Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
| Courtesy Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen and Brett Dalton star in ABC's ìMarvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.î
Scott D. Pierce: ‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ may need a superhero to save it

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Nov 22 2013 02:01 pm • Last Updated Nov 22 2013 03:04 pm

Before the premiere of "Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," I cautioned my geek friends that they should not get their hopes up too high. Both in terms of quality and in terms of ratings.

My fellow geeks scoffed at my skepticism. Didn’t I know that "The Avengers" was a box-office hit of epic proportions? Didn’t I know that geeks have taken over the world and will soon rule the airwaves?

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

They didn’t want to listen when I argued that a television series is not a movie. That ABC might not be the best place for a show like "S.H.I.E.L.D." That the show faced stiff competition from "NCIS."

In the interest of brevity, I’ll just say — told you so.

Honestly, I take no joy in being right. I really wish that I could tell you I love "S.H.I.E.L.D.," but the best I can say is — I like it.

And, occasionally, I’m kind of bored by it.

It’s no surprise that "Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is not "The Avengers." You can’t turn out weekly episodes of a TV series that look like a big-budget movie. It’s just not possible.

"S.H.I.E.L.D." has good special effects. Frankly, this would be a much better show if the writing was as good as the effects. But it’s not.

Eight episodes in, this still feels like a show that the writers haven’t entirely figured out. These feel like characters that aren’t fully formed.

(With the exception of Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson, who steals every scene he’s in.)

story continues below
story continues below

"S.H.I.E.L.D." needs to feel more spontaneous. More fun. The attempts at comedy are only occasionally successful, and bad comedy is worse than no comedy at all.

Critics had high hopes for "S.H.I.E.L.D.," but you cannot call it a hit. It is by no means a failure, but fewer than 7 million viewers a week does not make you a hit.

This past week, "S.H.I.E.L.D." drew 6.85 million viewers — slightly more than a third as many viewers as "NCIS" (19.39 million) and only about 8 percent more than "The Biggest Loser" (6.33 million).

Fortunately for fans, "S.H.I.E.L.D." does better among the 18-49 demographic advertisers covet. Its 2.3 rating in that demo is 23 percent behind "NCIS."

But with the exception of a one-tenth point uptick last week, it’s been a steady slide down since "S.H.I.E.L.D." premiered.

The show has already been picked up for a full season. ABC and Marvel are both part of the Disney conglomerate, but will that be enough to bring the expensive show back for a second season? Maybe.

Of bigger concern to my geek friends is what the relative lack of success of "S.H.I.E.L.D." might mean for the future of comic-book inspired TV shows. If "S.H.I.E.L.D." doesn’t hit it big, what will?

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.