Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 1: Pilot

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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 1: Pilot

Get MovieBob's fresh, next day impression of last night's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere.

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I enjoyed it. It wasn't great, but it was good enough. I'm hoping that the budget for the first episode wasn't much bigger then the rest of the series, because it looked pretty pricey and the quality of gadgets, set peices and CG might go down. Which would be a shame. I'm hoping for cameos now and again, as well.

Cobie Smulders(?) will probably be in the series more next year if it gets renewed as How I Met Your Mother is done this year, so that may help the show a bit. Here's hoping there are a few cameos now and then as well.

I figure with the 6 or so months between the movie schedule now, the show should be good for a couple seasons or more, as long as they keep in interesting and don't just rely on things like the Chitari(sp?) devices from the Avengers and everyone going all nferno-y ala Iron Man 3. If they bring in some minor, real Marvel characters it should really bump up the show's oomph.

Thought it was a little slow, and i hate the lab techs and the crime scene stuff, they seemed like they were stolen out of ncis were they "are" a character but have none, although i hate ncis.

Was also hoping that August Richards was going to be luke cage so that we could finally get a black superhero from comic book continuity. His powers would be easy to do on a tv budget so i just feel they missed out on that to make up more of their own bland characters. (To my knowledge)

I liked it. Well written and directed. I am inclined to give them a few episodes to really get going. Considering how many rich characters we might have on our hands it could easily take 5 episodes. I am more then willing to give them that time.

There is no saying that Richards couldn't become the Avengers Movie Universe version of Luke Cage. His origin story isn't that far off, and treatments might be able to stabilize his powers, or the removal of the Extremis formula making him unstable. I don't think there is really space for him full time on the team, but it would be interesting to hear about him a few episodes in, and how he's now found a job as a 'hero for hire'.

I have been kind of thinking that Coulson is actually a LMD now for a while. SHIELD has been using them for a long time after all. But the idea of him being upgraded to the AMU's version of Vision I hadn't thought of, and is interesting. The superhero fanboy getting upgraded to a superhero in his own right. A human mind in an android body... It has potential and still fits in with Avengers comic continuity enough.

I knew the flying car had to happen. If Lola didn't fly at some point in the show, I was going to be upset. Fury's flying car was a staple of SHIELD in the 80s...

I had fun with it, but my favourite bit of the whole show was when Brett (is that his name? The big fighter guy) burst into that penthouse to steal the alien technology.

The woman who comes in from the kitchen who just stands there and stares, then walks away, and then a few minutes later when Brett is fighting she has her coat and shoes in hand and just leaves like "Nope!".

I really enjoyed that. I dunno why, I just did.

Only a few more days until it comes out on British TV, glad to hear it sounds like a fun old romp.

Though the mention of a Commissioner Gordon series does have me raising an eyebrow. Not because I think it will be bad, but because we already have something like that in the comics. It was called Gotham Central. And it was awesome. And I want to know why in the name of all the burning hells they aren't just adapting that...

I liked the pilot. However pilot episodes frequently do not accurately reflect the quality of the series. Hopefully the many great shows with terrible pilots don't find a counterpoint in Agents of Shield.

One of the best things the pilot does, and Bob mentions it in his review, is that it only teases the origins of its many characters. Many pilots make the mistake of trying to explain everyone's character too quickly, often in the form of really clunky expository dialogue. In the worst cases characters practically look into the camera and say "this is who I am and here are my motivations and key background info." Characters need to be given time to develop over multiple episodes in order to feel real. Unfortunately most shows don't really have the guarantee of many episodes to work with

One worry I have about the series is that it could potentially ruin what makes Agent Coulson one of my personal favorite characters in the current incarnation of the whole Marvel universe thing. I don't mean him potentially not really being Agent Coulson as is implied. What made him a great character was that he was is just normal guy and acts as an amazing counter balance to the fantastical heroes he deals with on a daily basis. He brings to light some of the background relatively normal boring things that would have to happen in a universe where superheroes exist. One of my favorite scenes of his is in Thor when he confuses the Viking Killer Robot thing as one of Stark's suits and complains "He never tells me anything." He sounds like an office worker annoyed that his coworkers aren't getting their paperwork in on time.

I worry that him being head Cool Badass Superspy Agent of Team Cool Badass Superspy Agents might ruin the "ordinary" quality that Agent Coulson has that makes him, ironically, extraordinary in this universe.

I enjoyed the show, but...

At first I figured "He can't ever know" was a toss off explanation that Coulson was an LMD--Life Model Decoy--but now I'm wondering if the "magical" reference to Coulson's stay in Tahiti (with a therapist who "didn't need to be described") involved...Coulson having become some kind of zombie?!?

This being the Marvel universe and the plan to bring the Rocket Raccoon to a major movie proves they're ready to go hog wild AND considering their plans to have Dr. Strange emerge--possibly with his own movie--it isn't too far fetched to think they'll introduce Marvel magic and the undead this way.

Seriously...this IS Marvel, after all. ^_^

Also I recall how Maria Hill commented that Coulson kept saying he was dead longer and longer. Perhaps that, too, is a clue to his ZOMBIE status? O.O

While that's a nice sentiment, Coulson stopped being that naive agent a couple of movie ago. Like Stark, he's been changes by the events of the movies.

Hey anyone else remember how the Genndy Tartakovsky movie explained how Anakin finally became a Jedi Knight and where General Grievous came from, and Revenge of the Sith picked up where that show left off, leaving a lot of people who didn't see that show cut off from valuable information? Well... here's hoping Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't turn out like that.

...But yeah, the first episode was awesome IMO. I ended up watching the beginning 3 times became my parents kept walking in late and I had to restart for them.

It was good, not great. But it was entertaining so that earns it a slot on the DVR. Hopefully it finds it's groove and we'll be golden.

"Fitzsimmons" made me think of the Luteces from Bioshock Infinite. I wonder if maybe they tried some sort of biotech experiment on themselves.

I am not completely sold that Agent Coulson will turn out to be a LMD robot. It makes sense, but I felt the repeated use of term "magical" hinted at less of sci-fi twist but a magic/fantasy one. However even that seems unlikely because this version of the Marvel universe has largely ditched magic, converting most of the magic things to super advanced technology. Another potential clue was the "It felt like a lot more than 8 minutes" when called out for exaggerating his "near" death story

The ideas that come to mind are that Tahiti was some sort of "heaven" afterlife from which he was resurrected, a computer simulation storage for his mind while a LMD body was made for him, or the more boring false planted memory to cover up either a nasty road to recovery or the robot thing. Or it could be something completely different. Speculation is fun

I liked the pilot. It's kind of a kids show, though. But I'll watch it. It looks like it will be fun.

Silent Protagonist:
I worry that him being head Cool Badass Superspy Agent of Team Cool Badass Superspy Agents might ruin the "ordinary" quality that Agent Coulson has that makes him, ironically, extraordinary in this universe.

If there's one thing that is apparent in the pilot, it's that he's not a badass (at least not in the vein of Fury). He's more in the mold of the bureaucrat with a sense of humor and purpose. The badass is covered in the pair of the combat specialists May and Ward, sufficiently diluted with their lack of interpersonal skills.

Also, my money is on Colson being a clone with memory imprints.

On a side note: the episode plot struck me as something more suited for a 4th or 5th episode rather than a pilot (obvious longer-term antagonist, clear concern about the true nature of the organization, a "John Q. Public" antagonist, kids, etc.). Pilots for sci-fi/action shows tend to be more focused on building the individual characters of the team, which this does, and explain how they got mushed together. The plot for the pilot is pretty much "here's the case," and didn't require the building of the team for it.

But not every launch can be perfect, and this one was serviceable. I'll totally-not-pirate the show and watch as soon as it's uploaded.

This really sounds a lot like Torchwood, where minor characters from the bigger stories do things with new people in a super-secret goverment agency that deals with inhuman threats. I liked Torchwood, although I think it took a while before I could really get into it. Hopefully, Agents of SHIELD will be just as good, and maybe even fill in my craving for more Firefly.

I enjoyed the pilot, except for the 3,000 lbs of flying, red cheese at the end. ;P

I found it fun, but most I can say for the rest of the show is, we shall see.

FogHornG36:
Thought it was a little slow, and i hate the lab techs and the crime scene stuff, they seemed like they were stolen out of ncis were they "are" a character but have none, although i hate ncis.

Was also hoping that August Richards was going to be luke cage so that we could finally get a black superhero from comic book continuity. His powers would be easy to do on a tv budget so i just feel they missed out on that to make up more of their own bland characters. (To my knowledge)

I was so hoping that at the end they'd give him a new identity, they'd give him his ID and he'd say something like "Luke Cage, huh?"
I guess they still could; there's plenty of opportunities to work the character back into the show.

I really liked it, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more. I'm with you especially on the last bit, Bob, on just how much the show will deal with the Fallout of the movies as they happen. Are we gonna see the team go to London and deal with people finding Dark Elf weaponry or something? The possibilities are very exciting!

Silent Protagonist:
I am not completely sold that Agent Coulson will turn out to be a LMD robot. It makes sense, but I felt the repeated use of term "magical" hinted at less of sci-fi twist but a magic/fantasy one. However even that seems unlikely because this version of the Marvel universe has largely ditched magic, converting most of the magic things to super advanced technology.

Perhaps. But with the plan of Doctor Strange becoming the hub in Phase 3 that Iron Man was for Phase 1, I tend to lean to the introduction of magic coming into the marvel TV/movie universe in the future.

I like to keep in mind Arthur C Clarke's third law of prediction: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Marvel could take that idea and run with it. :)

Anyone else think that the characters are rather boring and one-dimensional?

The guy is "the lone wolf who needs to learn the meaning of team", melinda may is "the traumatized", skye is "the fangirl", the engineer dude is "the nerd", the biochemist is "the female nerd" (cant really put her into something), coulson is "the story hook".

However, I REALLY liked coulson's character. Good developement and believable.

The ending bothered me. In the nick of time they were able to create the magical anti-serum-shit saving kinda everyone (and "shooting" peterson, which I did not understand, because the way I understood this, he had himself under control by being calm now. If I am wrong - please explain). And with the way all of the guys were laughing in the end... close up laughing guy #1, close up laughing guy #2, close up laughing chick #1 [...]. In my opinion this was a typical NCIS scene.

The kind of scene that is the reason I don't like NCIS.

(I realize the NCIS comparison has been done before. Also it has been stated before the ending is super cheesy.)

Was entertaining enough to keep watching though.

The 'Night Night' gun was Chekov'd in earlier when they were loading the plane. A project Fitzsimmons had been working on for a while. And then they showed them working on it earlier as a way to bring down Richards non-lethally. I dunno, it seemed like a macguffin that wasn't needed... Couldn't they have just used a taser or tranq dart guns? Those were also SHIELD issue in the comics, as I recall. It could be argued that they didn't know or think ordinary take down methods would work on Richards, with all those super-chemicals in his system.. but the same can be said for the Night Night Gun, plus the fact that it was completely untested and rushed to completion.

And as mentioned, Coulson had already done a very good job of talking Richards down, to the point he was pretty much about to turn himself in when Ward shot him. It seems necessary, and I really would have liked to seen Coulson dress Ward down for taking the shot when he didn't need to.

I do agree with other people though, that this show seems a very strong mix between Men in Black, X-files, NCIS and Warehouse 13, mixed together and dipped in Marvel Universe sauce. And I am totally okay with that, because I love all of those elements separately.

I need some more to be totally sold. The comic fanboy in me isn't seeing enough to not entirely dismiss the show as something given a Marvel comics coat of paint to cover the original series they pitched, but the standard fan likes that original idea, even if it's a bit cliche at this point.

Coulson is kind of a sticking point however. It makes some upcoming plots a bit obvious (of course there's corruption in SHIELD if you need an above accountability group led by your most idealistic agent) as well as the "he can never know" bit, pretty much telling you he will at some point and it won't go over well (begging the question, why did you do whatever in the first place). Being more cynical, I'm going the opposite route: Coulson is Ultron. This episode already had someone nearly become the villain while thinking they're a hero, and as cliche as it is, it makes more sense that Coulson would become disillusioned at learning the full truth about himself and SHIELD and go batshit than a lot of theories about Stark's butler or robot arm.

I don't expect it to happen as movies where you have to have seen a show, or direct to DVD thing don't go over well, but that's my theory.

My guess is that Tahiti code for Valhalla?

Unless I missed ot, this should come wit a spoilers tag Bob

sleeky01:

I like to keep in mind Arthur C Clarke's third law of prediction: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Marvel could take that idea and run with it. :)

I'm pretty sure they already ran with that in Thor. Natalie Portman talks about Thor's magic and he says that in his world there is no difference between science and magic or something to that effect.

Yeah, I was expecting Luke Cage and I'm kinda disappointed that they didn't go there with it (although I don't think he's been released from SHIELD yet so maybe he'll get an alternate identity or something.)

As for the show...seems good enough for now. Not great, not amazing. Just good. Alright. Ok. But this is also the first episode, meaning we'll (hopefully) get to see it grow. I think it has potential.

Also, shout-out to Shepherd Book (don't remember the actor's name) making a cameo as a SHIELD doctor.

Looking forward to episode 2.

EDIT: Also, with Maria Hill running around, you know some shady government antics have to be brewing. And seeing a supernatural show that doesn't go whole hog on government conspiracies is a refreshing change of pace.

The show had me as soon as Coulson said the best line in the episode in the first ten minutes.

'Under 'people skills' she drew a... I think it's a little poop, with knives sticking out of it. That's bad, right?'

Just one nit-pick. Why the different style of shield logos?

image

image

One word: Hovercar!!!

more words;
I liked it, good pace and nice characters. Nice to see that it ties in with the movies and all, that promises good things for the upcoming Marvel roster :D

Consider me hooked. I like this show already because it opens up the world of the MCU by showing it from the perspective of the "normal people" (as normal as you can get for agents of a government agency). I have a wait-and-see attitude to the characters because it's only been the pilot episode and they need room to grow, but I like the banter and antics of "FitzSimmons" and Coulson's just so damn cool. The shout-outs to classic elements from comics S.H.I.E.L.D. are just gravy, and I dare ANYONE to not crack a smile at how Lola the car [spoilers] can freaking fly! [/spoilers]

As for the whole X-Files "Government Conspiracy" vibe going mainstream: I don't know if the X-Files were the first to do that, but the sure made it popular to suspect "da gub'mint" is behind EVERYTHING bad in the world. Soon everyone else jumped on that bandwagon, and this day and age it sounds especially retarded. Conspiretards like the Truthers and anti-vacciners are the Vocal Minority, the small bunch who make up for their lack of numbers by the volume and frequency of their paranoid rants, and I just want them to shut the hell up. If shows, movies, and video games that paint the Government as the bad guy think they're being subversive (when it's more or less the norm now), then the main characters of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being the good guys is subversive in its own right, and I thank them for it.

I've seen a lot of people saying its decent but pretty bland. Judgments on only a pilot count for pretty much nothing though. I hope it develops a serialized story ark and doesn't turn out to be just a standard bad guy of the week show.

Edit after watching:

It was actually pretty good. The jokes were funny and not over used. The plot was good and the characters are better than people say. My point still stands that it may need to be serialized to stay interesting in the long term.

Roggen Bread:
The ending bothered me. In the nick of time they were able to create the magical anti-serum-shit saving kinda everyone (and "shooting" peterson, which I did not understand, because the way I understood this, he had himself under control by being calm now. If I am wrong - please explain).

I doubt that the shot fixed it all. Just knocked Mike out reliably enough that he doesn't explode in the foreseeable future. It was mentioned that calming him down will only delay explosion for couple of minutes. And I don't think they came up with the cure on a spot. So they found a way to temporarily stop extremis from exploding.

MinionJoe:
I enjoyed the pilot, except for the 3,000 lbs of flying, red cheese at the end. ;P

That was the reference to Captain America. Howard Stark promised flying cars and here they are.

Makabriel:
While that's a nice sentiment, Coulson stopped being that naive agent a couple of movie ago. Like Stark, he's been changes by the events of the movies.

I don't think Coulson ever was a naive agent in MCU movies. His behavior is aimed to put people who he is interacting with, at ease. No threat, no ego, no usual loveable jerk behavior etc. He doesn't look exceptional but he gets shit done.
I assume that he, at one point, was more of an active agent like Ward. But he got older and wiser and chose more of a management role instead of a regular soldier.

It seemed like a pilot had been longer, and some stuff got cut out. All of the cheese stayed in. I love cheese, but there was too much of it.

Roggen Bread:
Anyone else think that the characters are rather boring and one-dimensional?

The guy is "the lone wolf who needs to learn the meaning of team", melinda may is "the traumatized", skye is "the fangirl", the engineer dude is "the nerd", the biochemist is "the female nerd" (cant really put her into something), coulson is "the story hook".

However, I REALLY liked coulson's character. Good developement and believable.

The ending bothered me. In the nick of time they were able to create the magical anti-serum-shit saving kinda everyone (and "shooting" peterson, which I did not understand, because the way I understood this, he had himself under control by being calm now. If I am wrong - please explain). And with the way all of the guys were laughing in the end... close up laughing guy #1, close up laughing guy #2, close up laughing chick #1 [...]. In my opinion this was a typical NCIS scene.

The kind of scene that is the reason I don't like NCIS.

(I realize the NCIS comparison has been done before. Also it has been stated before the ending is super cheesy.)

Was entertaining enough to keep watching though.

Yeah this is pretty much my opinion of it, ESPECIALLY the "loner guy with loner pain that would rather disarm a bomb than talk to a person, but surprise the bomb is a person that needs to be talked too"

The twin tech geeks (I know they aren't related, but they have the same skin and hair and accents they might as well be) at least were entertaining enough to hold them up for a whole scene

basically it was a show about coulson and some background characters

to me, it felt like they were still writing these characters for movies, where all the dialog would be interspersed with action scenes and RDJ acting, but since they don't have RDJ or a budget for action, the dialog just doesn't hold attention long enough to work

they'll get it right, I just hope that it lasts long enough for them to fix it

So did anyone else notice Coulson dodging that car door that was thrown at him near the end? The show didn't draw any particular attention to it, it took barely a second, but he demonstrated what seemed like superhuman reflexes and agility there.

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