In a new interview with THR’s Lesley Goldberg, executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon directly addressed the first two-thirds of the premiere season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and talked about its performance, its criticisms, and where it can go from here.
”A first-year show has so many growing pains, and we’re happy we’re getting the kind of season where we feel like we’re really hitting our stride both in terms of the stuff we’ve played in early and story wise coming to a head, and also just in terms of getting everybody in production, on stage, and in the room on the same page,” Whedon said of the series’ early development. Tancharoen said, “We knew from the outset that there were a lot of eyes on the show with very high expectations. People were expecting to see a Marvel movie every week. With the reality of our accelerated post schedule, we are living up to that standard as much as we possibly can. In the beginning, we may have tried to apply too much to an episode. Now we understand the right balance that we need of scale as well as story and quiet moments in between.”
The pair, who have worked together extensively as well as being a married couple, said that they’ve seen more of an audience in DVR and online viewing than as Tuesday 8pm watchers, and that their focus is comfortably on making the show strong, not necessarily on just driving ratings. Marvel and ABC seem to agree, and let them assert creative control over the series. They are happy, though, that after some on-off new to repeat episodes for the first few months of 2014, the series will play 7 new episodes in a straight-through run over the next seven weeks.
As far as the critics go, the pair addressed the concerns fairly head-on, saying that “The expectation that they're going to see a Marvel movie each week -- that's a hard expectation to live up to.” Tancharoen specifically said that they did not “want to bombard [the audience] with a superhero week after week,” as they’d then run the risk of alienating people and not building their own characters. She admitted that they may be somewhat inadvertently making a TV show designed for binge-watching, an occurrence that has become so accepted that companies like Marvel Studios are in fact getting in on the act with 13-episode released-all-at-once Netflix original series, or sister company Lucasfilm releasing the final season of The Clone Wars all at once on the streaming service.
”So to the people that checked out: maybe they'll watch it on Netflix. That's the way we watch our TV shows; we let them all pile up and binge watch them all at once. And we are like our audience,” Tancharoen said.
They admitted as well that it took some time to find their “groove” with the series, particularly because it was a new experiment. “This whole thing had a lot of firsts: Marvel [Studios]’s first live-action show, Marvel and ABC’s first joint venture.”
As for the last seven episodes of season one, the pair is confident they have their own story to tell, while also reflecting the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which hits theaters on Friday and changes the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ve “read all of the film scripts” from the beginning and know what’s to come, enabling stronger crossover between the properties. They also remain steadfast that their plan has been in place from the beginning, saying “the way the season is laid out is how we planned it. There hasn’t been a course correction of any kind.” They also said that the season finale would absolutely not serve as a series finale if they only had one season.
”No, you’d be so desperate to see another season and you’d be sad,” Whedon said. “It’ll definitely be a satisfying season finale, but we definitely are teeing up stuff to come.”
Captain America’s New Look
Sure, Captain America: The Winter Soldier isn’t out until Friday April 4, 2014, but what about his next film appearance? Well, thanks to Marvelousnews.com we have a first look at the slightly altered costume (complete with the Avengers “A” on the shoulder) that Captain America will wear. While Chris Evans is still on the press tour (and still bearded) for his solo film, his stunt double was suited up in Seoul, South Korea yesterday in the new suit. Take a look here, and click through the link for a brief video from the set.