Pilot Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Pilot Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is good, but too familiar.

Let me start this review off by stating how much I loved The Avengers movie (read my review here). In my opinion, it was very nearly perfect. So, obviously, I had high expectations going into the pilot of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series. Unfortunately, I don’t think those expectations have been met, at least not with the pilot episode. However, as this is a Joss Whedon venue, I think the series might not really pick up for me until a few episodes in (that seems to usually be the case).

First, we’ll start with the good. For me, this show is all about Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. And if I don’t watch this series for anything else, it will be for him. Coulson has escaped death (and the exact details of that remain mysterious) and is back, as funny and unconventional as ever. Gregg literally makes this series watchable and you want to see him on the screen during the whole hour that an episode runs. He’s just awesome. The other actors are good, too, though. I especially like the quirky tech team of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), who get so caught up in their technobabble that much of their dialogue gets lost in a clueless “huh?” I loved that, obviously. The actors playing these characters are quick and clever. What’s not to love?

Now let’s discuss the characters. I’m a little disappointed at the rest because they really are the usual stereotypes. There’s nothing new here. You’ve got the down-on-his-luck misguided hero who the agency has to rescue from himself. There’s the hacker girl with a heart of gold who ends up joining the team. There’s the agent who doesn’t want to go out in the field again because something bad happened in the past. There’s the slick handsome guy who thinks he’s James Bond. Even my beloved tech team seem a little stereotyped, but at least that was split into two characters. These characters feel as if they were taken from any of a number of TV shows or films and there’s nothing really new about them.

This leads to the familiarity of the series. If you watched Syfy’s Alphas, a lot of this first episode is going to seem similar, although the plot itself seems to have been stolen from Iron Man 3 (seriously, they couldn’t come up with something different here?). Alphas, however, was an unsung series that, in my opinion, handled this sort of storyline a lot better.

My issues with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aside, I will keep watching. Not just for Gregg, but because I know that sometimes Whedon just needs to get all the introductory stuff out of the way first before really delving into the heart of the story. I’m not going to say don’t watch this one, because it’s still quite good, but definitely go into the pilot with lower expectations and expect this episode to be rather formulaic.

6 thoughts on “Pilot Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

  • September 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Pretty much the entire cast is yawntastic. Sadly the most interesting character/actor is the guest star. Fritz and Simmons are mostly the geeky europeans there just so you know where and why there was that big stupid gun at the end. (In Knight Rider terms – they’re Bonnie. In Star Trek terms they’re Spock or Data but not nearly as interesting. )

    I dunno this whole show is one that it’s kinda a mess but everyone really really wants it to succeed cause it’s Joss Whedon.

    • September 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      That’s it exactly. It almost feels like Whedon isn’t really trying hard enough here. Admittedly, it took me nearly a season to get into Buffy, but as this is on network television, they might not give it a full season if interest wanes, Joss Whedon or not.

  • September 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I’m glad someone else enjoyed Fitz-Simmons, they’re a lot of fun. Though I get what you’re saying, did you read the EW interview with Whedon? Here’s a bit…

    “[ABC] gave me a ton of notes. We’ve jumped through every hoop. There’s no trust in television. But there’s been nothing but encouragement and excitement about what exactly you’re trying to do. So you take the notes. You don’t take all of them. But you never walk in expecting not to get any.”

    In other words, I guarantee there were way too many chefs in the kitchen to let Joss do his thing. Overall, it was an exciting and fun Pilot… Like you say, the next few episodes will kick it up a notch. It must be tough trying to be a creative person (and writer) with the suits telling you how to do your job. You know?

    • September 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      I hadn’t read that interview (going to go Google it now), but that seems about right from what I saw last night. Joss has so much power now, though, that he could have shopped the series to any network (including cable networks). I am hoping that the rest of the series picks up and that there’s more to the overall plot. Otherwise, this is just a re-hashed version of Alphas, which had a much more compelling cast. But I’ll watch just for Coulson. Because I adore him.

      • September 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        It feels way to much like a network show. Which is to say clunky with trying to tick a bunch of boxes that really didn’t need to be ticked.

        Question now is which character that we already don’t care about will turn out to be *token of the moment*

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