Initially, I defended the vague and underdeveloped characters on S.H.I.E.L.D., seeing it as a typical team-show writing device, having the audience slowly get to know the characters over time (like Leverage or Criminal Minds). While I still stand by the potential of Coulson's team, I am disappointed in the how they are written, their lack of back story (except for Skye, but who cares), and their lack of chemistry (except for FitzSimmons, who are delightful).
The most frustrating aspect of these characters is that they have so damn much potential. Some of them are even downright likable. FitzSimmons' banter is amazing! Their familiar banter is reminiscent of childhood friends and Simmons alone is more adorable than a cute animal sub-Reddit. However, we literally don't know anything about them except that they met sometime in college in the UK. Thrilling stuff.
Melinda May kicks ass, yes, but am I the only one who wants to see her in a role other than team mom? Lone Wolf could do with a story more interesting than cake, and Skye . . . oh, Skye . . . what to do with her. I understand that Skye is supposed to be increasingly conflicted about her role on Team Coulson, but what the hell is her role? And does anyone care or am I the only person who thinks that the writers are so busy telling us that she is sympathetic they keep forgetting to show us a sympathetic side?
Speaking of Skye, we have heard not a whisper of the Rising Tide since the pilot. What happened to them being the first priority of Team Coulson? Shouldn't they be utilizing a "former" member to track them down? Or at least mentioning it? At all?
Furthermore, no headway has been made on Coulson's mysterious resurrection other than his former agent asking why he was different. You haven't seen him in years and surprise! A lot has happened. Yes, he could be different because he is a real life decoy that will pave the way for Age of Ultron (personal theory), or he could have fought aliens and come back to life and be coping with that. Don't you give me the dramatic music and cut away. Lazy writing.
Also, the arcs of individual episodes are wickedly predicable. If they don't shape up, it may even border on procedural crime drama territory: fun but I'm wondering what else is on.
I am running two weeks behind (apologies), and I hear the Rising Tide features in episode five, so there is hope! And ultimately, there is hope for S.H.I.E.L.D. There is potential. It just seems like the writing team who delivered us The Avengers is scared of pushing the limits further in case they alienate either the fans or the studio. And guess what? There is no place for that kind of twisted irony when you are writing a comic book TV show. I'm enjoying the show, I really am, but I expect more. Take risks. Be weird. Have fun. Do something new! In case you haven't noticed, that's kind of the sandbox you're playing in.