Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode Review 1.1 - Mania.com



Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review

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Info:

  • Episode: Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • Starring: Clark Gregg. Ming-Na Wen, Brett Walton, J. August Richards, Chloe Bennet, Cobie Smulders
  • Written By: Joss Whedon
  • Directed By: Joss Whedon
  • Network: ABC
  • Studio: ABC Studios, Marvel Television, and Mutant Enemy
  • Series:

Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode Review 1.1

The long awaited pilot arrives and conquers!

By Tim Janson     September 25, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Do you know who I’d hate to be today?  Dan DiDio, Publisher of DC Comics…or pretty much anyone who works at DC, from DiDio down to the janitor.  After hundreds of episodes of Smallville, Arrow, The Adventures of Lois and Clark, Superboy, The Flash, and Birds of Prey, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. blew them all away in terms of live-action superhero TV in one fell swoop.  While DC’s live-actions shows have often gone out of their way to ignore their comic book roots like turkeys avoiding the Thanksgiving carving knife, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. embraces its lineage from the opening scene, which gives us glimpses of the Avengers, and features a bushel full of comic book references, many of which only bona fide comic geeks will get.  In fact if you were to feel compelled to level any criticism at the debut episode it is that you wonder if perhaps that creator/Director/Writer Joss Whedon might have tried to be too cute and too wry with the inside references…but we’re not going there!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. picks up shortly after the events in The Avengers as the world now knows that superheroes and Gods walk among us.  S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), is working to try and track down the ever-growing number of people with special abilities.  When one of these gifted people saves a woman from a burning building, S.H.I.E.L.D. leaps into action.  Agent Phil Coulson, last seen dead in the Avengers, is back and leading the show, explaining that his death was faked in order to help galvanize and unite the Avengers against their enemies. Cobie Smulders also reprises her role from the Avengers in the pilot episode as Agent Maria Hill who hints at something more mysterious about Coulson’s resurrection and says that he must never know.  Could Coulson actually be a Life Model Decoy (LMD), a lifelike android that S.H.I.E.L.D. is known to frequently utilize in the Marvel Universe?

Coulson promotes a brash, young agent Grant Ward (Brett Walton) to Level 7 to help track down and capture the mystery man along with a young computer hacker named Syke who is obsessed with superheroes and conspiracy theories.  Joining them is Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), pilot and weapons experts who is put back in the field by Coulson against her wishes.  Rounding out the main cast are Agents Leo Fitz who specializes in weapons technology, and Jemma Simmons, who specializes in life sciences and biology.

The comic book references come rapid fire with mentions of Professor Erskine’s Super Soldier formula; the mysterious Project Pegasus; Natasha Romanoff (AKA The Black Widow); Extremis, the Super Soldier/bio-electric device that instills super powers in people.  It is the Extremis device that is found to give mystery man Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) his powers but at a deadly cost.  There’s even a jab thrown out at “Arrow” when the media refers to Peterson as the “Hooded Hero” and Skye remarks to him that, “You’re not going to use THAT name are you?”  Priceless!  Near the end of the episode Coulson remarks about tracking down the organization responsible for fitting Peterson with the device and cutting off its head, a not so subtle hit at S.H.I.E.L.D.’s are-nemesis, HYDRA.

Gregg’s witty, deadpan humor, ultra-cool Agent Coulson drives the show (at least so far) keeping in check the rest of the frenetic members of his team.  Agents Ward, Fitz, and Simmons will need more development to set them apart from stock characters but I like inclusion of Skye, however improbable, as a civilian member of the team.  The best thing about the pilot is that it left you wanting more…you want to know more about Coulson, more about who is behind Extremis, and certainly more about the 0-8-4 alert!  But for a debut episode, Whedon blasted this one out of the park and into the streets.

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jedibanner 9/25/2013 8:31:37 AM

Great show and has lots of good potential, well worth the time to watch it live.

Wiseguy 9/25/2013 8:33:00 AM

Right there with you Tim. I was just saying that embracing the MCU alone is just such a plus for me. Never mind that I dig the dry humor and all the Marvel references as well.

Here's hoping the show takes off.

acidsquall73 9/25/2013 8:46:44 AM

I thought about the LMD angle after watching it last night. Sure they could go with just standard cloning, but that would be all that interesting honestly. That's been done a lot lately. Joss is usually pretty fresh with his storytelling and given all the comic references, it sounds like he will stick to source material more often than not. But still throw in other stories that are his own. On the other hand, Coulson was a character created for the movies, so maybe he will take an off-road approach to him. In any case, I loved it. 

And let's not forget about his love for recycling actors. Seeing J. August Richards and Ron Glass was a great addition to the series. I'm sure we'll see more of the actors we've loved from the past. 

And must not forget: Don't touch Lola.

DarthBob 9/25/2013 8:46:44 AM

I'd give it a solid B; I liked the fact that it didn't take itself too serious and often references the current Marvel movie universe. I would have enjoyed a gratuitous butt shot of Agent Hill. What was a little clunky was assembling the team. I don't think they needed to do that all in one episode; that could have been spread out over several episodes. I loved Agent Coulson’s car at the end; awesome!

Chopsaki 9/25/2013 9:22:14 AM

 I guess I'm a little more critical I gave it a C. Just refrencing other items and people in the Marvel universe is not enough for me. I thought the tone was a little too cheesey as well.  This young group of actors would look more at home in an episode of Glee. Chloe Bennet as Skye is already on my shit list. She's just trying way too hard to be the funny/sassy girl and it's coming off as totally forced. Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson was the lone bright spot and even when he's delivering a cheesey line he delivers it with the right amount of deadpan. The rest of the cast could learn a little something from his approach to the material. I think cable tv has spoiled me as network tv is just so...tame. Either that or I'm getting cranky in my old age. Very disapointed but in no way am I giving up. I'm just thankful this show isn't on Fox so it will have some time to grow and hopefully improve.

ElBaz13 9/25/2013 9:25:18 AM

Loved it!

Finally a show about a comic universe that is not shy of referring to it.

Loved all of those references as mentioned above. Romanov. Thor and his status as a god, etc... This was like one of those Marvel One Shots but for 42 minutes.

The beauty of this show is that it's a free venue to promote Marvel Studios movies. Why pay for advertisement space on other networks when you show movie trailers in between and reference Thor several times in one episode?

A solid B plus. Would be an A if we saw a Maria Hill ass shot (thanks Darth Bob for mentioning it)

wish 9/25/2013 9:37:56 AM

This episode flew by in no time, which usually indicates to me that the show is exciting and well paced, but that's Joss Whedon at his best!  I really liked it, this show will have long legs if they continue to write and produce eps like this!!  I hope Coby Smulders joins full-time after HIMYM ends it run next spring, she's just too damn good looking to not be in that uniform on tv once a week!!  It's pretty cool having a weekly window into the universe that's been giving us such awesome films over the last 5 years!!  3 eps are airing in a row as listed on imdb, but I wonder how many they intend to produce for the first season, it's already been picked up for a full season but I have no idea how many eps that is or the schedule they plan to air them.

ElBaz13 9/25/2013 9:40:40 AM

@wish

To be honest, I wish this show as only 10-12 episodes a season. I find 22 episode seasons for many shows way too long and stuck with filler episodes. That's why all of the best TV, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones is all short seasons. No filler crap!

Also an interesting point. Last night was like Iron Man 3.5 with the Extremis story. Same day as Iron Man 3 is out on dvd/blu-ray.  Free advertising! 

Marvel...you are such geniuses.

But why so many executive producers?

redvector 9/25/2013 9:41:17 AM

The way Coulson dodged the flying van door is a hint that he's not the original model. Dragging out the mystery of his resurrection could get tiresome, however.

acidsquall73 9/25/2013 10:01:24 AM

@redvector - I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed that. It happened really fast and if you weren't paying attention, you missed it. Stuff was going so fast at that moment, so it may have been hard for some to miss. That is what kind of sealed my theory of him being a LMD.

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