Earlier this year it was announced that Marvel was branching into real-life TV as it announced a S.H.I.E.L.D focused program, headed up by none other than fan favourite Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson). Of course for fans of Marvel, they’ll know that Coulson dies during Avengers Assemble, eventually inspiring the Avengers to defeat Loki and unite as a team. It’s probably been one of the most anticipated pilots from this year, and its arrival signals the return of a Joss Whedon show back on our screen. So, did it live up to the hype and just how does Coulson live?
The answer to both is both yes and no. The show is solid enough and shows great promise, introducing us to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D on a day-to-day running. Coulson himself appears around 10 minutes in, emerging from a dark corner in a quite humorous moment. It’s revealed that he died for around 8 seconds, and that Fury lied to the Avengers to inspire them, and that he’s been sunning himself in Tahiti, waiting to get back to work. Is that all true however – no. With one short exchange between Dr. Streiten (guest starring Whedon alumni Ron Glass) and Agent Hill (Colbie Smoulders guest starred in the pilot episode before her filming commitments on How I Met Your Mother) the speculation starts as to exactly what happened; my money at the minute is on robot or clone.
This episode also introduces us to the rest of the team that Coulson puts together through the episode. We have Agent Grant Ward, newly promoted to level 7 just for Coulson’s team; he’s intelligent, great in combat and he seems to have chemistry with Coulson’s newest recruit Skye, a renegade he picks up off the street, who has been trying to track down heroes. She’s a computer hacker, and actress Chloe Bennet carries Whedon’s comedy wit well. Duo Fitz and Simmons are the scientific geeks and even though we didn’t see much of them, they seem to bounce of each other like battling siblings. Melinda May, is the most interesting character for me; she gets recruited as she’s behind a desk doing paperwork, but Ward acts as if he’s met a celebrity when he’s introduced to her. She certainly can kick butt, but just why is she so reluctant to get back into the field? With this being the pilot, none of the characters are particularly fleshed out, but everyone seems plucky and interesting, so hopefully their personalities will grow as the episodes carry on.
The ‘hero’ of the week in this opening episode was another Whedon alumnus – J. August Richards who played Gunn in Angel. In order to be more than just ordinary in order to provide more for his son, his character Mike enters into an experiment that sees him develop superhero powers. His speech towards the end of the episode about how they are not super-men in the world totally works as motivation for his character who just wants to provide for his son. It was lovely to see J. August on my TV screens again as well.
Even though the pilot is written by Joss Whedon, the show will run by his brother Jed and Maurissa Tancharoen who were the previous executive producers of Dollhouse. It has the ability to be standalone from the film series, but also give us some good cameos from some of the stars of the film. Hopefully the show in itself will continue to go from strength to strength and this move to the small screen will prove fruitful.
Grant: Okay there are two ways we can do this
Skye: Oh is one of them the easy way?