Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Series Premiere Review

     September 24, 2013


Here we go.  With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel Studios takes their first step from dominating the silver screen to the small screen.  The anticipation for this one has been building for quite some time, tail ending off the most recent Marvel box office juggernauts, Iron Man 3 and The Avengers. Joss Whedon and co. hope to put on display the excitement of the Marvel Universe through the eyes of the non-superpowered ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division).  Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are the two major mainstays from the Marvel movie-verse who appear in the pilot and they’ve got a big cast to back them up.

Hit the jump for a recap of the premiere episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

agents-of-shield-posterThe episode begins with an ominous voice retelling the events of the Avengers flick and most likely laying groundwork for the threat that faces S.H.I.E.L.D this season. J. August Richards (as Mike Peterson, a factory worker and single father), starts displaying some super powers right out of the gate, after shakily telling his son that they won’t be able to afford the Avengers toys he was eyeing.  A nice world-building scene, in that one of the coolest parts of the show should be establishing a world that is introduced to the likes of a team of aliens, gods, and monsters and how the general populace reacts to this.

Cue Paris (!) as agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), clearly the character made for the audience to relate to on the ground floor, accesses a fireplace/batcave in a woman’s apartment and begins fighting some thugs Bourne Identity-style.  I’ll give the show one thing: two big action scenes in the span of five minutes is a nice change of pace and I’m digging the fast clip the plot is taking.  It was nice to see Whedon’s signature humor on display as well as Ward and Maria Hill discuss why the heck its called S.H.I.E.L.D anyway.

Fantastic intro to Agent Coulson, balancing a flair for the dramatic with some gut-busting humor.  Stepping from the shadows to reveal what is most likely going to be one of the biggest mysteries of the season, how the heck did Coulson survive being stabbed by Loki? Clearly, something is amiss as everyone in the S.H.I.E.L.D organization knows, except of course for Coulson. The banter between the characters feels supernatural, and you can tell the actors were really having a blast with their roles.

The show is, in typical “Scooby Gang” fashion from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, doing well to establish the main cast of characters that audiences will be following this season, and, most likely, seasons to come. We’re introduced to Skye (Chloe Bennet), a hacker/super hero fan girl who is revealed to be the ominous voice at the beginning of the episode; Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), a vehicular specialist for S.H.I.E.L.D with a big reputation; and Agents Fitz and Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge respectively) who act as S.H.I.E.L.D’s “Q” from the James Bond series, providing tech support, all of whom have their own quirks and charm.

agents-of-shield-clark-greggThe show does a great job of throwing curve balls at the audience. Going into this episode, I didn’t see Mike turning out to be the villain of the story, but considering what he does to his former boss in the factory, its a foregone conclusion that he’ll, at the very least, be an anti-hero. There’s certainly more than enough mysteries being set up in this episode to keep the audiences coming back to see how they’re eventually resolved between Coulson’s return, Peterson’s powers and where he got them, and how this team will be able to function as a unit with all the different misfits.

The references from Avengers come in hot and heavy during the pilot, with nods to the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America, Gamma Radiation that created the Hulk, and “Extremis” which had a huge role in Iron Man 3. Watching the pilot, it almost feels like you’re watching another installment of the movies themselves, rather than simply a spin-off television show. The budget certainly helps with this in that the effects look like they have some serious money behind them.

The show ends with a nice conclusion of Mike Peterson, S.H.I.E.L.D, and the mysterious antagonists that gave him his powers, colliding in a train station. The show is off to a fantastic start, and I’m genuinely interested in learning more about the characters, the world they’re in, and the mysteries that have been set up. Good show Marvel.

Episode Rating: A-

Musings and Miscellanea

- agents-of-shield-clark-gregg-brett-dalton-chloe-bennetFavorite line of the night: “I don’t think Thor is a God.”
“Haven’t been near his arms.”

-Some great Marvel nods to fans, such as “Journey Into Mystery”, “With Great Power comes…a ton of weird crap” and S.H.I.E.L.D’s flying car at the very end.

- Great to see more and more of Whedon’s favorite actors from Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse making appearances. I always felt that more of these actors should be given bigger roles, and Whedon apparently thinks the same.

- One flaw of the pilot is that it does move almost too fast for its own good. I think it could have benefitted from one or two “quiet” scenes, digging into the characters a bit more. Though this is the pilot episode, so I can understand that ABC needs to lay it all on the line with the time that they have.

- J. August Richards was my favorite actor of the night. Why isn’t he in more stuff?

-The name of the evil organization is “Centipede”? I get it couldn’t have been Hydra because of their movie involvement, but how about “Leviathan” or “Serpent Society”?

Around The Web
  • Bob

    Great first episode. I wonder what the reveal is gonna be for Coulson? What do you guys think is going on there?

    • Ethan

      I think some sort of clone

      • Bob

        Maybe Vision? I really don’t know what it could be, which is actually really good and annoying lol.

      • Ethan

        The Vision? how could that be? I do like how its a huge mystery, though one we probably wont find out much information for a while

      • Héctor Pérez Tovar

        Yeah Vision sounds about right, a clone would be way too simple but a robot with an implanted personality….now that’s Whedonesque. Great pilot! already love Fitz-Simmons!

      • Bob

        This, hell maybe they even say Coulson is the first AI, imprinted with all his memories/feelings etc. First AI…yes I am implying maybe Coulson as an AI leads to Ultrons creation or something like that.

      • Ethan

        That would be very cool, Im hoping this show can have some connections to future Marvel movies, would just be cool to loyal fans who watch it all

      • Doug_101

        Totally agree. He’s a Rusty Venture original.

    • ACallCreative

      I think I read somewhere a while back that one of the movies has a throwaway line that mentions full body doubles for everyone in SHEILD. Is this something that was in the comics?

      • Nerdgasm

        No. That rumor comes from Tony Starks line in the Avengers when he doesn’t want to answer Coulsons call and says that he’s reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark. Plus if that were the case the Coulson would know he had dies but it’s clear in the episode that he has no clue that he “died”. He’s under the assumption he “held his breath”

      • LandosFolly

        Yes, in the comics they’re referred to as “LMDs”, which is short for “Life Model Decoys”. They even refer to them in one of the Marvel movies, though I can’t remember which one off the top of my head.

      • Nerdgasm

        Yes to the LMDs in the comics though they were mostly just used for Fury not everyone got one. That’s what I meant. And it was Avengers. BUt it wouldn’t work here cause Coulson has no idea he “Died” he was obviously givin a memory sweep.

    • BuckTruck

      Khan blood.

      • Doug_101

        Up vote for the comment, but down vote for the plot device.

    • BuckTruck

      I have a theory, it could be bunnies.
      Or maybe midgets.

  • Drake

    Agreed! The pilot was a lot of fun. It introduced some questions that will definitely keep me watching. I’m always up for more Marvel. Good stuff.

  • Bronsolino

    I fucks with it.

    • Killabee

      It’s strictly for the Jeeps.

  • LEM

    I thought centipede was a project title and not an enemy organization.

    • Devin Reed

      I was under the same impression as well. They mentioned Operation Pegasus in New Mexico (aka Thor) in the same sentence as Operation Centipede.

    • Batt Damon

      I’m pretty sure centipede refers to the thing on Mike’s arm

    • Doug_101

      I think you’re right. It’s got to be AIM, right? Or maybe Hydra resurgent?

  • Strong Enough

    an A? LMAOOOO

    come on. you guys have a hard on for Joss

  • Strong Enough

    an A? LMAOOOO

    come on. you guys have a hard on for Joss

    • bombinUSA

      you mad that they don’t do reviews for pretty little liars? lol. god your taste in shows and movies are horrendous.

      • joeybot

        Yeah, this guy’s kind of a loser.

      • Strong Enough

        oh please. you sound offended. did i hurt your feelings? lmao

      • bombinUSA

        you just have a taste in film and shows that are similar to that of a 12 year old girl. lol,awwww you mad? ahaha

      • Strong Enough

        Nope. gonna watch Breaking Bad finale this sunday. BOO YAH! I”M SO EXCITED AND I JUST CAN’T HIDE IT! I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I WANT TOO I WANT TOO!

    • joeybot

      It may be an A, how do you know? You have to watch several episodes before you can have an opinion.

      • -

        Why? It’s a review of one episode, not the series as a whole.

      • joeybot

        This guy’s been having a discussion with me that you can’t point out flaws of a show until you’ve seen a bunch, so he needs to keep his yapper shut.

      • Strong Enough

        thats why i “lmao!”

      • joeybot

        So you’re a ten year old girl then?

      • Strong Enough

        why? you like 10 year old girls? perv

      • joeybot

        Wow, right to the child molester jokes. Well, at least you’re attempting to be clever, Abed.

        How many friends do you have again?

      • Strong Enough

        hey you asked if i was a ten year old girl which is very suspect and weird

      • joeybot

        I didn’t say I wanted to fuck you, nerd.

      • Strong Enough

        WHOA. all i said was like. so you were thinking about…that? nasty

      • joeybot

        Why else would I “like” you, idiot?

        I’m serious, tell me how old you are. Are you in high school, do you have friends?

      • Strong Enough

        now you want my personal info? you sir have a nasty mind. wow.

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  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    Agents of shield was fucking amazing
    The Goldbergs should have been on Wednesday before modern family
    It’s a funny show
    Finally I have something to watch on Tuesdays

    • Btbcc12859

      Excellent idea Goldbergs would go great with Modern Family

  • Frankie Chervony

    I don’t mean to rain on everyone’s parade but honestly….the pilot wasn’t that great. For a pilot, it didn’t AMAZE the crap out of me. Is most certainly NOT an A. I’ve seen better pilots get the can. It could have been a lot better and I hope it does get better and not turn into a ‘Monster-of-the-week’ series like it promises to be. This universe can benefit much more from a grand over arching story and doesn’t need “filler” episodes to hit a quota before a finale.

    • Ruprect

      So you don’t like how you think the show is maybe going to perhaps be?

      Your last sentence is also pure generic piffle that could be said about any, repeat ANY, series.

      Oh, and I call bullshit! Please name a better pilot for a show that did not get picked up.

      • Frankie Chervony

        My last sentence can be said about many series but close to NONE have the depth that Marvel Universe has. Obviously most fans are not watching for a D-grade fellow every week, they actually want story. Over-arching-marvel-universe-story. I haven’t bashed the pilot, I just gave it a real opinion not biased on fanaticism for either Marvel or Wheadon.
        It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that impressive, to say otherwise is to lie. period.
        And yes, there have been better pilots which have ended in series cancelled, maybe not right at the pilot, but they certainly never made it past season one or two despite having great stories and pilots. Alphas, Secret Circle, Political Animals come to mind just to name a few.

      • Ruprect

        Again, you are bitching about how the series MIGHT be. I know that all of Mr Whedon’s other series had that ” cobbled together, week to week” feel with no long character or story arcs, but …. Oh wait, they ALL had those things, didn’t they? Huh!

        You also tried to sneakily move the goal posts about series pilots. You said you’ve “seen better pilots get the can” NOT “a series that was on the air for a season or 2 that had a good pilot get the can.” Disingenuous.

        Also, by implying that everyone that gave this show a positive review (the VAST majority, so far) is either a liar or a Marvel/Whedon fanboy, you are showing yourself to be a student of the Karl Rove school of discourse. The phrase “No True Scotsman” comes to mind.

    • Ashtalon

      I actually preferred the “monster of the week” episodes from X-Files, Supernatural, and Fringe. I felt that their grand, continuing stories just weren’t very interesting. There’s nothing wrong with SHIELD investigating a lot of different, unconnected, special events. Not everything has to tie together.

  • Romsy

    Pretty good, was hoping the production design would have been better. The practical sets for the plane were cool, but the cg was awful. Really hope they don’t just churn out a new d-list Marvel character each week. I agree that the pacing sucked, but hopefully they find a good groove as the show continues. Would give this pilot a B.

    Also, I’m already hoping they kill off the Sky character. Most annoying character ever.

  • Liderc

    This show wasn’t very good. Sadly Clark Gregg just can’t shoulder an entire show and the actors they chose were super cheesy in this pilot.

    It’s new, so I’ll give them a slight pass for just starting, but nothing about it made me want to stick around for another episode. I bet it gets picked up, but is canceled after one season. I wasn’t even expecting that much either, so it’s not a case of expecting a lot and getting a little.

    It’s just nothing new, which is what it was supposed to be. The CGI was fairly poor oddly enough.

    • Nerdgasm

      It was already picked up being as it’s set for a full season…They wouldn’t have teased the next episode if it wasn’t picked up so it obviously wasn’t a test show. And it was announced in like July that it was picked up and filming continued.

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  • Aw Hell NAH

    That flying car at the end wasn’t the final nail in the coffin, but a mutha fukin nuke blowing the coffin to kingdom come. Best part was Sky’s cute face and tatas.

  • eternalozzie

    very uninteresting characters … straight up generic super hero show … huge let down … A-??? not even close.

  • Agents of S.T.U.P.I.D.

    Just when you think Joss hit rock bottom with his puerile dialogue in The Avengers, he proves he can sink even lower. Now can Marvel finally shut up about the whole “New York event” nonsense We had to hear about it throughout IM3, Item 47, and now this piss poor show. We get it already!

    • Ruprect

      Right, because no one talks about the effects of 9/11 anymore, do they?

  • Agents of S.T.U.P.I.D.

    Just when you think Joss hit rock bottom with his puerile dialogue in The Avengers, he proves he can sink even lower. Now can Marvel finally shut up about the whole “New York event” nonsense? We had to hear about it throughout IM3, Item 47, and now this piss poor show. We get it already!

    • HeSaidSheSaidReviewSite

      I thought the pilot was pretty bad, but your “point” about “shutting up about the whole NY nonsense” is completely invalid. We talk about stuff that has happened in the past all the time, particularly tragedy. You bet your ass if aliens showed up and attacked, it would never be forgotten, and likely discussed by someone just about every day.

  • HeSaidSheSaidReviewSite

    This show was bland from top-to-bottom. There was nothing special or even particularly interesting about it. The humor wasn’t funny, the action was as anti-climatic as it gets, and the characters…I couldn’t care less about them.
    If ABC and Marvel weren’t connected, this would be canceled before winter.

  • thatguy

    I didn’t think it was very good, certainly wouldn’t give it an A-, maybe a C, C+. Coulson is the only character that invites anyone to care about him but he can’t carry the show by himself. It seemed like a ton of cliches with a lot of forced Marvel references that were supposed to be nods to the fanboys but felt more like heavy handed pandering; these references need to feel a lot more effortless. In the same way the dialogue felt cheesy and hollow, and I was not a fan of the cinematography. To be fair, it is a lot to do to set up a series like this in an hour so perhaps with some of this behind them the series will get better. I will give it another episode or two to find out.

  • david

    As far as pilots go, I liked it. However, in a couple of scenes I got the sense that Whedon was trying to explain a few of the gripes regarding The Avengers. Obviously, with Coulson but the part where that discuss the implanted comm. devices.

  • Ben Wigler

    Ugh… this show was the worst of Alias meets the worst of Heroes, except that the worst of both shows would still be better than this show. I’m just calling it like I see it, this is *bad* television… this is coming from someone who really loved The Avengers and has gotten at least a little something out of all of the Marvel movies. But this is below C grade television given what the property could be.

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  • Aaron Sullivan

    I do wonder what TV shows people are comparing this to. What super hero TV shows are better. What shows of this type are the same that there is “nothing new”. Back up your claims here folks or it all just falls on deaf ears.

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  • Roy Batty

    This. Was. Shit.

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  • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

    My favorite line of the night: Coulson (steps out of the shadows): “Welcome to Level 7. Sorry, that corner was really dark and I couldn’t help it” Gut-busting.

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  • Colin Christian

    I didn’t like the two jokey geeks,yawn? Who talks like that in real life? Apart from Agents Coulson and Melinda everyone had those plastic soap star faces and speech patterns,the effects were great,I liked the super strong character and the flying car. Pretty much meh,but I will wait around a bit to see if it picks up.

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