@quarters: Arrow is an interesting case study in modern TV show pacing. It has so many subplots going on at any one time that many episodes feel hectic and quite a few feel pointless when they first air. I think the brilliance of the show, and why I always watch despite some episodes not being all that great on their own, is that by the end of each season, each and every character in every single episode ends up having a purpose. It's hard to imagine how certain episodes will amount to anything more than filler, but then suddenly these seemingly unrelated things all tie together in a way you don't expect. In SHIELD this season I don't think they've had one bad episode. But the overall structure of the show isn't as tight from a storytelling perspective. It can be hard to get into and stick with Arrow, but if you are willing to watch a show that is MUCH darker than SHIELD or The Flash then I would give it a go. It's a dark and brutal show, the type that The CW normally doesn't put out, but I think the way the story arc of each season concludes makes all of the tonal issues and seemingly pointless characters and sub-plots feel worth it and in a way even intentional.
@theht: It's truly amazing how SHIELD went from a mediocre teen melodrama with occasional sci-fi elements to one of the best parts of the MCU in such a short amount of time. It really makes you wonder what would happen to other shows with great premises that start off on the wrong foot if they were given a chance to right the ship for a second season instead of getting cancelled after three episodes. Networks are so obsessed with having the very best ratings every single week they don't give shows enough time to grow. I always mention Looney Tunes when things like this happen. While not a TV show, WB put out its first Looney Tunes short in 1930. But they didn't introduce Daffy Duck until 1937, Bugs Bunny until 1940, and most other popular characters until after that. If the studio had cancelled the project after a couple mediocre episodes, instead of 40 years worth of incredible cartoons we would have had 40 minutes worth of crap.