The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting bigger all the time, not just on the big screen with new heroes getting their own films, but on the small screen, with more and more shows being made that fit into the continuity of the MCU.
With new shows like The Defenders, The Punisher, Inhumans and Runaways in 2017, it can be easy to overlook some of the others that Marvel are producing. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is one of these that has often been overlooked since it began almost five years ago.
Initially beginning as a very simple tie in to the larger film Universe, the show focused on several members of S.H.I.E.L.D., led by Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who had been killed by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) during the events of Avengers Assemble. The show promised espionage and spy action, whilst also using the mystery of Coulson’s return from the dead to draw viewers in.
Whilst the first season did have something of a rocky start, once events caught up Captain America: The Winter Soldier things really shifted in gear. Suddenly S.H.I.E.L.D. was gone; how would the show manage to survive this? Well, it did so by carrying on the story of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra beyond the events of The Winter Solider, pitting the team against each other as alliances were tested and traitors revealed. Ultimately, it had the team working in secret, chased by the government as it tried to destroy what was left of Hydra.
The second season carried on the Hydra story while introducing the Inhumans; something that was going to culminate in a feature film before plans changed. This season worked extremely well and revealed that one of the characters from the first season was actually the comic book character Quake (Chloe Bennet), bringing some much needed super powers to the series. It also introduced several new characters that would become strong additions to the cast, as well as the comic character Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki).
Its third season rounded off much of the Hydra/Inhuman stories, even bringing them together in the form of Hive, a parasitic Inhuman that was in-part responsible for the creation of Hydra thousands of years ago. This season added some interesting backstory to the MCU and could have acted as a very fitting end to the show.
Nevertheless, it carried on and its fourth season felt like one where the creators were unsure what to do, mixing storylines that involved Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna), LMD’s, and a Matrix-like computer world. The fourth season was disjointed, unsure of where it should go or the stories it could tell. As such, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would need to do something pretty big in order to draw people back for its fifth season.
Fortunately, the series seems to have done this. With the end of season four showing the team kidnapped (and apparently in space), and trailers showing spaceships and aliens, it would appear that the show has embraced some more of the fantastical elements of the MCU and has gone galactic.
I don’t want to spoil too much for people who are unaware of where this new season will be heading, but having already viewed the first two episodes I can at least confirm that the show appears to have found something new, something special, to make it stand out again. It’s going in some bold and unexpected directions. Whether you’ve stuck with the show throughout but were becoming a little unsure about the quality of the series, or if you used to watch it but have given up, come back for season five. If you’re not convinced by the first two episodes, fair enough, but it will grab your attention and draw you in with its changes and prove why it has been the longest running Marvel show.