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

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The wait has been a long one, but the time has finally come for the premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And what a premiere it was.

Created by Joss Whedon of Buffy and Firefly fame, S.H.I.E.L.D‘s pilot episode was an excitable action-packed fifty minutes – one of the most fun-filled pilots I’ve seen in awhile. With how well-rounded it was, I felt like I was watching a full fledged film rather than an episode of a TV show.

The first half of the episode was dedicated to bringing the team – consisting of Resurrected Fan Favorite Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), Badass “Bus” Driver Agent Melinda May (Ming Na Wen), Science Bros Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge), Snarky Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), and Hacker Extraordinaire Skye (Chloe Bennet) – together.

The latter half focused on the team working alongside each other, near seamlessly (perhaps too seamlessly, considering this was their first mission together and several of the team members haven’t been in the field for a long time… or ever) to contain a rogue serum-powered superhero Mike Peterson, played by J. August Richards.

S.H.I.E.L.D. has quite a lot of colorful characters, but the pilot does its best at giving a decent amount of spotlight and balance among them all, resulting in an entertaining, interesting, and likable crew.

While Agent Ward outlines the organization’s acronym to mean Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, to me it seems more like the “E” in S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for “exposition.” As always, I get the need to summarize things for the audience, but that doesn’t make it feel any less weird for a character to spend a chunk of time describing the last thirty minutes of The Avengers to a room full of people who already lived through all that.

ming-naThere was also a lot of overly cheesy dialogue and voice over, some of which literally had me eye-rolling. If you can get past the dairy product, though, this could be viewed as a positive; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely not the type of show to be taking itself too seriously.

It’s meant to have its unbelievable moments and ridiculous lines, and if you find yourself laughing at it all, it’s probably right there laughing with you. That particular brand of quirky humor I’ve come to associate with Whedon’s shows was sprinkled in nicely throughout scenes.

After all that hilarity, the emotional punch of Mike Peterson’s final monologue hit me totally out of the blue, in what I found to be an inspired bit of writing and acting. It’s the kind of speech that I see resonating with quite a lot of people – it certainly had an emotional effect on me.

In the end, it’s Agent Coulson that shows up as the Big Damn Hero, talking down a broken-hearted and angered Mike and refusing to accept any end result other than a happy one, where everyone lives to fight another day. After such an enjoyable episode, I really hope that these agents stick around to fight for a long, long time.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays on ABC at 8PM.