140112mag-shield-paxton1_210x305.jpgAgents of SHIELD—or as we call it here, that’s So Coulson—is returning from an Olympics break tonight, and it’s kind of do or die, and the producers know it. Launched with tremendous fanfare the program has managed to present a dull bunch of twerps having adventures registering on the adventure scale somewhere below the typical episode of Cupcake Wars.

But all that is changing! Bill Paxton is being added as a interesting character tough as nails SHIELD veteran, and next week we get Jaime Alexander as Sif and Deathlok is lurking as well because, to the surprise of many, AoS is set in the Marvel Universe! I had NO IDEA. Cool concept.

The producers chatted with CBR and Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon explains why the delay:

Tancharoen: There were times when we wanted to say, “Just wait for the back half!” It was always part of the plan to lay down a foundation and then bear its fruits in the back half. We’re happy that people are responding to it positively. We’re happy that people are enjoying the plan. It seems like it’s working.

Whedon: There were many reasons that we built the season that way — as I’ve said before, out of respect for the films and not wanting to overload a universe that has taken its time with big movie franchises with a bunch of heroes and people with powers. But we did try to plant the seeds and weave a web that’s not all coming together. We’re happy that people are responding well to something that we’ve been waiting to happen for a while. We’re über excited about the stuff that’s coming up. We think it’s only going to get better.

I stopped watching AoS a while ago because it was so bo-ring. Will Paxton playing a Frank Miller character liven things up? We shall see.


  1. laying a foundation for a show of this nature is needed and expected, but the foundation should have been created using established marvel characters for the entire cast. after all, the show is called “marvel’s” agents of shield. using tried and true characters (shield agents) from the books would have made an instant connection with the legions of marvel fans all over the world. instead we get a bunch of characters we’ve never heard of before, no stories lifted from the actual shield comics, teasers showing bits and pieces of the marvel universe, the result being less viewers, leaving everyone involved in the show in the position of “do or die” to save the show. I hope the second half of the season does save the show, ’cause the show has the great potential of showing the many different facets of the marvel universe, if the show is willing to go in that direction. I guess we’ll see.

  2. Yes, because when you’re launching a new series and hoping to hold onto viewers from the pilot, it’s always best to save the interesting stuff for the second half of the season. Well played.

  3. Very well played, if it works.

    Short-term, you ignite fan interest, and drive viewership for past episodes not seen, and upcoming episodes. (If Whedon and company are smart, they’ve been foreshadowing throughout the series.)

    Mid-term, you take this new story arc, build it up to May ($WEEP$), end it on a cliffhanger, and ride that wave of speculation through convention season.

    Then ABC hits fans with a double whammy in the Fall: a two-hour movie and the boxed set of the first season.

    Long-term: ABC rides an invigorated second season, with cameos and teasers which lead into Fall 2015.

    What happens Fall 2015, you ask? Marvel Netflix.

    “using tried and true characters (shield agents) from the books would have made an instant connection with the legions of marvel fans all over the world. ”

    Legions? More like a “cohort” (as in “480 men”). I’m not a fan, but I can name about five SHIELD agents (Fury, Duggan, Carter, Contessa… um…). SHIELD is a blank slate, even to the movie fans. It’s the military that backs up The Avengers. The few SHIELD staff who appeared in the movies appeared early on in the TV series.

  4. The best way to fix the show would be faster paced story telling and better casting. Cut some of the unknown actors and hire Cobie Smulders for half season of episodes every year. Would make it way better for me in terms of the acting. Love Ming Na and Clark Gregg when they are on the screen but the rest of the cast leaves me border line snooze.

  5. I think it’ll be renewed this season and spend the next floundering around until it gets a merciful cancellation.

  6. @torston adair – sure,shield is a blank slate if you’re not a fan (which by your own admission you admit you’re not). but for the rest of us 480 fans,seeing dum dum (or at least his great grand son), sharon carter (is she gonna be in the next cap flick?), la contessa valentina allegra de la fontaine, gabe jones, clay quartermain, james woo, g.w.bridge, quake, or alexander pierce alondside characters that we have seen (maria hill, victoria hand, jasper sitwell, and ol’ nick himself (tho’ it’s not the real one ) would be a blast.

  7. Bringing in J. August Richards and Cobie Smulders for S2 would help immensely. The 1st season of Angel had some casting issues that got sorted by adding Richards for the second season. (So why not again?) And Smulders is an incredible comedic actor who’s shown on HIMYM that she can knock emotional scenes out of the park, too.

  8. After six years of development, and a full season of production, if you can’t ignite excitement by episode 4, you are bad at your job and should be fired. But since it’s All-Whedon over in the Marvel Cinematic U right now, that will not happen. Looking forward to THE FLASH.

  9. it’s disingenuous for her to say that they planned for it to suck in the first half and then get better in the second half … they should just own up to the fact that the show wasn’t received as planned, and then they listened to the fans, and then they tried to fix it, and the fix was well received … but MaurTan saying “we planned it this way” is unnecessary defensiveness

  10. Haven’t watched it yet, but I will say that both Angel and Buffy had plenty of clunker episodes in their first season and turned out quite well. While no one should watch a show they don’t like, I do think that tv execs need to have a longer-term view of building viewership.

  11. I think the show improved a lot in the last two or three episodes; basically when Colson got kidnapped and the rest of the team had to, well, act like a team, and Skye and the two scientist kids were forced to get their shit together. And there was that scene with Colson’s brain getting operated on that was a legitimately creepy moment. I’d just about given up on it til then, but now I’m willing to give it another shot, I guess.

  12. The ratings for the show hit a new low, and while I am genuinely enjoying the show…it is one and done. Unless I missed an announcement that it has already been renewed for a second season, I am sure ABC will air the remaining episodes and walk away from the show.
    At least it was a fun way to kill some time waiting for future Marvel films to hit the big screen, and we do have the upcoming Marvel/Netflix slate to look forward too.

  13. It’s a sad testament to Nerd Culture that writers can exult in writing about something they talk about not doing the research on (a.k.a offer opinions on the direction of a show they haven’t been watching). MAoS since about mid-October has been great, and the last 3-4 episodes have been each amazing (last night’s in particular). I’m glad to see Paxton coming aboard for a few, seeing how Garrett played last night. It’ll be interesting to see the “Uprising” run of episodes over the next month, as the plotline runs into that of WINTER SOLDIER (as a canny viewer can already see forming to a degree).

    The only downside there is having the long waits inbetween episodes — THAT more than anything has been a crowd-killer. Better if ABC had waited until after the Olympics to return the second half (like they did in the UK), rather than have one episode per month for a while (even if they were really good episodes).

  14. Ah… but what does Marvel get for reusing names from the comics?
    Hamstrung, when someone gets a better idea later on. (See: Bendis’ name dropping “Reed Richards” in the Ultimate Universe before the Fantastic Four title was created.)

    Or the actor who originated the role on television becomes a big star, unaffordable and unavailable later on. (Marvel signed the little-known title actors to long-term contracts. And then had to pay through the sphincter to get RDJ to re-up after he finished Iron Man. (And again after he finished Iron Man 3.)

    Wouldn’t it be better to use them in the movies, to suck as much money out of the fans? (And how did the SHIELD/Fury fans react to the Howling Commandos in “Captain America”? I didn’t notice much reaction, so Marvel probably feels there isn’t much bang-for-the-buck in using those characters further.)

    I suspect that, given what Marvel did in the 616 with Nick Fury, that Dum Dum’s grandson will probably be Japanese. Or a Skrull.

  15. SHIELD’s supposed to have been an organization since whenever. So take a page out of the Hickman comics, and show us SHIELD in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s. Vibe up flashbacks in each episode in the appropriate way – they could do a nifty Steranko vibe for the 60s SHIELD – and introduce characters from those times who may or may not have survived to the modern day. And trust in the audience to be able to follow ‘complicated stuff’ like that, instead of the current plots which are almost insultingly simple.

  16. This episode was not unwatchable, which is a genuine improvement on the earlier ones I’ve seen. But the characters remain tedious and dislikeable. And the writers really couldn’t restrain themselves from letting us know that “Deathlok” is a dumb name, could they?

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