Agents of SHIELD is the most controversal part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Every single person I've talked to or listened to about this show has a different opinion on it: nobody is satisfied with Agents of SHIELD, but nobody can agree on exactly what the show is doing wrong.
Is it getting better or getting worse? When exactly did the show go downhill? Was there ever an uppoint to start with?
I sincerely hope that season4 will be the final season of Agents of SHIELD as I feel the show has outlived its usefullness.
I personally enjoyed the goofy episodic nature of the 1st season and I also enjoyed the more serious and storydriven 2nd season. In the third season however the show started to lose me. As far as I'm concerned the season4 premier was when the show officially jumped the shark.
Was I the only one who felt bored watching "the Ghost"?
I don't care who the new director of SHIELD is. I'm confused by the fact that SHIELD is run by the government again (maybe I missed something in season3) but I don't find the new status quo exciting.
I enjoyed every moment that Robbie Reyes was on screen and if it wasn't for him I might not have watched the entire episode. Oddly enough this only made me realize how little I cared about the old main characters.
Fundemental problems with the show
Agents of SHIELD had a lot of haters right from the beggining since nobody was clear on what the show was supposed to be. A lot of us built up our own image of what this show was supposed to be and were disappointed when it wasn't what we expected.
At it's inception Agents of SHIELD was supposed to show what was going on in the background of the Marvel Universe inbetween the movies and showcase superhero scenerios on a smaller scale. The series could bring in minor heroes and villains and give them a time in the spotlight that they would never have otherwise. In these respects I think the Netflix shows have made Agents of SHIELD obsolete.
season one, two, and three
I want to repeat that I really liked the first two seasons of Agents of SHIELD. I thought season1 was basically perfect and I really liked the way that season ended.
By the end of season1 SHIELD was destroyed and it was up to Coulson and his team to rebuild from scratch and somehow stop the all-mighty HYDRA, HYDRA had taken over the FRIDGE and stolen all it's weapons and liberated all it's prisoners. Colonel Talbot and the special forces were still hunting down SHIELD Agents and to top it all off Coulson might be losing his mind. It was an awesome way to end the season and it left me pumped for season2.
The narrative stakes for season2 were enormous and I still really enjoy this season but it's also where a lot of the show's biggest problems started. In early season2 Coulson cuts a deal with Glen Talbot to let him take credit for SHIELD's actions in exchange for leaving SHIELD alone, when I first saw this it didn't bother me and I wasn't even sure if Talbot accepted the offer. In hindsight however this began a tradition of the show resolving interesting conflicts or subplots way too easily.
HYDRA was a massive threat but unfortunately HYDRA was never allowed to win and the heroes always defeated them way too easily. SHIELD rebuilt itself extremely quickly and in season2 seemd to have basically the same resources as they did when they were government funded; their source of funding in season2 isn't explained.
Most of the problems with season2 likely stem from the fact that it's storyline was dictated by the narrative of the movies. Conflicts were resolved way too fast and HYDRA consistently lost because HYDRA needed to be in a position to be destroyed as early as the beggining of Age of Ultron. None of these flaws ruin season2 for me. It still enjoyed the season and when it was finished I was excited for season3.
As I said before season3 was where the show started to lose me.
When season2 ended I didn't mind that Grant Ward was going to rebuild HYDRA from scratch because I thought it would be an interesting role for the character. I correctly predicted that Ward wasn't going to be the only person to try to restart HYDRA. Unfortunately It seemed like anytime HYDRA came close to being a threat in season 3, they would suffer some crushing defeat.
Before season3 was finished HYDRA was destroyed in a manner so anticlimactic it felt insulting. The subplot of Agent Simmons recovering from the trauma of being stranded on an alien world was completely forgotten about.
Outside of Ward rebuilding HYDRA, season 3 also dealt with the Inhuman Outbreak and the serial killer known as Lash. These plots weren't handled any better.