Agents Of Boring: Why Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Isn’t Cutting It For Me

Everyone likes a good story about superheroes. Stories about extraordinary men and women who do incredible things, defeat the bad guys, and continue to dedicate their lives serving a cause to protect the innocent and the world. After the huge success of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, the announcement of a TV show about Marvel universe’s most top secret agency sounded like a spectacular idea. If only the show didn’t feel like everything that came before.

With Agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg) back and not dead as we originally thought (you need to watch The Avengers to know what I’m talking about here), he leads a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to investigate and help those with extraordinary abilities. After watching about seven episodes of the series so far, I’m not finding myself liking this series all that much. I find the cast likable with good chemistry, from Clark Gregg playing fan favorite Coulson to Ming-Na Wen’s no-nonsense, badass pilot Melinda May. I really wanted to like this show, but there isn’t a lot about it that makes me excited to watch a new episode week after week.

Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson (left), Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May (center), and Brett Dalton as Agent Ward (right).
Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson (left), Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May (center), and Brett Dalton as Agent Ward (right).

Watching an episode of SHIELD feels like eating a sloppy Joe for dinner when you really want to have a prime rib. The show feels mediocre at best. I’ve read other people review the show as a monster of the week show, like The X-Files, and I have to agree with this assessment. Considering there’s a whole slew of other Marvel superheroes they could have introduced into the show, the writers and producers have opted to go with minor characters they introduce in each new episode. Once a threat by those people who have special abilities has been averted, you’re more likely to forget about them just as quickly as they were introduced. It’s a revolving door of your freaks and monsters. A good friend of mine said it best by describing the show as, “It’s like Heroes, except everyone is Horn-Rimmed Glasses man.” He’s also not wrong in saying that either.

My problem with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD is it looks like everything else I’ve already seen. The X-Files did have monster of the week type episodes, but at least there was a much larger story going on in the series, like huge government conspiracies, Mulder’s relentless quest for the truth and to find out what happened to his sister, and what is Cigarette Smoking Man’s agenda in the grand scheme of things. TV’s now defunct Heroes was once a promising show filled with interesting people who led ordinary lives until they discovered they were special.

A show that explores the extraordinary and the very weird.
A show that explores the extraordinary and the very weird.

SHIELD is struggling to find what it’s large scale, ongoing story should be. Or there is one, but I’m having a hard time figuring out what that is based on the show’s main focus on trying to keep their audience entertained by showing us people with cool powers and how our rag tag team of agents are able to save the day from these people who don’t understand their powers, or protect them from shady individuals who are looking to exploit them for their own personal gain. Watching all of it has been a bit of a snore fest for me. It’s disappointing that the show did seem to have a lot of promise, but is failing to make themselves stand out from all the other shows that came before. Nothing about this show feels like a Marvel production. It feels like a repackaged version of X-Files or Heroes.

SHIELD was on my must-watch list of new shows for the season, but after trying to stick with the show a little longer to see if it’ll pick up and improve, I may very well decide to drop it all together. Heroes lost steam after the second season. Fans of X-Files found the show to have lost steam after eight or nine seasons, but I still loved it to keep watching until the very last episode. It’s going to take more than people with cool powers and an attractive cast with good chemistry to keep me watching. That thing would be a better main storyline and better direction.

8 thoughts on “Agents Of Boring: Why Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Isn’t Cutting It For Me”

  1. X-Files + Heroes (or at least seasons 1-3 Heroes) seems like it should be good… but if it’s lacking a larger story, I don’t feel like I could really be fully engaged either.

    1. I wanted to give the show at least until the end of the season, but every time I tune in I feel like I’m forcing myself to watch the show rather than actually wanting to watch the show. If a show is really good I shouldn’t be feeling that way.

  2. I just don’t know what to say about S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore. Each episode has seemed kind of exciting before airing, and each one has just been as big disappointment. The stories are dull and the characters are flat. With the exception of great one-liners from Coulson and Fitz and Simmons, the writing couldn’t be more blah.

    I love how you compared this show to a sloppy joe, especially considering how prime (rib) the source material is. (I mean, we are talking about Marvel and all it’s great stories.) It really does feel like were getting a school cafeteria lunch with S.H.I.E.L.D. when we could be enjoying some five-star treatment.

    1. I think after 4 or 5 episodes the show should be having some kind of direction they want to go in. All I see is a show stumbling all over the place, trying to figure out where they want to take it. I think the show might be on its way out after many critics and overall viewers aren’t really warming up to the series at all. Unless they can pull a miracle before the studio decides to pull the plug on it.

  3. Here is what I think is going on with Agents of Shield. First, the production team seems clueless on how to properly show a foreign location. Perhaps actually going there to shoot some scenes would help, instead of using a Hollywood back lot or the foothills outside of LA to represent whatever country they are supposed to be in. If it is a budget issue, some simple research on what these places actually look like would help. Details matter. Also, I am afraid that the writers are not permitted to use many actual Marvel characters – even the minor ones – for fear that they will taint them for later inclusion in a movie. Not every character is going to bring in massive profits at the box office. As has been pointed out, the Marvel Universe is huge. Why not bring in Power Man or Iron Fist to help the team out against Hydra. They could be represented without needing massive special effects that cost money, plus they would bring back the core base of fans that this series needs to keep going. While I think the series will survive until the start of the next season, I am afraid that it is in danger of being de-funded and perhaps cancelled later on next season if it does not improve.

    1. You make a lot of valid points about the show. Honestly, I’ve thrown in the towel regarding this show. I tried hard to stay engaged with it and I was hoping to watch it until the end of the season, but I find it to be a massive waste of time to bother anymore. There are plenty of other shows I’m currently watching that I don’t mind setting aside an hour of my time to watch when I happen to be home.

  4. I grew up reading comics and was around when Nick Fury agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was actually a monthly series. Guess what? It was boring back then and it’s boring today. These characters aren’t superheroes.

    Back in the early 80s up until mid 90s even characters like Thor and Iron Man, hell even the Hulk were all extremely boring. There were few real fans. Their comic sales were suffering at Marvel and the heavyweights like the X-Men, Spiderman, and The Fantastic Four are what kept the company alive.

    When the Iron Man, Thor, and Avengers movies came out I was surprised they were as entertaining as could be because I remember how boring the characters were while growing up. Even Marvel knew this, which was why they sold the movie rights to all their main characters before setting up their own studios.

    1. I never really read much of the comics growing up. I did enjoy the cartoons, like X-Men, Spiderman, The Hulk, etc when they aired. I keep hearing or have been told that the TV show has gotten a lot better since they first premiered, but I’m not sure if I feel like going back to the beginning and watching the show now.

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