The ambition of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Be forewarned. Minor spoilers ahead. Maybe. Not really. But just in case, you've been warned.

A lot of people have wondered about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Where was it going? Why was it boring? What was the deal with Skye? Where was the action? Where were the superheroes?

And many people I know gave up. Personally, I enjoyed the show. But there were moments where I, too, wondered about the direction.

Now that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is out and S.H.I.E.L.D. is decimated, you realize that the show is an extension of Marvel's attempt to build a cycle of storytelling throughout multiple properties.

Captain America, Iron Man and Thor set the table for The Avengers. And now Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will all lead to The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. What previously seemed like a random addition to ABC's Tuesday lineup is really part of the cycle that builds up to the next Avengers movie. 

This is an ambitious plan. And I imagine that it is a difficult one to execute. Imagine trying to coordinate plot points and character development across multiple films and TV shows with different directors and writers. No matter what you think of the show, you have to be in awe that they are attempting to expand the universe like this. I can't think of another company that has tried something this ambitious.

Marvel is planning on launching a series of Netflix limited run series. And there have been rumors of other TV shows, including one about super-spy-and-Captain-America-love-interest Peggy Carter. Anyone want to bet that these shows will be connected to the cycle in the same way that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is?

If you think about it, though, this structure is similar to how classic comic book story lines were built. Major story lines meandered through several different comic books. And those overarching stories often had major implications for all of the books in that universe.

Can't wait to see where S.H.I.E.L.D. heads, both as a fictional agency and as a television show.