they mean at the same time the audience is.

Skye is a poorly-written, poorly-conceived, and poorly-executed character, yet she's as much a main character as anybody here. Ward is shallow and played dully, and yet he was presented as the de facto other main character who plays off Skye - do you see a problem there? Both main characters are a drag on the show.

So the characters have been a drag, the stories have been a drag, what's left? The show tried to use vague character mysteries which felt like rubber-banding, slow, slow, hurry up and get to "Skye is an 084" then slow again. Meanwhile, there are arcs going on which feel like headscratchers and timewasters.

MAoS may have been about our heroes, but without defining their organization and what it means to be an agent, the show is lost.

"SHIELD feels like a show that's been touched by Joss Whedon", geez, hyperbole much? This isn't the show we were promised at the outset, this isn't yet the show that takes place in a universe that sees things like Iron Man and the Stark Expo and Thor and the alien attack on New York, these things are spoken about at length but the people that exist in this show's universe still don't feel connected to a life where Marvel things happen.

Why shouldn't we discount the first half of the season just because of this timing? They were not compelling tv on their own, they weren't vital to the MCU, and they felt like a lot of missed opportunities in their own rights; they ablated a significant portion of the audience due to mushy mediocrity. There's a lot of "maybe if" in your defense of the show.

Right now, the show needs to define itself better, it needs to define what SHIELD stood for and what it could stand for again, it needs to define what it means to be an agent, it needs believable goals, it needs to be COMPELLING - sucking up to it and hoping that "the worst is over" with little more than faith isn't it.
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What we, the viewers, were promised and how YOU as an individual PERCEIVED we would get are two different things.

I have said it before and I will say it again...........too many viewers came to the show expecting a Marvel movie in a 40 minute time slot (one hour if you include the ad breaks) complete with superhero of the day and a happy ending. What we got was something else entirely and from what I have read of your reviews/opinions (and here is MY individual perception) is that you were one of those who wanted super hero of the week, didn't get it and are now throwing the toys out of the pram. And perhaps like many who berate shows that take the time needed to develop you are looking for instant gratification.

Shows like SHIELD are rarely given the time of day by most BECAUSE they are slow in pace and occasionally clumsy in their set up but that, for me any way, is part of the draw. It means that some times we don't know the answers as quick as we would like and in a way we would like.

I remember similar derogatory diatribes made against shows like Babylon 5 when it started and look at the scale and sheer genius that came WITH PATIENCE; we cannot always get what we want but if we come into shows like this with an open mind and wait then we may end up with something more, some thing potentially great and something that could run and run.

If a viewer is looking for instant gratification then maybe they should stick to 'reality' tv, glorified voyeurism in the form of 'talent' shows and soap operas. Me? I will wait with patience to see WHERE SHIELD will go next and where the story line will take us.
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That's not what I said, you're arguing a generic fight I didn't make. Nowhere did I say anything about a superhero of the week and happy endings and instant gratification.

SHIELD is no Firefly or Babylon 5, it's a clunky show that is bad at telling stories, so it barely gets a pass for the few things it does get right. Making excuses isn't doing it any favors. Your miscasting of others' very real concerns only serve to isolate newcomers to the series.

I was a viewer on Babylon 5 since the pilot on PTEN with the horrible audio mix, and that show worked because it had a singular driving vision, something SHIELD is desperately lacking. And the fifth season of B5 was a mess that didn't add to the overall story, even genius can go off the rails (see Legend of the Rangers and Thirdspace for more examples).
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"The Winger Soldier" - uhhhhh, we talkin' about Falcon there?
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Crossover episode between Community and Enlisted.

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There will always be problems inherent in a television series that relies heavily on the events of a film series, and vice-versa, but like you said Kaitlin, The Winter Soldier's placement in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's timeline doesn't really excuse the 'poor character development and a lack of stakes' up until that point, so really, when questioning the merit of the series, the Marvel film franchise should really be inconsequential, and they are legitimate viewer complaints.

I do agree that 'Turn, Turn, Turn' isn't a marked improvement for the series, but like you said, the show has been consistently good since the thirteen episode, 'T.R.A.C.K.S', although I'd even argue it markedly improved before that, from the tenth episode, 'The Bridge', with the exception on the episode 'Yes Men'.

Despite S.H.E.I.L.D. remaining a consistently solid show for the second half of its first season, unfortunately I don't think it will ever grow into a show I truly love, at least not in the same way as other Whedon projects. One of the inherent problems I was talking about previously is that the series' mythology and plot rely so heavy to its source material, and has to also run in conjunction with a film series. It's all very limiting for writers. Like you said Kaitlin, the events of Winter Soldier essentially mean the series now has a clean slate and has removed itself from these ties, and therefore has endless potential and can do whatever they want.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will be the case, and I think we will see a 'return to focusing on standalone episodes' next season (should there be one) once the aftermath of 'Turn, Turn, Turn' is resolved. As with the comics it's based off and the film, the series is also inherently procedural in nature, every week there's a new threat and/ or villain, and I just can't see a viable way of the series breaking that mould, even though the disintegration of S.H.I.E.L.D. may seem like it at the moment.

My bet is that once all is said and done Coulson is going to try and make a new version of S.H.I.E.L.D. that he will run and the series will be about that from then on, as the title still suggests it'll be about 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.', agents old and new alike forged together by the destruction of their organisation after being infiltrated by Hydra, and the rest of the series will be about them banding together and re-building from the bottom up a new S.H.I.E.L.D, with plenty of stand-alone episodes, I'm betting.
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One thing I've never heard anyone talk about re: ratings- the unforgiveable time slot. ABC was overly optimistic or idiotic to put a procedural type, slow-burning show opposite NCIS. Even without Cote DePablo's Ziva, that show is still a juggernaut and I think pulled a lot of casual viewers away from AoS.
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Apologize for what? Good storytelling? People like you should apologize for failing to understand what storytelling is really about. You don't understand that to tell a good story, you have to slowly DEVELOP IT. You know what story development means, do you? Or perhaps you don't, considering the title of this argument. The creators of this series are doing, what Joss Whedon did for "BUFFY" and "ANGEL", and what J. Michael Straczynski did for "BABYLON 5" . . . developed their story over a long period. "AGENTS OF SHIELD" is serial drama, not episodic television or "fast food storytelling", which is apparently what most people want these days.

No wonder culture is going down the drain.
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Babylon 5 had huge arcs but they were threaded through stand-alone episodes (until the middle of season 3, but that's war for ya). This is very much a comic book argument you're making, "modern vs classic", and the irony is that classic comic books sold hundreds of times as many issues in stand-alone storytelling. There's this belief that good storytelling has to take a long time, has to develop like a crock pot or buried kimchi, but that's only ONE kind of storytelling, there are other successful methods.

Marvel Agents of SHIELD's problem isn't that it's episodic or that it's developing its long-game, it's that it's clumsy and awkward and bland in places it shouldn't be, it's boring and cheap in places where it should sparkle, and its main cast is at best middling. It's doing a bad job of using the medium of episodic television to tell short stories and it's still in growing pains as it works on the long ones.
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People like me? You mean the person who's been reviewing the series the entire season and championed it far more than most critics?
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I think he's accusing you of being a plebeian.
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"... she's..."? I dunno.
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What I love about the show is that it did stand on its own the whole time. This last episode "Providence" pulls out a whole catch of weapons that Coulsin's team found, and they are in enemy hands now. This means a lot, because not just Coulsin's team is faced against weapons, but the MCU is as well. I promise the Ant-Man suit will be one of those items, maybe not in AOS. Probably some of Stark's tech is in there, maybe Jarvis, or another Hank Pym creation Stark uses. It was the whole point of this show... it is not just the say "berserker" that ends up in the wrong hands. Loki's Spear is one item in Hydra's hands. The Deathlock arc has been great, now he is confirmed to be a Winter Soldier type of character. I know........everyone wants all the incredibles to wear their super suits. I am more than pleased with the entire season so far.
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I'm ashamed to admit that I bailed after the first couple of episodes. I came back once I found out things had hit the fan and am enjoying the show immensely, though I guess it would be nice if all the characters had a personality. I'm wondering if others who bailed or never got on board to begin with may start watching after seeing or hearing about the events in Captain America. That might give the show the ratings bump it's hoping for.

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I have no idea where its going from here but I will stay with it for its whole duration, so bring it on AOS!!!!!
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I think one think that is being overlooked is the show's potential to fill in a good amount of subtext for the MCU. The movies are focused around a certain characters and major events but other than the Marvel One Shots, only AOS has the ability to tell the stories about the smaller but also important stories/events happening in the MCU. We are only now starting to see that potential being fulfilled. How else would we get a glimpse into what is happening to Maria Hill or Nick Fury after the events of CAP2? It is not going to be the glue that holds everything together but the place where Marvel can fill out the back story for events and characters in the movie, The slow build, besides the need to wait for CAP2 had to happen for us to get to know these characters. Could they have done a better job? Sure. But the MCU is getting so big and complicated that AOS could fill a very important role of fleshing that universe out. I believe that AOS will become a more important component of the MCU as time goes on and as a result will only get better.
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Many shows are slow in finding direction. Friends and Seinfeld were both almost cancelled early! I thought G.O.T. was slow until they took Ed stark's head in episode 9 out of 10 of the first season
So I am a little confused when the critics on here jump all over a show for not being an instant hint, at least in their expert opinion.
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So what your saying is, it took a while for the writers of the show to provide it's natural direction and the payoff may be one of the better written, directed and acted shows on TV? Small price to pay. Once upon a time networks let shows build momentum, find an audience and develop characters and storylines. God forbid that a network show some faith in a show if they believe in it. Marvel has been a winner on the big screen I think it would be to ABC's benefit to give this show a chance. I mean how much more Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor can we take?
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Since I'm the one who the WTF bit last week highlighting the show's pacing, I'll jump in here and reply! :)

I don't blame Whedon and Tancharoen for the show having to wait. That's entirely on Marvel and Disney having a plan in place for their blockbuster and then deciding, "Hey, let's do a show about SHIELD agents while we have this Marvel Cinematic Universe-rattling event in the works!" From a corporate synergy place, as a way to promote the film, that's a great and brilliant idea. It even fits Marvel Studios' brand, continuing with its emphasis on continuity between its films and now television show. It was building a comic book-sense of continuity (and like comic books, SHIELD's timeline as a show is all sorts of bizarre to me since Thor: The Dark World took place a year after Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was 2 years after Avengers; and that means it's been at least 6 to 8 months since "The Well" which seems, well, weird to me, but whatever).

It just makes for really uneven TV. It's TV that has a plan, a goal (which is something we call claim we want in serialized shows), but SHIELD was hamstrung by various other, more lucrative corporate interests in executing that plan, reaching that goal. It's in this place that we can point at Whedon and Tancharoen for not doing a solid enough job of making the wait/build-up (whichever you prefer) more interesting*. SHIELD certainly had elements of the paranoia and the questioning that The Winter Soldier likewise had, to let us know something rotten was in the state of SHIELD, but couldn't fully commit to since, well, that would've spoiled the movie. Snake, enjoy your tail.

I'll note that "more interesting" to me does mean "less procedural-y." I wish SHIELD had been a better procedural (anyone who thought SHIELD wasn't going to be a procedural was kidding themselves; sorry all, but procedurals are too lucrative, and SHIELD as a concept is a brilliant one). Better cases of the week, sure, but I've long maintained that most audience members of contemporary procedurals don't always show up for the case of the of the week. It's to watch the characters, and how they interact with whatever case is swirling around plus their on-going going ons. When you struggle to execute those two things -- and in no small part because you have have this looming movie and its plot to deal with -- it's hard to find that footing.

In lot of ways SHIELD was just behind too many 8 balls. It had to explain Coulson being alive, which it attempted to work into the SHIELD/Hydra story rather poorly (and it does make wonder: Couldn't Alexander Pierce in The Winter Soldier had gotten all the information they needed about Coulson? Oops, I guess?) and it had to build up the corruption of SHIELD so it could do this. Toss in the self-imposed 8 ball of of Skye's background, and it's sort of easy to see how the show never really came alive until it could break free of all of that plot stuff (it doesn't solve its character issues, but I feel like that's a whole other issue).
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This "the show had to wait" argument is a made-up thing, there is no show that should have to concern itself with that sort of thing -- "oh no, we have to pad out our storytelling by enriching the fictional universe we're building and those who inhabit it, whatever shall we do?" Unfortunately, that hypothetical question was answered on Marvel Agents of SHIELD with "eh, let's kinda suck at telling stories and building characters".

You are absolutely right that the showrunners who should carry the blame for not being able to making the show more interesting while it's waiting to do its big thing. And I will give the show a break on pacing, granted we should have just come in after the team had already begun their "mission" to do "whatever" and stop "somebody" for "some reason" (goddamn nebulous show), but I didn't really think about the timelines of Thor 2 and Cap 2 while watching this, I didn't think about Thor 2's timeline while watching Cap 2 either, the show can be the base timeline or we could just assume other stuff happened in the meantime on the show (that would work better if the team weren't so new though).

You are generally right on the money about why people watch procedurals, it's no longer Law & Order where it takes 4 seasons to find out Briscoe has kids. Better SHIELD procedural stories were and hopefully are indeed possible, but that would require defining SHIELD and defining the thrust of The Bus team, which for some reason this show has never done. Every other procedural has:
- catch serial killers;
- prosecute crime;
- save patients;
- explore the unknown mysteries within the X-Files;
- deliver customers to their destinations and keep Louie DePalma from stealing their tips; etc.
But Marvel Agents of SHIELD? Nada. The movie shouldn't have affected that, if anything it should have FED that - but I honestly don't think Captain America 2 actually understood SHIELD all that well either.

PS - Skye's mystery could have easily waited until season 2, it doesn't need to define her at all yet. The only reason it's here is because she's so horribly defined and utterly useless otherwise, nobody wants to watch a hacker hack, and they certainly don't want to see it done super easy by a beautiful person.
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I think there's a difference between "having to wait" and "telling your own story" and in this case, it's that they existed in a space where the movie couldn't be anticipated ahead of time in terms of undermining its main plot, regardless of its sense of SHIELD as an organization. At least in the latter's case then you can build up a rhythm that's your own instead of dead-end-ish detours while you futz around with world- and character-building. But maybe I'm splitting semantic hairs.

And no one thinks about the timeline but me because I'm insane. And a timeline really isn't continuity, and I don't think the movies care all that much, either. But when you put the information out there, as they did, it makes me scratch my head. Then again, DC flooded Gotham City in the Justice League book and none of the Batman books even acknowledged that catastrophe, so I'm being super Comic Book Guy-y here.

Most procedurals aren't the L&O mothership. They're character-driven ones, and without good characters to buoy middling to lackluster cases/adventures, what's the point? Characters make the formula work (as I argued in that post). What's really striking to me is that if you tweaked Fitz, Simmons, and May a smidge, you'd essentially have NCIS on a plane with comic book sci-fi. That's a model to emulate. (Of course, this analogy is out the window now with Ward's double agency, because he'd be the really boring Tony to Skye's really boring McGee.)
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The Cap 2 connection was mentioned in an article from nearly a year ago, it was a quote from Feige I believe, I can't find it right now but it was blunt. But in any case, they did a pretty bad job of world- and character-building, they started with a weak foundation and didn't build much on top of it. Compare the world-building of MAoS to Firefly which never got this many episodes, it's really not hard to plug those sorts of plots into MAoS with minor tweaking. With vision (not the character :P) this could have been pretty easy even with bumps in the road that tear everything apart. Look at BSG, that show rerouted a couple times and... um, nearly survived intact? Oh.

Where was the Thor 2 and Cap 2 timeline stuff? I honestly don't remember it at all.

Fitz and Simmons are the tech kids on NCIS LA, no tweaking required, that's always driven me nuts about them, the accents are all that separate the two duos. I hadn't seen it with May before, but she basically is a combination of Ziva and Gibbs, that's a little disheartening. The "go and do" formula fits earlier NCIS, but there's gotta be a better example of a procedural that goes and does things than that (Firefly, but it's not exactly successful from a business perspective)... ugh, Criminal Minds is a "go and solve" show, a damned repetitive one, but successful none the less. Of course, when the "solve" is as vague as MAoS makes it, it's difficult to care about "going" anywhere.
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EUGH. Allow me to re-write: I'll note that "more interesting" to me doesn't mean "less procedural-y." I'm the pits.
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I forgive you.
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I appreciate that, truly. I'd hate for anyone to think I don't like procedurals.
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This show has improved greatly over the last few weeks. Faster pace and thank God for Bill Paxton!
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Just for the record, this multiple platform storytelling thing in fact has been previously attempted, it's simply never been successful, at least not to the degree that marvel has managed to attain. prior to marvel, the wachowskis staged probably the most ambitious attempt with the matrix franchise, in which interconnecting stories were relayed via films, comics, a console game, and a mmorpg, with the films being the only successful aspect,

marvel and disney have a huge leg up on everyone now, though, including disney's own star wars franchise and perhaps especially everything dc/warner. i sincerely hope someone pulls off an eventual justice league movie, but if they race it out of the gate to cash in on avengers' coattails or something, it will fail. hard.
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To be fair, The Matrix "franchise" was poisoned from the Wachowskis making terrible sequels which are what the multimedia items fed into. The video game wasn't great but it was ok; the Animatrix was way more interesting than either sequel, but The Matrix Reloaded and whatever were just bad.
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On the justice league stuff, i dunno. WB and DC haven't been successful with green lantern and even though man of steel did well, that movie was just tonally wrong for a superman film. The dark and brooding stuff is perfect for dark knight, but for superman, he supposed to be a little optimistic and MoS went overboard with the destruction and the killing. i'll wait and see how this 'batman vs superman' or whatever it's called goes, but i still smh on the ben affleck as batman casting.
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Of course there has been multiple tie ins for shows. The first thing that comes to mind is Doctor Who. Books, Radio casts, 50 years of tv, 3 movies, animation, I am sure comics, and more have made Doctor probably the most successful entertainment entity in history. But..... beside a few episodes were multiple doctors converge into one episode, nothing has been as convergent as the MCU. 5 very successful movies converged into the Avengers, and now the MCU is on fire with Disney Dollars to back up bringing the comic world to main stream. The AOS started slow, but built its own enemy to fight, now we know its name....Hail Hydra. Marvel has enough people's attention to run multiple movies and tv shows in the same year for at least 3 to 4 years off of the Avengers movie alone. The Winter Soldier just added time to that.
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Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't SHIELD initially only have a 13 episode order?

Had they not gotten the back order would an article like this even exist or would a great number of people still be hating on it?
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You are correct, they got the back-nine order in October, a month after it first aired.
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The movie is certainly to blame for the early stilted plot... but the poor characterizations? All on the writers. They are doing better now though, thank god.

I was going to stick with this for the whole season regardless (it is a comic book show after all). The quality of the past few eps has me confident I'll return next season as well.
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I definitely think the show has been improving since T.R.A.C.K.S. and I'm willing to forgive and forget about most of the first season. I hope now that they don't have to worry about the movie anymore the show will continue to improve.
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"I don't see the show being canceled due to poor ratings."
Forgive me if this sounds crazy, but isn't this the sole reason for a show being cancelled?

Having said that, I don't think it's going to cancelled. Disney has a lot of money to throw away.
I don't think I'll care by season's end. 17 episodes and only a few good ones? That's just lousy work and it deserves a just reward.
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I think that's what she's saying - that even though the ratings are poor, they won't cancel it because Marvel/Disney are highly invested in the show.
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Actually it isn't the sole reason for a show being canceled the extremely rare occasion the story has come to an end and the studio accepts a story has come to an end and let the series die gracefully. Lost and Soprano are the only shows I know where this happen.

Then there the 2nd reason and that irreplaceable characters refusing or asking for to much money to extend their contracts Friends and True Blood and Smallville are examples of this.
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Well, I'm talking about cancelling a show, not ending normally.

Lost and Sopranos are the only ones you know? Breaking Bad, Spartacus?
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There others but not many, shows getting a natural finish are rare things indeed, especially the kind of shows I tend to watch. In hollywood shows are always formerly cancelled. But ratings aren't the only reason shows are cancelled, SGA was cancelled because the writers wanted to move on to SGA and didn't want to do two shows in a single season. Farscape was cancelled because Syfy couldn't afford to resign the actors.
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The DVD market collapse is what cause SGA cancellation, the actual ratings on TV were just fine and Syfy executives have even said they would have ordered a 6th season if MGM offered them that choice, they didn't as the writers and producers wanted to move onto SGU.
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Regarding SGA, they decided to go straight to movies before interest (meaning ratings) dropped.
Farscape was cancelled due to being expensive and the ratings not being high enough to justify the cost.

Again, low ratings.
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Smallville lasted 10 seasons, you're crazy if you think it needed to go longer, it should've ended years before it actually did.
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It didn't need to last longer. CW wanted a 11th season, the writers did as well, Tom Welling refuse to sign an extension to his contract.

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I think the author is jumping to the conclusion that Shield is gone or is gone for good. I personally don't think it's gone myself. An even if it is gone, they would lose the bus, as a plane that size takes a lot of resources to keep operational and without the bus the team is next to useless.

Shield is probably going underground, that way the show and the films series can distance itself from each other.
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Don't forget Maria Hill now works for Stark. And that Stark Tower is now Avengers Tower, as seen in The Winter Soldier. Hill is coming back to the show; implications that Stark and his money and resources may come into play. Another note; RDJ has still been in LA and not yet on the Ultron set. Maybe Stark himself will make an appearance?
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Sadly I don't see RDJ doing TV series cameos.
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http://screencrush.com/marvel-agents-of-shield-iron-man-robert-downey-jr/

The direct quote from RDJ on the subject of an appearance on AoS: "You know what? There’s no telling. I am open to everything.”
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Given how much sense everything makes now, I can definitely forgive the awkward pacing the first half of the season had.

I think the problem was that we had such high expectations coming in with the Marvel tie-in and Joss as the creator. At the end of the day, it is still a freshman series and there was bound to be some odd episodes and stiff characters at first. And when you have to wait to introduce major plot points based on the movie schedule, it did make it a bit difficult at times.

But seeing where the show is now and looking back at all the clues that were strategically placed, even the standalone episodes have some new meaning and that's pretty awesome.

And I could never stay mad at Joss. I forgave him for Connor after all....
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More rambling apologism. Kaitlin criticises the early episodes and then speculates maybe they were necessary for what was to come. Well which was it? She also compares its slow start to other Whedon shows, which is laughable. Even if it has improved, all those who quit (myself included) are hardly likely to return to the series now. Having the plot affected by Captain America is no excuse for its poor start when the characters and the standalone episodes were dull. And if the writers let the first movie botch the pacing of the show then why should we expect them to do any better with the next batch of films (if the show is renewed). I'm sure there are still watchers who withstood the awful start to the show who are enjoying the uptick in quality but I don't think the show deserves our forgiveness.
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Why comment on a show you no longer watch? Some Whedon shows don't hit their stride straight away, so your laughable comment is puzzling.
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This article is titled: "Why We Should Forgive Agents of SHIELD....".

Is it at all that surprising that someone who gave up on AOS would show up to comment precisely on this article?
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Very surprising. If it was titled I hate AOS because... I would understand the comment, but someone who doesn't watch the show has no place making judgements.
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I've enjoyed watching the show grow. The only weak link for me is Ward, the fight choreography really needs tightening up, it's doing him no favours.
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There are two types of TV shows,those that start off strong but lose steam after a few years and those that start off weak but get stronger as the years go by.Agents of Shield fall in the latter and is why I'll stick with the series because I'm convinced it'll only get better from here with a lot of great possibilities
for future stories.Agents of Shield is forgiven because I've become excited in seeing more of this series now.
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How can you say it's in the latter when the show is only on its first year? Psychic?
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I said latter because Shield started slow but is now on a roll with an exciting storyline that changes the show's premise and I believe this momentum will carry over into the second season.It can only get better from this point into a second season and third.The possibilities for new stories and enemies are endless.And I'm not psychic,just have faith the writers and producers will put on a kick ass show since it looks like they finally found their vibe/voice with this series.
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I've always liked the show and think that it is great to be such a tie-in with major movies. Marvel is doing what should have been done many years ago and they are playing it smart.

DC Comics should have been able to pull such stunts a long time ago, but alas the realities of selling out your character's movie rights and exclusivity can be so counter-productive in the long run.

I mean, if Spider-Man, X-Men and Fantastic Four were under the Marvel Cinematic Universe, can you imagine? :)
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Then there wouldn't be a Marvel. Why do you think they sold the rights long ago? They were broke or nearly there.
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Yep, true, true, but really, Disney saved Marvel, and that's really all there is.
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I don't agree with that. By the time Disney bought Marvel, they were already doing good with their movies. Disney just provided them a safety net for the future.
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I think one of the problems is that, based on the title, I was expecting this show to be about, well, Agents of SHIELD, not Coulson's ragtag misfits. At first I was expecting a big organization full of agents ready for actions, like FBI or CIA. Perhaps other people had the same expectation as well and when they saw it was about a small group of young people and their banter and camaraderie along with the missions, people got disappointed. And now there's no SHIELD at all. So I think the problem started with the show's title.
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its more complicated then that ut thats basically what happened

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well because captain made a deal with fury he would save everyone but shield was to be dismantle
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An Fury is such a trust worth individual!. Fury manipulates people and groups for his and Shield own goals. He told Captain America that Shield would be dismantle because that what Captain America needed and wanted to hear.
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no ive actually seen the movie he does more then just tell him what he needs to hear.
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having not seen Captain American: The Winter Solder yet, I don't see why this necessarily means SHIELD doesn't exist anymore.. I just saw it is as SHIELD realizing they were compromised and now have minimal staff because of it... maybe Cap 2 will shed better info on it once I watch it in a few months.

I was never mad at it, but I was kind of annoyed that they seemed to take things too lightly, they had no real danger for a long time. I now understand they were working on it to tie into the movie but I don't think a television show should rely on theatrical releases because it limits what it can do until then, which could be death for the show having to wait months and months, and suffering having little new episodes aired between double the reruns.
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Well, the movie makes it more clear that SHIELD cannot continue. But, the bigger question is what happens to all the hardware, secrets, and personnel? That stuff doesn't just go away because HYDRA infiltrated. So, WHO will be taking control of all that? Opens itself to some potentially interesting story lines.
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Fury will be taking a lot of it for a new Shield he will be building. The film makes Captain America and his allies believe Shield cannot continue. Fury (allies himself to no one but Shield and his believe it is needed, ) never once look like a guy that thought shield shouldn't continue, he even openly suggests saving parts of it, again as a distraction to allow the others to vote him down and to trick them into believing he has sided with them fully, when really he has already save the bits he believe are worth saving and manipulating the others into not even thinking parts of Shield has already been secretly save.
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The reason everyone thinks Shield is dismantle is because Fury told Captain America that what would happen, forgetting that he also told Captain America, Iron Man and other that Coulson was dead, which of cause he wasn't or isn't anymore. Fury lies for his own benefit all the time.
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This show is kind of a new look at TV shows. It is good, it has its moments of greatness. But due to the universe that the show exists in at times it is going to be slow at times so that it may line up with the movies. I think it is very innovative and pretty risky doing this. But I think that it works and I think the good of the show far outweighs the bad. I think that they know this and I think that the show runners have an idea as to what their viewers are looking for and I think that is going to be enacted more in the second season.

There is no way I would give up watching this show and would highly recommend those that gave up on it to take it up again.
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The worst is not over, basicly this show depends on Marvel movies to advance its plot, what happens next year ? We will have to wait another 15 o 17 episodes till a new Marvel movie decides where the story goes ?
Thanks, but no thanks.
The Marvel Universe its huge, this show shouldn't depend on their movies to move foward.
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Given that for now Shield doesn't exists in the film universe at the minute, thanks for Fury telling CA that it was being dismantle. Shield is likely to become a covert organisation for a while and involved in anything that would reveal their presence to Captain America and the Avengers. It would also explain why they can't just call in those guys when things goes wrong
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There isn't another Marvel film until Avengers 2 next summer, though. (Well, there is Guardians of the Galaxy this summer, but it's very unlikely that will tie into this show at all.) Which means, next season, the show will be free to drive its plot all on its own.
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I would say the show will be partially free, since the show is closely tied to the movies, they will be able to go the way they want as long as it doesn't affect the incoming Marvel movies which are already on production. At least they will be able to advance the season plot faster than this season.
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I thought I was only mildly invested in this show until Agent Ward did his betrayal thing.

I remember thinking, 'no, not him!" and hoping that it was part of a ruse to make him a double agent by winning HYDRA's trust. So I watched the betrayal scene again closely, thinking SHIELD had faked the shooting of their agents, but Agent Ward shot them in the head at close range and there was blood spray on the wall behind them. Hard to fake something like that.

So the evidence right now is that Agent Ward killed other SHIELD agents for real. I was appalled at Ward's betrayal, and wanted to deny it, especially considering his character had become much more interesting lately. And that's when I realized that somewhere along the line I had started to care much more about the characters and events than I had suspected.

What that indicates to me is that despite the show's uneven season, they have actually been quietly building a strong foundation on which to build new events.

It figures that Marvel might take the risk of letting a slow build take place, one that might kill many other series, because if the show blossoms, it will become the thread that will link all of the recent and future Marvel movies together. Marvel can use the show to build up story lines that will add deeper, extra dimensions to the stand-alone films for anyone who watches both the show and the films, and then the show can mine the followup events from the movie plots for rich, continuing stories.

Marvel is obviously hoping that the emerging synergy of show, films and comics will become a complex and satisfying tapestry that will be unlike anything ever attempted before. If it all works, it will be a win-win for fans and Marvel.

Obviously, there is still much that can derail this vision (like if any one part starts to suck), but things are looking better all the time now. And who doesn't want another Joss Whedon show to have a long run, given his track record?
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I prefer to give Arrow and The Flash a chance than this.
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Arrow is brilliant, and flash should be amazing. I always liked SHEILD and it was always a good show that just lately turned into a great show.
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I think I've always liked this show more than the average viewer. I loved it from the first episode and it's consistently been one of my favorite shows this whole year. Part of this is probably because I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan, and part of this is also probably because I don't mind standalone episodes just on principle. AoS has had some good standalone episodes, and I've enjoyed those. Take Dollhouse as another example - I always had the impression even a lot of Whedon fans didn't like it, because of all the standalone episodes. I liked the standalone episodes a lot, though.

I also like all the characters - again, I've had the impression that even a lot of fans have at least one character they don't like or find boring, whether that's Ward, Skye, May, or Simmons (I don't think I've ever seen someone say they don't like Fitz). I've disliked May at times in the first half of the season, but I like her now, and I love all the other characters, too.

That said, that doesn't mean I didn't recognize the slow plotting and cheap pay-offs (or sometimes no pay-offs) we got from this show in the first half of the season. I was particularly disappointed with the midseason finale. The last run of episodes has been great, though, and I agree the the tie-in with the film obviously dictated a lot of what the show could do up til now. I read in an interview with the showrunners that they weren't even allowed to mention "Hydra " at all until Cap 2 came out! So I'm definitely still on board for this show, and I really hope it gets renewed for a second season. I think it will only get better from here.
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