I’ve always tried to give any new series that catches my attention two things: Benefit of doubt and room for disappointment. That way, I can be as fair as possible in my assessment of it. ABC’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is brought to us by a power house team of geek royalty in Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. looks to be the Disney owned ABC’s biggest hit this year.
As a fan of Whedon’s work and the comic book series, it should come as no surprise that I love the fact that this series even exists. It allows for Marvel Movie Universe subplots to become fully developed and gives us the perspective of the regular non-super powered populace.
Agent Coulson looks pretty spry for a dead guy.
This will be key in maintaining the MMU continuity. On the flip-side, a lot of what went on in this episode will fly over viewers heads if they have not watched both THE AVENGERS and IRON MAN3. It’s smart marketing on Disney/Marvel‘s part, since it drives viewers to invest in watching them.
From the gate, we see Joss’ touch ALL over. The set design of the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet evokes the interior of Serenity from FIREFLY. Then there’s the casting…
Filled with Whedon alumni, the episode, and likely the entire series, will have fanboys and girls a blubber as they see beloved actors grace the small screen again. With his choices of J. August Richards (ANGEL), Ron Glass (FIREFLY) and of course Clark Gregg (THE AVENGERS, THOR, IRON MAN, etc.), Joss may come off as slightly nepotistic, but my inner filmmaker understands. You work with who works well with you. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, or any of the Buffy or Angel gang rolling in every now and then with a cameo as AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D progresses.
So far, the writing holds steady… Mostly. Again, Whedon’s unique speech patterns are splashed about here and there. There are moments with Agent Coulson that poke fun at dramatic TV drama tropes. Damn near breaking the 4th wall, Coulson materializes mysteriously from a dark corner and quips, “Welcome to Level 7. It was dark over there. I couldn’t help myself.”
As long as the writing keeps this up, we are going to enjoy the ride. The ladies are no slouches in the quip department either, with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) educating Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) on the proof of Thor’s god-hood, among other gems. I would have liked to see a fair bit more from Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) but given her intro, she is likely to become indispensable later on.
“I told you, bend your knee!”
The action so far has been middling, but this is all set up for something bigger. Given the hype and the ties to the movies, people might have been expecting the ‘Luke Cage Theory’ to materialize but this proved to be a cock-tease. Or is it? Disappointing, yet not unexpected. Again, the Extremis and Chitauri subplots might throw brand new viewers (see above) but they make sense here. I mean, after an alien invasion is thwarted, what the heck happens to all the tech left behind? It’s not like there is a clean up crew for that sort of thing. This is a key question that will drive story arcs for the future, because the villains practically create themselves, due to the “end up in the wrong hands” film/TV rule.
All in all, the episode sets up its main plot, continues the MMU canon and establishes that the ‘regular joes’ of humanity have valid contributions to make in the upturned world, filled with super powers and alien invaders. Knowing Whedon takes time to gain traction, I will reserve judgement for the most part. But I hope Tancharoen provides the Whedons’ with a kick in the pants to speed things up in the story department.
AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. scans your eyeballs Monday nights at 8pm EST on ABC. Don’t forget to stay tuned to GeekMundo for reviews!