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.
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.
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).
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