Uh oh! After the highest rated debut for a drama in four years, what seemed to be a sure-fire break-out hit, ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ based on the publisher’s blockbuster cinematic universe, lost 30% of its audience in its second week! By the numbers, the Joss Whedon-directed premier episode drew a 4.7 rating in the key 18-49 demographic (the audience networks most actively seek for prime time programming). The second episode dropped to 3.1, which still isn’t bad, but the fact that such a large portion of the audience has already seemingly quit the show is disturbing.
In comparison, the James Spader-fronted drama ‘The Blacklist’ had the highest rated debut with a 3.8 rating, making it the highest rated debut before ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ premiered, but managed to remain at a 3.6 for its second episode. The second episode of ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ even boasted a cameo by Samuel L. Jackson, reprising his movie role as Nick Fury, but the network chose only to hint at his appearance (on social media, at that, not on TV) rather than hyping it. Had more viewers known about it, would they have been tempted to watch?
The Hollywood Reporter, weeks ago, hired Jim Steranko, the famed illustrator of the sixties ‘Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ comic books, to provide reviews of the show each week, but they may have regretted that decision after his first was scathing. He slightly… slightly, backed off a bit in his second review, but still clearly didn’t care for it. He heaped praise upon Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo, but stated that it felt a bit gratuitous pointing out that it had “a promise aimed more at previewing his forthcoming feature-film effort than interacting with AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. in the future (no plot threads in evidence).” He did criticize the character’s wardrobe choice, though. Having designed the classic comic book “zip-suit” he stated “I can confirm that he would not be seen dead in a black-leather pimpcoat.” (After his comment that making the Hooded Hero black in the pilot, was venturing into ‘PC-ville’, the “pimpcoat” comment is worrisome in my opinion.)
But he went on to criticize the “formulaic” storyline, where the “o-8-4” that the heroes were fighting for was simply a “MacGuffin” of the week. Can’t argue with that. He lamented the fact that Ming -Na Wen’s Melinda May was sorely underutilized, whereas she was many viewer’s favorite part of the first episode. Meanwhile, besides Coulson and Skye, the bulk of the attention seems focused on the bland Agent Ward (Brett Dalton).
I’ve honestly seen such mixed reviews on Facebook and other comment sections online but of course the negative reactions have been pretty simplistic just calling it “bad” with little embellishment. Reading lengthier reviews, the major complaints were that the pilot was so seeped in the movie universe they didn’t offer much explanation to anyone who might not have seen some of the films. And many commented on Ward’s blandness and some of the other less-than-fleshed out cast members. (Our reviewer gave it a fairly glowing review as did several other outlets.)
So did you stick with ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ in its second outing? And if so what did you think? Also, if you did not tune into the second show, why not? I’d love to hear some feedback on this. Please comment below!