Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/agents-of-shield-season-1-review-128d51a62a58#.iqgug34b3
Unfortunately for the undedicated, the show had a pretty slow start. A lot of people stopped watching early in the series, but it started to pick up around the fifth or sixth episode. One of the biggest weaknesses the show had early on was how its characters were portrayed; many of them seemed pretty one-dimensional, and a couple of them I straight up didn't like. Over the course of the season all of them got a chance to come into their own, but it took a while.
One of the big appeals of watching Agents of SHIELD was the fact that it would tie into the other Marvel movies as they happened. The first time this happened was Thor: The Dark World, but the tie-in had to do with Asgardian technology that wasn't even in the movie. A more significant tie-in was when Lady Sif appeared on the show, but that was months away from the movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier had a much more profound effect on SHIELD, as any of you who watched the movie will know. If you can help it, make the effort to watch the movies and the episodes of the show in the order that they were released; it's worth it.
The end of the season is where the show really shined, and they actually took it in a direction that I was not expecting. I was thrilled when I heard they were getting a second season, and a new show about Agent Carter is in the works as well. My advice is catch up on the first season over the summer (and make sure you watch the movies), and then keep up with the show as it moves forward next season. It is worth it.