This post was a long time coming but I wanted to watch a handful of episodes before passing judgement...
Like a lot of folks, I enjoyed the heck out of The Avengers and have been a crazed fan of almost everything Joss Whedon has done on television. When Marvel announced a SHIELD series, fanboys and Whedonites like myself, came together and rejoiced aloud. Our favorite Marvel heroes would be popping up at SHIELD Headquarters every week, along with a revolving door of Whedonverse actors in juicy parts. When the news broke that J. August Richards would be appearing in the pilot, speculation about his role ranged from Nick Fury, Jr. to Luke Cage. Sam Jackson was eager to make a cameo, and Cobie Smulders was going to reprise her role of Maria Hill. Everyone was giddy with anticipation.
So I watched the pilot and... it was okay. The plot was a little too simplistic for my tastes, Skye was a bit of a Mary-Sue, and J. August Richards was just a regular working stiff, but the positives easily edged out the negatives. Most pilots truly are ugly ducklings. They’re loaded with clunky exposition, burdened with the arduous task of introducing a slew characters, and still required to be entertaining the entire time.
Episode two would smooth out the rough edges... okay, episode three would really get the ball rolling... well, the fourth time is actually the charm... hmmm, five is a prime number, prime as in prime time-- look, I got nothing.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad show. The cast has nice chemistry and the dialogue has its moments, but the stories have been just average. I suspect the standalone nature of the episodes has been the main culprit. While there are several ongoing mysteries: Agent's Coulson’s vacation in Tahiti, Skye’s agenda, Centipede, etc. I’m not getting a sense of urgency. New shows like Sleepy Hollow and The Blacklist have done a better job so far, but I wouldn't count out SHIELD just yet.