A lifetime ago, Tim Burton told the world he was directing Batman with Michael Keaton as the caped crusader and Jack Nicholson as The Joker. The world laughed. June of 89 came and went, and Batman was a hit. Suddenly, every comic book property looked like a cold mine for the studios. It was also around this time that Marvel comics was in financial trouble. Over the coming years, a number of their stronger properties like Spider-Man, The Uncanny X-Men, and Fantastic 4 started getting snatched up by studios like Fox and Columbia.
Fast forward to 2009. Marvel has started it's own in-house studio. With Spidey and Wolverine making money for other companies, Marvel takes a risk on some of their less house-hold properties, building up to a possible Avengers project. Along comes Disney, buying up the lot and giving Marvel the resources it needs to build such an intricate universe.
With the success of 2012's Marvel's the Avengers (not to be confused with the 1998 with Uma Thurman, based on the 1961 TV series with Diana Rigg), director and Geek God Joss Whedon promised a Marvel TV series. Bringing fan favorite Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) back from the dead, Whedon and ABC delivered "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." in the fall of 2013.
The show had a rough ride at the beginning. Gregg carried the show for the first few episodes, mainly because he had an existing relationship with the audience. The other characters needed a few weeks (in some cases, months) to bond with the viewers. Some watching at home would gloat to twitter and Facebook that they had abandoned the show early on. Others held tight to the show, patiently hoping for something to happen. I recall one frequent complaint was a hatred of Agent Ward (Brett Dalton). Little did we know...
Flash forward again a few months. Two major events gave "S.H.I.E.L.D." a shot in the arm, and neither of them actually happened on the show. The first was the release of THOR: DARKWORLD. The first feature film from Marvel to follow Avengers had tie-ins to the show on the air. This opened the door to guest appearances from Peter MacNicol and Jaimie Alexander as citizens of Thor's Azgard (Alexander's appearance being more significant, playing Thor comic/film regular Lady Sif). An even bigger game changer came with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The clandestine organization at the center of the films and the TV series is essentially destroyed in the Captain America sequel, setting off a chain reaction that has devastated the show for the past six weeks. Fans who decided to start watching "S.H.I.E.L.D." after seeing CA:WS may have come away with a satisfying ride, enough to give the show another look in reruns (or in this age, Netflix).
One could describe this inaugural season as a roller-coaster ride, if that roller-coaster were to utilize 3/4 of its track on a slow steady climb to the sky before sending the rider on a neck-breaking plunge into every loop, spin, and cork-screw in that last 1/4 of the ride.
Looking forward to Season 2, and I'm optimistic about the other Captain America companion piece coming the ABC, "Agent Carter." I believe those who were skeptical of Disney's purchase of Marvel in 09 have since gone quiet. The Mouse has proven that they are treating the Marvel Universe with respect. Now, if only Sony would give up Spider-man.