(Some Minor Spoilers Below)
After months and months of speculation, teasers and hype, Marvel’s long gestating television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally upon us. Led by Joss Whedon and his creative team of geniuses, Agents of Shield (there’s no way I’m typing out the official title every time) delivers in every way it promised it would, and then some.
The show picks up sometime after the events of both The Avengers and Iron Man 3, and focuses on a team of agents within S.H.I.E.L.D. who are tasked with keeping the public safe from the information they’re not quite ready to come to grips with. And in charge of this group is none other than everyone’s favorite agent, Phil Coulson. Yes, he’s not dead. And yes, it’s okay to clap.
Obviously Agents of Shield had a lot to live up to, and while I doubt it’ll ever reach the heights achieved by the Marvel movies, this show has proved itself more than capable of continuing the Marvel universe in a unique and exciting way. It’s fresh, action-packed, and jam packed with Joss Whedon’s signature brand of humor that you can’t help but love.
At its core though, this show is all about the characters, the people not big enough to be considered ‘super’. In something that surprised even me, my favorite parts of the pilot episode weren’t the tense action sequences or even the awesome references and cameos, but just getting to know the cast.
Seeing Clark Gregg back as Phil Coulson is great, and it’s obvious that he’s having an absolute blast reprising his now famous role. It’s been widely publicized that yes, Coulson survived his injuries from The Avengers, but the event surrounding his return has been kept tightly under wraps. And…they still are.
We’re given a brief, almost passing, mention to how he’s still around, and then a mysterious comment that suggests there’s more to it than meets the eye. Then the show moves on. I can’t say I’m surprised by this, but I still couldn’t help but be a little disappointed that I have to wait longer to know the truth behind Coulson’s ‘revival’.
As for his team, well, they’re just the colorful group of individuals you’d expect to find in a Whedon show. Grant Ward is the experienced tough guy, and while his first impressions come across as generic, there are hints at a depth that is surely going to be explored as the season continues.
The same can be said for whacky scientists Leo Fitz and Jenna Simmons, two adorable weirdos who finish each others sentences and talk way to fast for us normal people to understand. They’re a fun, if not slightly annoying, couple that fit right in, but will hopefully be given more material to help them really stand out and shine.
However, it’s Chloe Bennet’s character Skye that steals the show for me. Out of all the original characters introduced in this pilot, Skye is one of the few who is actually given some depth and backstory right off the bat. She’s a super-smart hacker who’s not afraid to stick her nose into other people’s business, and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of her.
She’s immediately likable (for more than one reason) and she very nearly steals every scene she’s in with her witty, sarcastic remarks. This is a character I cannot wait to see more of, and she fits so well into the Marvel Universe that you’d almost never know she was made just for this show.
Rounding out the cast is Ming-Na Wen’s Melinda May, a mysterious agent who we really know nothing about, except that she can take down more than her fair share of bad guys. As far as pilot episodes go, I’m impressed with the way Agents of Shield handles and introduces its fairly large cast, and while we’re left with more questions than answers, I don’t think they could be off to a better start.
To make a great thing even better, Agents of Shield almost feels more like a movie than a TV show. The directing is superb, the fight scenes fast and intense, and the visuals just look all around better than most shows you see on primetime TV. However, even though the special effects were impressive, there were occasional shots that were obviously fake and were a bit glaring considering how good everything else looked, but I guess that was inevitable.
Just a heads up though, despite taking place in a world occupied by superheros, Agents of Shield will not be filled with them. We will see the occasional super-powered human every so often, as we do in this episode, but don’t expect to see them every week. This is a move that I’m a hundred-percent behind, and I hope the rest of the audience is as well.
The biggest fear I have about this show, however, is its weekly plots. I fully expect Agents of Shield to have a mission-of-the-week style to it, and I’m fine with that, I just really hope we get more than a by-the-books procedural. The pilot showed more than enough potential, but I have no idea how, or if, the plots introduced will be fleshed out in coming episodes.
With that said, Joss Whedon is the man behind this show, and he very rarely disappoints. I have full confidence in him and his team to keep this show interesting and exciting every step of the way, I would just hate to see a show with this much power behind it fall victim to the curse of the procedural.
All in all, I am more than happy with Agents of Shield. The cast is colorful and likable, Coulson is back (yay!!), and it has the potential to do some truly amazing stuff in the future. The pilot is a little by-the-numbers, which was unavoidable, but it more than sets the feel for what is to come, and I think that if it’s able to keep its viewers engaged every week, it will be on the air for a very long time.