Yet the next logical question to ask is why, then, the show hit the ground running with so many boring characters and stories that pigeonholed things into bland action-adventure standalones, particularly if the producers had so thoroughly planned out the season that they knew what the last image of the season one finale was before starting serious work on the show. (Over-planning is often a problem on first-season genre shows, which want to have a firm set of signposts in line, without realizing that the narrative pace of television is blistering.) And it’s not as though TV can’t do exciting action-adventure standalones, though Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. might make you believe it impossible.

The AV Club finds reason to be optimistic about the future of Agents of SHIELD, despite previous evidence.

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