Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been slipping in the ratings, and our Agent Coulson has something to say to all those who stopped tuning in.
It's always a bit of a risk, responding to questions about a shrinking audience. But when you're as big and as known as S.H.I.E.L.D. is, silence can sometimes seem a little scary. So, we're not surprised that Clark Gregg talked about the people who have stopped watching, but we're pretty shocked at the contents of the quote. Of the people who have jumped ship, Gregg said:
Those aren’t geeks. Those are losers. You start to have people like Deathlok showing up; You start to understand that a bunch of these different episodes were connected. A lot of the geeks that I respect most...are very excited about where we’re going. So I’m going to choose to work for them.
Now, to be fair, there is an almost immediate back pedddle, where Gregg says:
I guess I don’t mean to say that people who have been frustrated by that discovery period are necessarily losers. I just think they should be, perhaps, a little more patient.
But you call some people losers, and it's not necessarily so easy to unring that bell. Whether Gregg was being light-hearted, trying to get people riled up and interested, or is just a little angry, the words he chose were not the wisest.
Mr. Gregg, if you're out there and you did say that out of frustration, consider this an open letter of sorts from somebody who is still watching but sometimes wonders if they should be.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can't operate solely on the promise of what it's building towards. People are tuning out because the individual episodes are often weak, the characters papery thin, and so this big plan you always talk about gets lost to we, the audience, in the aimlessness of the week to week episodic show we've been getting so far.
Let me draw an analogy to comic books, since that's where S.H.I.E.L.D. takes its origins. One of the big challenges many comic creators face right now is that people don't want to buy individual issues month-to-month -- they wait for the collected trade paperback. But the best and brightest in comics still know that you can't use that as an excuse to write for the trade. You still have to write most issues so they can stand on their own. Otherwise, no one buys the book and, thus, it gets canceled.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is no different. If it's going to keep its audience and run for many seasons like we both want it to, it needs to captivate us in the short AND the long term. And that's what the show's missing right now.
That last episode, though? At the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy? That was great. It did everything I just described. So I'm sticking around in the hopes that we'll get more of that. And if you are reading this, tell your bosses I said as much. Because I believe they can make a great show, if they recognize the work that needs to be done instead of blaming the audience. Because, doing that? It makes us all losers.
(via Comic Book Movie)