I know everyone is tired of the dumping on Agents of SHIELD but Tuesday’s big episode had the lowest ratings yet for the show. Whoops. The 1.7 rating was down 23 percent from 2.2 for the previous episode. You got some heavy lifting to do, Sif.

It’s worth remembering that as rousingly entertaining as they may be, none of the Marvel movies are cinematic masterpieces. In fact they are cut from a very standard cloth. I watched this episode and it was okay, but in a world of True Detective and Breaking Bad, it looks painfully pedestrian. But as my friends with kids tell me, the younglings like it, so let’s just leave it for the intended audience.

Now can we all start being anxious about the upcoming Netflix Defenders?


  1. To be fair, Game of Thrones looks pedestrian compared to True Detective and Breaking Bad, and that’s got dragons and fuckin’.

    Is Disney willing to let the show take a bath to keep a Marvel TV presence? Maybe, if only until it’s Netflix shows are up and running.

  2. Since the US ratings figures are a measure of its popularity with the prime demographic, Shield isn’t succeeding with the intended audience. I don’t think it was meant to be a kids’ show? I thought this week’s episode was a marked improvement on earlier ones, but some way short of actually being any good.

  3. The hiatus killed it while they retooled the show. You can’t promote it as “from the creators and studio that gave you Avengers” and not deliver until the second part of the season.

  4. It’s not supposed to be a kids show, it’s supposed to be an all-ages show. This thing would fit right in with the tv landscape of 1985. I know some people love it but it isn’t a crime to acknowledge when something isn’t quite working.
    People should also stop assuming they “re-tooled” it based on fan reaction. ABC didn’t eve order a full season till after it aired. It may look like an odd decision to some– go in slow when you don’t know if you’ll get a full season, then kick into higher gear in the back half– but it was intentional.

  5. A not insignificant amount of 20-30 somethings have ditched cable in favor of online streaming. Could well be that the audience they want to reach (the “all ages” stuff is just fluff) just isn’t there to be able to tune in.

  6. 1. it’s facing The Voice and NCIS.

    2. it’s not losing the audience you think it is (via TV By the Numbers) Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (8-9pm – 5.1 million and 1.7/5 in AD18-49):

    On its first original telecast in 4 weeks (since 2/4/14) and facing NBC’s The Voice for the first time since October, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tied CBS’ top-rated NCIS in the 8pm hour among Adults 18-34 (1.2/4) and led by 40% in Men 18-34, holding the #1 scripted series position in the hour for its 14th straight first-run telecast with young men. In addition, the new ABC drama nearly doubled the overall audience (+96% – 5.1 million vs. 2.6 million) of Fox’s Glee in the slot with a 70% advantage in Adults 18-49 (1.7/5 vs. 1.0/3). S.H.I.E.L.D. improved its hour year to year for ABC by 24% in Total Viewers and by 13% in Adults 18-49, over original programming on the same night last year.

  7. Everything AoS is doing now should’ve been done with the second or third episode onward. If the plan was to save the actually interesting stuff for the back nine, it’s failing. Miserably.

    As mentioned above, this show would’ve been a hit in the ’80s and ’90s, but in 2014, it feels dated and far too safe apart from the occasional shock-value cliffhanger. And it doesn’t help that anyone wanting to watch a S.H.I.E.L.D. series is still waiting for HYDRA and A.I.M.

  8. According to this website (which is over 95% in its predictions) it is certain to be renewed. It’s doing well against NCIS (#1 network show) and the Voice (#2 network show). The early episodes didn’t have new episodes of both to run against. Put this on a Wednesday or Sunday and it would be a top ten series.

  9. James nailed it – this show looks like it should be run after MANIMAL during a 1980’s television season. It’s tedious and features inexplicable characters that make no sense with the concept of the show. It has absolutely nothing to do with the comics, which isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case, it just makes the situation worse. The real reason why no one is tuning in? it’s just a horrible show.

  10. 1980s television was far more interesting that Agents of Shield.

    Bottom line … no more stories about everyone’s feelings. More action. More Agent Coulson, less of the team members helping him.

  11. Heidi said: “It’s worth remembering that as rousingly entertaining as they may be, none of the Marvel movies are cinematic masterpieces. In fact they are cut from a very standard cloth. ”

    All the Marvel movies have the same slick, generic look — the “untouched by human hands” look (no surprise, considering the heavy use of CGI). Even the few made by strong directors, like Raimi and Whedon, don’t stand out visually. They’re mainly distinguished by dialogue and characterization.

    If you want to look on the bright (or nostalgic) side, you could say Marvel Studios has created its own house style, just as Warner, Paramount and MGM had house styles in the ’30s and ’40s.

  12. George, you don’t think Spider-Man 2 (the Raimi one) doesn’t stand out visually from the other films? The operating room scene alone. And is there anything in the other films like the cut free fight scene between the Avengers and the aliens (ending with Hulk punching Thor)?
    You think the Thor film has the same look as Captain America? To me one of the things the current Marvel films have pulled off is each having their own distinctive look.

  13. Ian, I agree the first two Raimi Spider-men are the closest to auteur-ville in the recent Marvel cinematic library. Both predate the whole Marvel Studios/Disney/Feige era.

  14. A SHIELD should should at least be ALIAS meets SANCTUARY in the Marvel Universe. Directors have a treasur trove of Kirby and Steranko panels to take inspiration from. What are they waiting for?

  15. rich harvey, you have the blueprint upside-down. The actors for Agent Ward and Agents Fitz/Simmons are eating Coulson’s lunch every outing. And less emotions? No, no, no that simply will not do. Agents of SHIELD needs more emotions. AND more fights. Better choreographed fights. But better emotion-writing.

    This is what people want from a Whedon production: a group of characters whose personalities bounce off of one another and create internal tension and push-and-pull that gives the production an emotionally-driven momentum. This is why The Avengers was successful. This is why Buffy was successful. This is why Agents of SHIELD is a failure on every level.

  16. Ayo, I don’t think I have the blueprint upside-down for AGENTS OF SHIELD. Perhaps the problem is that SHIELD is just not a property suited for Joss Whedon.

    Emotions are fine, not feelings. Seems like every episode of SHIELD finds people emoting about their comrades … one week Skye in a vegetative state, another week one of the accent-laden scientists is shot, etc etc. Agents stand around and assure each other that everything will be alright will fingers fly across keyboards. Skye’s parents? The scotty-scientists lecturing at the “shield academy”?

    Wrong, all wrong. Someone needs to bring an espionage angle into this problem, and even something of a military vibe. And more Agent Coulson.

  17. True Detective and Breaking Bad are the gold standard for TV. If we are going to compare every TV show against them, 95% of what’s on the air will fall short. SHIELD doesn’t have to be either one of those shows to be successful, either creatively or commercially, it just needs to do what it does better. And I think they’re on the right track – the show has been steadily improving, I think.

    Wouldn’t hurt to have Joss more heavily involved, but I doubt that’s going to happen. Regardless I’d be surprised if it doesn’t get renewed – ABC has little else going on.

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