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Thursday, September 26, 2013

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

Thoughts: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a to live up to. It marks a landmark in television and movie collaboration being Marvel's first TV tie-in into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe that needs to retain the quality of the films that preceded it. It also marks Joss Whedon's return to television. Does the show live up to the extraordinary expectations? Oh yeah, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. delivers everything that was promised and then some. Whedon's humor is present throughout the pilot, as well as an absurd amount of nerdy jokes and references that can make even the most reserved fans giddy. Because a few readers may not have seen the episode yet, my review will have spoiler warning if anything beyond very basic plot points are revealed. However, if you have not seen it, scroll down to the bottom of the page where I have the full episode posted, unfortunately it only works for North American viewers, unless you have a IP changer to make it appear as though you live here. Also, try this link and see if it will work. I am not sure since this is from ABC.

The pilot episode sets up the new team of already likeable characters including fan-favorite, Agent Phil Coulson, who is even more likeable and humorous than before. Just the fact that Clark Gregg will be receiving significantly more screen-time than before is great, but the rest of the show delivers as well. Even though the series has only introduced the audience to a few of the supporting characters, we were given plenty of information to get the basics of who each of them are. Obviously, as the series progresses, more will be revealed about the characters. Although the production value is obviously lower than the movies, the tone was spot on with the movies. Except for the slightly TV look, the Agents of SHIELD captures what made the Avengers amazing, albeit on a small scale. Despite my absurdly high expectations, the episode satisfied me on every level as a fan. However, casual viewers should enjoy the series as well.

*Spoilers*
After the show opens showing how the world has changed since the Battle of New York in the Avengers, it introduces us to new "problem of the week" character, Mike Peterson, a guy that apparently has the powers of super-strength and durability. Peterson is an original character for the series and is not one from the comics, however he does share some similarities with the characters that where given powers by the villain known as The Power Broker.
The lone wolf character of the SHIELD team, Agent Grant Ward, is introduced in a fun action scene that shows off Whedon's tremendous ability to blend multiple tones into a seamless product. Ward actually reminds of the character Jayne Cobb from Firefly in that he is a tough guy that prefers forceful methods, which hilariously clashes with Coulson's more reserved ideals.
Cobie Smulders reprises her role as Maria Hill in a cameo role. Since Smulders' show, "How I Met Your Mother" is in its final season, maybe she will have a more recurring in the series. Also Firefly vet, Ron Glass, makes a brief and welcome appearance as a doctor.
A short dialogue sequence apparently reveals how Coulson survived being "killed" by the "Asgardian Mussolini." However, after Coulson leaves, Hill and Dr. Streiten say something about how Coulson must never discover how he actually survived, so his survival is still a mystery.
Coulson's car, Lola, is revealed to be a flying car at the end of the episode, which is actually just like the flying cars that SHIELD used in the 60s and 70s comics and it was awesome!
There are so many hilarious and memorable scenes and quotes through the episode, which is a trademark of Whedon it would seem. The episode was loaded with references to the other films like the reference to Romanoff's (Black Window) scores in espionage. What surprised me is how many tie-in there are to the movies. The main plot point of the episode included aspects of the Super Soldier Serum, Gamma-rays, Chitauri tech, and Extremis from Iron Man 3. Among the other nerdy things referenced are, Cosplay, Harry Potter, and Terminator, which where very humorous. However, my favorite just might be Skye's quote about great power: "With great power... comes a ton of weird crap that you are not prepared to deal with." When she first started saying the line I was almost shocked that they could the famous line from Spider-Man, but her funny twist made me laugh hysterically.
The only negatives I noticed was Peterson's line, "No, its an origin story," which could have been delivered better by the actor, although breaking the fourth was funny.
*End Spoiler*

While I will go into further detail in a future posts about each character, I say that they where all fun and had chemistry. In short, Skye was funny and likeable, Grant played Coulson's opposite well, Melinda May has a cool mystery about her character, and Fitz and Simmons are fun characters that act like twins with all their techno jargon.

For my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reviews, I am changing my usual review format slightly. Instead of giving actual values to the individual aspects of the series, I will just discuss that aspect.

Action: There was one fun fight scene early in the episode with Grant, and compared to most TV fight scenes, it was very well done. The other brief action scenes where well done, however I doubt this is the best action we are going to see.

Production Value/Special Effects: The special effects are the only drawback to the entire episode. The opening scene looked a little cheap, particularly the superpowered guy climbing the way. Later in the episode however, the effects where much improved, even though they no where close to movie quality, which is to be expected. Also the sets look about on par with that of the other SHIELD things we have seen in the past.

Soundtrack: Although an official soundtrack has yet to be released, I really enjoyed the themes used during the show. They reminded me a little of the Avengers' soundtrack and I want to be able to buy the full soundtrack.

Humor: Joss Whedon is the king of perfectly placed humor and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is no exception; the humor is its strongest asset. There are so many quotable lines in one episode, it is ridiculous!

Note: Since this is the pilot for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and there are no other episodes to compare it to, my rating is compared to other TV pilots, to which Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has no equal.

Overall: 10/10- Despite lower production value than the movies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the making of everything needed for an awesome Joss Whedon TV series. It was hilarious, filled with likeable characters, and had a healthy dose of geeky awesomeness, what more could you ask for in a pilot? Without a doubt, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the best pilot episode of a series I have seen in a long time, maybe ever.

Closing comments: If you have seen the Avengers, have any slight interest in Joss Whedon's work or want watch something immensely entertaining, do yourself a favor and watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Recommended for: Avengers fans, Whedon fans, Everyone, Comic book fans, TV fans, Fan of entertainment,
 
Here is the full episode if you have yet to see it (refresh the page if it is not working). 
 
 
If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

21 comments:

  1. First, THANK YOU FOR POSTING THE EPISODE! I have been hunting desperately all over the internet for it. I was one of those who were convinced Coulson was still alive and when I saw him walk out in the preview I had a fan girl heart attack and went to everyone I knew who said he was dead and had an "I told you so" moment. Best fan moment in my life so far.
    I was worried they wouldn't put the show online and I'd have to wait until it was all out and hope it went on Netflix or something. This makes my life so much better.

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    1. I am glad to do it, please let me know what you of the episode after watching! Haha, that's great; I always like to be right.

      -James

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  2. I really enjoyed the first episode...one of the more promising pilots I have seen in a while.

    Other than some terribad special effects I thought it was superb and I was especially impressed by all the tie ins to the movies. I feel like there is a purpose behind watching the show now since it relates so much to what will happen in the films.

    Now if only DC could do this with Arrow and the Justice League!

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    Replies
    1. That is what I was thinking as well in regards to the movie tie-ins. Hopefully the tie-ins will continue and be referred in the upcoming movies.

      DC is really a house divided, they really can't get their stuff together like Marvel.

      -James

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  3. Personally, I found it kind of weak. The acting was stiff and some of the dialogue was ham fisted. I was watchable but I wasn't blown away like early reviews had lead me to believe. Personally, I'll give it a few weeks to see if it improves.

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    1. Really? Since you are not a Firefly fan I can understand your somewhat dislike of the show.

      -James

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  4. "Sorry, it was a dark corner and I couldn't resist. I think a bulb burned out."

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    1. I loved that part so much, it was hilarious!

      -James

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    2. That was totally my favorite moment too.

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  5. I really enjoyed this episode and I sense It's going to be a really good show! :D I agree, Phil Coulson was even more likable in this episode, and I can't wait to see more of him. I also thought Sky was a cool and funny character, and I like J. August Richards character Mike(I'm hoping to see him again and for Joss Whedon to bring in other actors from his other shows to guest star) and I felt like he did a good job.
    And I agree, I loved all the geeky references(the Spider-Man almost-quote was awesome!).
    Though the comment about cosplay was pretty odd since not everyone who cosplays is a groupie and not all of them are girls(lots of guys cosplay as well).

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    Replies
    1. Agreed, this show is going to be great! :D
      Considering Agent Grant's character, his comment about cosplay actually made sense to me since he is not a geek, and therefore he has a uninformed view of cosplay. Hopefully that makes sense. :)

      -James

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  6. I really really enjoyed this pilot; it had so many fun quotes--the one that stood out was when Coulson stepped out of the dark and Joss Whedon then had him make fun of that stereotypical/dramatic entrance! I laughed so hard!

    My overall favorite part of the whole episode was just getting to see Coulson again and seeing him in action! He's going to make a great TV character and I can't wait to see more of his methods. I was thrilled to see Agent Hill and I can tell they're going to give her some back story which would be really nice. Skye was the only thing that bugged me a little; she was slightly annoying--how the heck can she hack SHIELD anyway? I know, I know, I'm sure there is a lot more to her story but that just bugged me. But other then that, I think we're setup for an exciting show!!!!!!!!! Can't wait for more funny quotes in the future! *Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*

    ~Jamie

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    1. Whedon is the best at making fun of clichés and stereotypes, and that seen made me laugh so hard!

      I know, Coulson was so amazing and exactly what I wanted to see. I doubt we will see much of Hill in this season, until the finale possibly since she is on another show.
      For some reason I really liked Skye; her character was really fun, although I am in the minority.

      Thanks for the long comment!

      -James

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  7. Looks really cool! And I know this sounds irritating but once again it doesn't work.
    Don't worry, I'll eventually see it. And it sound like it is a really good T.V. show! :)

    God Bless,
    Vellvin.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry about that again. :( Hopefully I can find another video that might work. :) You can search for a website named "Couch Tuner" and look for the show on there, Jamie watched it on there actually. Warning though, the website could contain viruses.

      -James

      -James

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    2. Thanks! I'll have to take a look! :)

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  8. I had no idea how much I needed a fix of Whedon-esque humor, and general fun-and-awesomeness until I watched this! I loved it, and am very excited for more episodes -- I think the best is yet to come! My favorite bit was probably the tweaked Spidey quote. Perfect. :D

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    1. I know what you mean and there will be at least 21 more episodes of it! I am not sure if we can this much Whedon-ness! :D That was probably my favorite part too, such a great reference to Spider-Man.

      -James

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  9. I'm thinking I might have to watch it a second time, because my first viewing left me underwhelmed :-( I felt like dear, sweet Coulson wasn't quite strong enough to carry the show, and none of the new agents were particularly compelling. Skye was interesting, and I could grow to really like her. But the character I liked best was Mike Peterson, and much of that was because he was played by J. August Richards, another Wedon alum (he played series regular Gunn on Angel). He was nuanced and intriguing, and naturally, he's not going to be a regular. Grr.

    That being said, I did laugh several times and notice a distinct Joss touch here and there, which was good.

    So... I'm going to watch the next ep or two, and might give this a rewatch to see if it works better for me the second time around.

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  10. Really? I am a little surprised that you did not like it. On the other hand, Whedon is known for having weak pilots. Peterson was a good character, hopefully we will get to see more of him in the future.
    Thanks for the long comment!

    -James

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    1. Yeah, I'm willing to keep watching for a while and see how it goes. Alas, looks like Richards isn't signed on to do more than the pilot, so no more Peterson -- but this is a Whedon show, and if Joss has a habit of bringing characters back time and again, his brother might do that too.

      Delete

One rule: No strong profanity. If you want to link to one of your posts, please do; I am always interested in other reviews and such.

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