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yes, the AoS characters really ARE that bland

Things I knew about characters after the first-ever episode of the show:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy - is the Slayer, doesn't want to be, likes fashion, is fighting with her mother, snarks at lurky guys in alleys
Willow - is nice, nerdy, insecure, and into books
Xander - is into Buffy, has a Whedony way of talking
Giles - is a Watcher, is studious, really keen on his new job helping Buffy

Wash - likes playing with dinosaurs and being silly
Kaylee - cute, perky, shiny, cheerful, and nice to everyone
Mal - damaged
Simon - loves his sister, very smart, nervous when holding guns

Tru Calling
Tru - into medical stuff, track star, sucks at undercover
Harrison - gambler, likely to get beaten up by mobsters
Davis - nervous around women

Once Upon A Time
Emma - loner, excellent bounty hunter, great at undercover, not so great with kids
Henry - idealistic dreamer, but loner, has issues with his mother

Gibbs - is happy to steal bodies from the FBI
Tony - is happy to assist in said body-stealing by pretending to be a corpse

How I Met Your Mother
Ted - idealistic dreamer, sucks at dating
Marshall - in love with Lily
Lily - in love with Marshall, teacher
Robin - likes dogs, likes Ghostbusters, likes scotch, likes Ted
Barney - catch-phrase obsessed, suit obsessed, skirt chaser

Agents of Shield
Coulson - died mysteriously (or maybe didn't die, mysteriously), is perfect team leader who knows all
kung-fu chick - does... kung-fu
secret agent guy - does... secret agent stuff?
tech guy - ...does tech stuff?
science chick - ...does sciencey stuff??
hacker chick - ...does hacking???

It doesn't take that long to establish some sort of personality for your characters. And yes, the drawn out explanation of that personality might take a while - but you need to give that single line, that little glance, that something that establishes at least a molecule of actual person. Otherwise, there's no reason for your viewers to care.

Xander's stuttered "Can I have you?", Niles's chair-dusting, Joey hitting on Rachel (yes, I am accusing AoS of making less of an effort than Friends), Hardison's slightly smug "This is not the room you're looking for.", Katara's iceberg-destroying rant – all those things showed us who the characters were, in such a simple way. They let us know who we were looking at – which is a good thing, because if you don't know, you can't care.

But Agents of Shield? It never let me in on the secret of who I was watching.

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