TV Review: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – Pilot

Written by Alex Bowman September 27, 2013

One of my favorite things of all is my collection of comic books. I am a huge sucker for graphic stories that can weave together worlds containing larger than life spectacles filled to the brim with wonder, intrigue and super-powered individuals with muscles the size of beach balls. Due to my cursed existence of forever remaining a neurotic nerd, I tend to get my Batman undies in a twist when Hollywood decides to board the lazy train and adapt a comic book for the big (or small) screen. “The Avengers” was one of my favorite movies of 2012 so there are few problems there. However, when Joss Whedon stepped up and announced a spin-off series starring the side-character that died in the film I was a little skeptical. Well, colour me surprised because “Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.” was a hit for me and should be seen and enjoyed by everyone, comic fan or not.

“Scary Men in Dark Suits”

The plot for this series revolves around Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), back from the dead, and a team of hand selected agents/fashion magazine models. They will be tasked with completing assignments that will protect the world from other-worldly threats by shooting guns and delivering snappy punch-lines. This episode focuses on S.H.I.E.L.D. setting up the team, establishing potential villains and getting into hi-jinks with a “super-soldier cocktail” that is being tested on humans by EVIL SCIENTISTS!

“Don’t Touch Lola”

Right off the bat, I was extremely sucked into the show. I’m kind of nervous, seeing as how Whedon directed and wrote this episode but is not involved in the rest of the show, We may not see that same charm in later episodes but that will be covered next week. For now, let’s examine why this show works. First, the cast is watchable; besides the annoying yammering of the two teenage British scientists, the rest of the main cast is very engaging. Gregg delivers an incredible performance that is a perfect blend of glib, intimidating, and sympathetic. He is, in my opinion, a brilliant actor who may quickly become a pop culture icon in the months to come. The rest of the cast is pretty decent but I just wished they could have done more with the character Melinda May (Ming-na Wen). This is the actress who played Chun-Li in the “Street Fighter” movie. She kicks a little ass in this show but I’m hoping they let her loose in a few more episodes.

The story is also very engaging for those who have seen “The Avengers” film, but what makes this episode entertaining is the fact that people who have not seen the film can watch it and enjoy it on its own merits. It has funny jokes, great action, unique sci-fi elements and a looming threat that may seem predictable but has yet to be flushed out properly.

“There are two ways we can do this”

Now, this show may seem interesting and enticing, but I feel I should point out some of the errors that may or may not bother you at some points. The special effects for this show are god-awful. I do not like the over-blown CGI that most shows and movies seem to want nowadays and this show is a prime example of such. You will be laughing hysterically at the witty banter between the characters but then immediately start to cringe or roll your eyes at the special effects that would be fitting for a GameCube port. In all seriousness, the effects may not bother you but it drives the sc-fi sub plot forward so it may come off as distracting. Also, I would have liked to have at least some other Marvel things added into the episode that were not just constant references of the film. We get it, this is a spin-off. Don’t be afraid to test the waters here, writers. Throw in a reference to The Fantastic Four, I’m sure you can make it funny.

“Someone really wanted our initials to spell S.H.I.E.L.D.”

The first episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has me more than intrigued and I would really like to see where the show progresses from here. Funny dialogue, great action and a strong cast has all the makings for a great showed birthed from the Marvel-verse. My only criticism for this episode (and hopefully not for the others) is that more elements of Marvel outside of the Avengers film should be used and that they cut back on the CGI wankery.

My Rating: 7.5/10

 

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