The mysterious Agents of SHIELD spin-off has its stars if the reports are true. Deadline reports Adrianne Palicki (Bobbi Morse) and Nick Blood (Lance Hunter) are in final talks to lead the possible spin-off, meaning their run as series regulars on SHIELD proper is likely over. Bobbi and Hunter have quickly become fan favorites and their chemistry is so much fun to watch it only makes sense to spin them off into their own show. What could their loss and this spin-off mean for the parent show? Can ABC’s Agents of SHIELD survive losing two of its most popular characters? More importantly should Agents of SHIELD lose two of its most popular characters?
SHIELD Can Lose Bobbi and Hunter
Bobbi and Hunter are a small percentage of an ever growing cast. Their stories have typically involved only each other and revolved around their relationship. They lift pretty easily out of the narrative. Agents of SHIELD has very much become an ensemble show and new characters can easily be introduced to fill the void left by Bobbi and Hunter. Of course Bobbi and Hunter can continue to appear occasionally on Agents of SHIELD, similar to how Peggy Carter appeared in flashbacks before Agent Carter‘s premiere.
There’s nothing glaringly wrong with spinning these two off from a story perspective. It all depends on how this “real” SHIELD versus “our” SHIELD conflict plays out but them being sent off on their own missions once the dust settles is easy to imagine.
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Just Because You Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Should
Bobbi and Hunter are a small percentage of the cast, people wise. However, they are a considerable portion of what makes the show enjoyable and work. Since season one, Agents of SHIELD has managed to develop and deepen characters like Skye, Fitz and Ward. Hunter and Bobbi have been just as integral to the show’s success in season two. Skye’s progression has been something great to watch. Hunter and Bobbi are more heavily featured in my favorite moments of the season than it Skye’s transition to inhuman.
Despite its marketed improvement from season one, Agents of SHIELD still needs meaty characters the audience can sink their teeth into and enjoy. If Bobbi and Hunter are gone that pool of characters just got a lot smaller.
Bobbi and Hunter are One of the Few Success Stories
It’s perfectly within the show’s DNA to introduce new characters in season three if Bobbi and Hunter move on. Agents of SHIELD has a spotty track record when it comes to introducing new characters. Bobbi and Hunter have worked out amazingly but there’s also been characters like Mac and Trip. There’s nothing with these two but they have nowhere near the depth of Bobbi and Hunter.
Thus far Mac exists solely has a foil to other characters. First, he was present to give Fitz a way to communicate. Agents of SHIELD showed promise for his character after he was given a reprieve in the mid-season finale but now he’s someone that Bobbi can talk to about her feelings concerning “real” SHIELD. We know nothing about Mac himself, because he is a reactionary character.
Trip feels more like wasted potential than anything else. He was brought on rather transparently as Ward’s replacement and then did nothing but smile and hold a gun. Despite being around for 18 episodes (more than Bobbi) Agents of SHIELD refused to use him in any meaningful way. SHIELD eventually did use him and it that was to kill him off for the sake of another character’s development.
This practice of killing off character is becoming a pattern for the show. Victoria Hand showed similar promise as a character but her ultimate purpose was to reveal Ward’s true loyalties and to die at his hands. The same goes for Lucy Lawless’ Hartley who barely made it one episode. She became a plot device to deliver Hunter to the audience. If you’re mildly interesting but infrequent in appearance it doesn’t mean good things for your life expectancy on Agents of SHIELD.
If every character on Agents of SHIELD had been slam dunks like Hunter and Bobbi then I might feel more comfortable about them giving those characters up. Historically, Agents of SHIELD has struggled to find a place for its new characters. It also doesn’t have a great track record in using its old ones. It took them a season to find an interesting character in Skye rather than quippy Mary Sue; or to show a deeper side to May rather than the stoic but extremely capable resident bad-ass; or to separate Fitz and Simmons characters on something based other than their genders. You begin to see my reservations.
Bobbi and Hunter Could Create a Great Show
All this being said, I’d love to watch a show that was nothing but Bobbi and Hunter. A show set in the Marvel Universe that evokes Mr. and Mrs. Smith or Spy vs Spy sounds like my idea of TV Heaven. It would give Adrianne Palicki the starring vehicle she has deserved since Friday Night Lights ended. It could explore Bobbi and Hunter’s relationship. It would delve into their deep affection and past with one another and the comic value of their constant bickering. The more I describe it the more I want to see this immediately. If the spin-off is able to keep the same energy that the two have in their short scenes together and stretch it out to a full season than ABC will have something really special.
If done right, a spin-off starring Palicki and Blood could eclipse its parent show and therein lies the problems. While it would benefit the TV audience greatly to have a show starring these two characters. (This is especially true considering Bobbi as a lead because the superhero genre desperately needs more women in starring roles.) It wouldn’t benefit Agents of SHIELD. SHIELD isn’t the soaring success that ABC hoped. What happens to that meager audience if you take away two of its most successful characters and move them to another show? Nothing good.
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Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)