Marvel's Agents Of Shield Review 1.1, Pilot


rating: 4

Well, the long-awaited first episode of ABC's new series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (hereafter called AoS, because I'm already tired of typing periods), has aired. Was it good? Was it bad? What would a non-Whedonite (me), think of it? In a nutshell, I thought it was good, with much to recommend it. The problems that it had were largely stylistic ones and largely brought about because this is, after all, set in a comic book universe. The pilot largely considers the resurrected (or IS he?!), Agent Coulson and his team of misfits as they track down a newly-emerged superhero (an unemployed black man looking for work, who thusly becomes, perhaps, a Hero for Hire?), while a young hacker works behind the scenes to expose...I'm not sure what, actually. There's some noise about the Battle of New York (see: The Avengers), being covered up before anyone could ask questions, but that doesn't really make any sense. And that's about it for the plot, really. The rest of the story is taken up with quips, comments about Tahiti, and some really gorgeous location shooting. Whatever else one may say about this TV show, it certainly isn't being done on the cheap. Now the problems that I have with the show are the ones that I'd have with really any comic book universe show. There's all sorts of "cool for the sake of cool" things on display, like craters in the asphalt when a character hits it, hackers that can erase your whole history with just a few keystrokes on a Hollywood OS, holograms that are probably fifty years beyond our technology and someone picking someone else's pocket by bumping into them; something they do so completely they manage to take just the person's driver's license. A neat trick, since most people keep those in a wallet. But the show displays enough wit and charm (as well as social commentary about the failure of the American Dream), to make me want to keep watching it, and that's a good thing. I'm particularly interested in seeing how this winds up tying into the larger Marvel universe, and with mentions of the Battle of New York, the super-soldier serum, Extremis from Iron Man 3, alien metal, and a guy by the name of Longshot, I'm sure it's going to fit in quite completely; almost, but not quite, to the point where you shouldn't bother watching unless you're caught up on the movies. To be fair, though, if you're in the target audience, you've seen each movie a dozen times. I'm also very curious to hear what the full details are on Agent Coulson's return. The first episode ended with no real clue for what's going to come in the next one, much less what will happen in the rest of the first season. But I will say that I, for one, certainly intend to tune in to find out. This may not have been the best pilot ever, but it does a good job of setting up the stage for better things to come.
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Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at