Agents of SHIELD 1.6 ‘F.Z.Z.T.’

I’ve been keeping up to date with Agents of SHIELD and have been willing the series to be amazing; in truth, the first few episodes were up and down – there were some flashes of brilliance, some great character development, particularly with Coulson’s story and just why he’s still alive. But there was also something missing, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something just wasn’t clicking. However when I watched episode 6, I felt the series really came into its own.

Revolving around Agent Simmons, the team are investigating the after effects of when a group of people come into contact with a Chitauri helmet. Unfortunately during their investigation, Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) becomes infected with the same virus and it’s a race against time to find a cure for her. Now the show is finding its stride, its focusing on developing all of its characters (not just Skye); before this episode, I really enjoyed the double act of Fitz and Simmons, the science geeks that Coulson recruited. The moment where Coulson realises Simmons is infected is a bittersweet moment; Clark Gregg does a great job at showing the disappointment and hurt in his facial expressions and the way he delivers the ‘I’m so sorry Jemma’.

What this episode does so well is finally bringing the team together, and making the audience care for the characters. When watching this episode it finally clicked that that was what I was missing; apart from Coulson these characters, as a group, were lacking chemistry but now we saw them coming together to try and help one of their own with each character getting a moment to shine. The dynamic between Fitz and Simmons is lovely to see –they have a sibling bond, bickering constantly but knowing what the other is thinking, willing to do anything for each other. Skye is integrating into the group and forming a real bond with Simmons, and even Ward is developing and becoming less grumpy.

We also get some really interesting character development for Coulson, helped along by Melinda May. He refers a few times to some medical tests his doctor’s have ordered for him, and he particularly connects to a fire-fighter in his last moments before his death due to the virus from the Chitauri helmet. We find out at the end of the episode that in fact Coulson ordered the tests himself; he feels something is wrong and he confesses that he feels different. The show has brought a different kind of Coulson than we’re used to in the Marvel cinematic universe, and it’s great to see Gregg be able to flesh out the character. It’s interesting that Coulson can feel he is different and in upcoming episodes, I’m sure that angle will be even further established.

With the show now firmly hitting its stride after a few bum notes, and a full 22 episode series on the horizon, I hope that the show continues to develop even more.

 

Melinda May: Whether it was 8 seconds or 40, you died. There’s no way you can go through a trauma like that and not come out of it changed. You know how long it’s taken me to…

Phil Coulson: I know.

Melinda May: The point of these things is to remind us that… There is no going back, there’s only moving forward. You feel different because you *are* different. (Agents of SHIELD, F.Z.Z.T)

Pilots: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 1.1

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?

Grant: No.

Skye: Oh.

US TV Pilots 2013-2014 Season

US TV Pilots of 2013-2014

The end of spring and the start of summer is a familiar time for many in US television shows – it’s predominately the period where US TV shows air their finales before they go on hiatus over the summer, and it’s the time for pick-ups, cancellations and for new TV pilots to be commissioned. This year was no different, and as I waited patiently for my favourite shows to hopefully get another season (all 5 that I religiously watch got picked up again), I also was intrigued to see what new pilots the major TV networks had in store for us come September. Here are just a few that I’m excited to try:

 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Joss Whedon helps bring Marvel to the small screen in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which also sees Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), come back from the dead. It’s still shrouded in secrecy why and how he is still alive, but the preview already looks great, and it unites two of my favourite things – the Marvel universe and Joss Whedon’s wit and banter.

The Blacklist

This new crime thriller starring James Spader looks brilliant, psychologically intense and with a hint of Criminal Minds and The Mentalist, it looks like it could be a hit

The 100 – midseason

This isn’t appearing until midseason but the trailers are already out for this sci-fi drama and again it looks strong. The CW is perhaps a strange network for this futuristic drama to be put on, but the cast look relatively young and cute so hopefully the network will be good for this show.

Intelligence -midseason

Josh Holloway, best known as Sawyer on Lost is back on out TV screens. I’d say that was a definite reason to watch. Add the involvement of Marg Helgenberger (best known for CSI) and a great storyline and again you’re onto a winner. Sadly this won’t appear til midseason again.

Almost Human

The new J.J. Abram’s TV show starring Karl Urban, it’s based around a future where artificial intelligence helps law enforcement. This starts in November, but has come across some problems recently when its show runner left the project for creative differences. I still have hopes for this though – Karl Urban turns anything into gold.

Dracula

Jonathan Rhys Myers is the latest incarnate of Dracula in this new adaptation of the most famous vampire in this NBC drama. It looks sleek, stylish and has a great cast including Katie McGrath (Merlin).

The Crazy Ones

Robin Williams is finally brought to TV in this new comedy and he’s brought Sarah Michelle Gellar with him! After Gellar’s last show was cancelled after the first season, I’m hoping this goes better for her (I did really like Ringer). It looks alright, I’ll watch purely for Gellar, and hope it’s great.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

The spin-off from Once Upon a Time, this brings us into the world of Wonderland with a bunch of other fairytale characters, and ABC will be hoping that this can generate the same fanbase as the original.

Reign

(trailer starts at about 0.45)

Period drama for the CW which reminds me of Gossip Girl but historical style. It looks okay, I’ll certainly give it a go but it’s not high on my list.

Lucky 7

ABC comedy as a group of people who are in a lottery sweepstake together suddenly win and their lives change forever.

The Tomorrow People

The CW are re-launching this old sci-fi show and it looks really good; the extended trailer is really intriguing and asks questions but answers a lot of them. This is probably one of my top picks – I just really hope it lives up.

Believe –midseason

The child actor for this series looks like a great young talent, and it’s another sci-fi drama for the books. Again this doesn’t start until around midseason so I’ll be looking out for it to start.

Back in the Game

Another ABC comedy, a single mother who moves with her child becomes a coach of a lesser little league team so that all the kids can have a go at playing baseball. It looks funny, the trailer certainly made me chuckle.

Crisis = midseason

Gillian Anderson stars in this tense midseason thriller; a group of young students who all appear to come from important families are kidnapped as families become embroiled in blackmail outside as law enforcement try to figure out who is behind it.

Betrayal

A new drama about a woman who cheats on her husband, which seems to be the least of her worries as she finds out the man she’s been having an affair with will soon be facing off with her husband in a court room. It looks quite good, I’m intrigued by it already.

Welcome to the Family

Fox’s new comedy about two families that are brought together when their children start dating and the young couple become pregnant. Starring Mike O’Malley (Kurt’s dad in Glee) this looks like a funny comedy.

Hostages

CBS drama which sees a family been taking hostage as the baddies attempt to convince a woman who’s operating on the President to kill him, botching the operation in order to save her family. It stars Toni Collette as the surgeon and I’m interested to see how the show will progress.

 

 

Most start within the next week, and I’m going to be a busy bunny, but I’m determined to give these shows at least a go, and hopefully I’ll pick up a few other TV shows to watch.

 

Agent Ward: I’m clearance level 6. I know that Agent Coulson was killed in action, before the battle of New York

Agent Coulson: (walks out) Welcome to Level 7