Fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will notice that this season, the fourth in the show's existence, has picked up a vastly different format than in years past. For the first three years, each season saw the agents take on one or two threats over the course of the entire season. This year, however, has been split into three pods, where Coulson & Co. take on a new threat each pod.
First we saw a now-legitimate S.H.I.E.L.D. find an unlikely ally in Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) as they aimed to take down Eli Morrow, an evil scientist who was hellbent on using an ancient text known as the Darkhold to create matter out of thin air.
In the second pod, the agents faced off a rogue Hoden Radcliffe as he managed to create an absurd amount of Life Model Decoys, or life-like copies of human beings and that has carried over to the third pod, where we see our agents dealing with a virtual reality Radcliffe created as a part of his LMD program.
According to actor Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Phil Coulson on the show, this format has allowed them to make the best season they've done yet.
"In fact, it's the best three seasons we've ever done because it's got these three separate sections that I really stack up against anything," Gregg said at a press roundtable last week at WonderCon.
Henry Simmons, who plays Agent Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie on the show, agrees with Gregg.
"It's so brave of the producers to do this. They had a format and this season they just tore it to shreds," Simmons said. "The last one [pod] is unlike anything we've ever done — I love it."
The biggest fan of the new format might be the man at top, Jeph Loeb. Loeb, who oversees Marvel Television, praised the entire Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writing team and showrunner Jed Whedon in particular.
"Big hats of to showrunner Jed [Whedon], Maurissa [Tancharoen], Jeff Bell and all the writing staff. It's hard to believe that we actually began this season introducing Ghost Rider… then to shift those gears and go into LMD, which is a 'who do you trust' paranoid thriller, and then to change it again and have it become an alt-reality that comments on the real world," said Loeb. "Having all of those elements put together is extraordinary."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
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