Joss Whedon returns to the small screen while expanding the universe he got to join and play in with The Avengers.
As a pilot, the episode is well-crafted, introducing all the characters, both primary and secondary, giving us broad strokes of who they are, and the dynamic and role they’ll fill on the show.
Set after the events of The Avengers, and also, obviously, Iron Man 3, as we see a modification being made to the extremis creation that played a role in Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) latest adventure. It is set in the same universe that Marvel has done so well presenting on the big screen lately, as the Stark Industries signs, and the references to incidents would indicate, but instead of focusing on the major characters seen in the film, we are looking at S.H.I.E.L.D. itself and a small team working inside it.
This team is led by Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), last seen being murdered by Loki (Tom Hiddleston). I know there are some people who are taking issue that he’s still alive, and it discounts the unifying force that brought the Avengers together. But it’s hinted at fairly early as Agent Hill (Colbie Smulders) and Dr. Streiten (Ron Glass) confer, that there is something Coulson doesn’t know about himself, and being the Marvel Universe, I’m willing to bet he’s a clone, or some other artificial creation with all of Coulson’s memories. Something we’ll learn later on for sure.
Coulson recruits loner, Bourne/Bond-type Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), fresh from a mission in Paris, to help him out, as well as Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), an agent with a bit of a mysterious history – why is she working a desk when she was an exemplary field agent? Also on hand are Agents Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) – the scientific brains of the group. And finally by episode’s end they’ve recruited Skye (Chloe Bennet) – a sassy computer genius who was initially running a website about The Rising Tide, a website following the growing number of superheroes and villains.
Skye is witness to a woman’s rescue by the Hooded Hero, Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) and Coulson and his team are keen to track him down especially when he learns that he’s been infused with extremis, alien tech, and a healthy dose of gamma radiation, anything and everything that could create a superhero or villain, collectively known as Operation Centipede (something I have no doubt will rear its head again throughout the series, and no doubt lead to bigger and worse things for our heroes to face).
And while Mike is keen to do right by his son, and get a job to provide for him, he can’t seem to get a break, and as his anger and power grows, he’s getting closer and closer to literally exploding.
The show puts all the pieces on the board, and hints at backstories, and a broader landscape, it’s also fun and engaging, I could have done without the hovering car, but in a world where people can fly, well, I guess it’s not so bad, as long as they don’t use it a lot.
Overall, the show seems to happily feed my comic geek without pandering to it, it also has things I’ve come to expect from Joss, the quips, the beats, some nice action sequences and the sense of fun. This series is positioning itself as fun television, and while the pilot wasn’t super amazing, I’m no doubt going to sit and watch every episode of the series, because it did what it was supposed to do, entertain me, and fit nicely into the larger Marvel universe which I’m already loving.
Hopefully the show does well enough, and creates it’s own life, and won’t just a bonus in-joke filled sidetrip into the Marvel Universe while waiting for the next big screen adventure.
Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Monday nights…
What did you think of it?