'Agents of SHIELD' showrunners discuss the 'curse' of 22 episode seasons
"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" has been getting heat from its slow burn all season. The ABC freshman drama came in to high expectations as the first Marvel TV series in the studio's Cinematic Universe, but many fans found themselves frustrated by the convoluted ways the show went about unveiling and answering its mysteries.
Showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen have not been deaf to those complaints. During a recent visit to the "Agents of SHIELD" set, the series' creators discussed what they consider to be the lack of patience audiences have had for their show.
"I think it's a consequence of bing-watching now," Tancharoen says. "You can get an entire series and just watch it in three days, if you want. And also with the cable shows, there's the 13 episodes, and you're able to sort of accelerate the story a lot faster."
She notes, "We have 22. There's a luxury to that and there's also a curse, especially now with people needing that instant gratification. 'Frustrated' is a word for how we feel and the criticisms we've been getting, but we also understand it because it's sort of just part of our generation now."
Of expectations for the show, Whedon quips, "No one should expect anything." "You've just got to watch it!" Tancharoen says. "With no expectations," Whedon jokes back.
But all kidding aside, the problems "Agents of SHIELD" has faced have been with its (often very) slow-moving plot points that take massive episode arcs to be delivered. Several of the show's big questions from the pilot still are unresolved; chief among them: Why Coulson is still alive? At least "Agents of SHIELD" did resolve the "how" part.
Whedon says the slow nature of the series is a nod to the film series. While shows like "Scandal" can whip out one huge plot twist after another, "Agents of SHIELD" has to stay true to its mother franchise.
"Because of the films, early on [we had] to take our times with these things and sort of roll them out slowly. It was a self-imposed mandate, but it was also just out of respect for the films, so people have to see what happens to see these things pay off," Whedon says. "If you're just there for the set-up, you won't see the knockdown. Now we're getting to the section of the season where the wheels are turning and we're starting to speed up and so we're very excited about the stuff that's coming."
"Agents of SHIELD" isn't officially picked up for a Season 2, but Whedon and Tancharoen are hopeful. They're also hopeful that the new season will have fewer hiccups and complaints than Season 1.
"We'll have a season under our belts to have learned how to do this without crying at night -- no, I'm just kidding," Tancharoen says with a laugh. "But yes, I do think we feel fairly hopeful for a Season 2, but you never know."
Whedon adds, "If and when it happens, we've very excited about the developments we have planned."
"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" airs Tuesdays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/PT.