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Unless you’ve been living in a fallout shelter, in a cave, or under a rock for the last month you’ve probably heard about ABC and Marvel’s highly anticipated “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Set after the events of “The Avengers” this is a post-Battle of New York world and much has changed. Does the show live up to the hype? Is Whedon firing on all cylinders? Keep reading to find out!
“AoS” as I will be referring to it from here on out, has some serious expectations set for it and I can happily say it met all of them for me. Now don’t worry, I won’t spoil any major details, and will only try and mention things that were shown in TV spots and the like.
The show starts with a scene that could be from a Bond flick or any spy movie really. S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) is on assignment to recover something, and he pulls it off with style, and almost no hiccups. Ward is highly efficient, with a chip on his shoulder, and a snarky attitude — he’s definitely a Whedon staple. Called in from the field by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders reprising her role from “The Avengers”), he is assigned against his will to a new unit, and given a promotion to Level 7, the highest access in S.H.I.E.L.D. With that promotion, he is introduced to Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, I don’t have to say more do I?) who was thought killed in action.
A quick explanation is given to how Coulson survived “The Avengers” and though it was simple, I was ready to go along with it, partly because Gregg’s delivery of it was just fun. Then Dr. Streiten (Whedon alum Ron Glass) shows up and hits us with the line, “Tahiti? He doesn’t know does he?” To which Agent Hill responds, “No and he never can.” That right there was enough to keep me watching. My bet is on Life Model Decoy with Coulson’s brain anagrams, Virg has money on a clone.
From here on we’re introduced to the rest of the team — brooding veteran agent Melinda May, the pilot with a past and enough skills to lead the team herself, and tech and engineering geniuses Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). After a building explodes and a mysterious man (guest star J. August Richards, “Angel”) saves a woman from the fire, a hacker and would be anarchist named Skye (Chloe Bennet) records it on her phone. A genius hacker, Skye knows all about S.H.I.E.L.D and is trying to expose them and the existence of other heroes to the world. Ambitious but misguided, she’s jumped head first into this world without knowing what that fully means.
“AoS” is full of some very cool gadgets and tech, as well as decent acting. The story is basically a set up for what’s to come, with hints to a bigger enemy in the background. All the actors do well in their roles, with Coulson, Ward, and Skye getting the most screen time this episode. Future episodes will have to build up these characters, and they’ve done a wonderful job of intriguing me so far. I really want to know why May was so against returning to the field, or the family issues that were mentioned about Ward. I love the way Fitz and Simmons have a sort of sibling relationship, and that they have a short hand, almost finishing each other’s thoughts. Coulson’s dry humor remains a high point, and his interaction with the other agents works well, but again one of the main reasons to watch is finding out what exactly happened to him.
What I like most about this show, and will be looking forward to, is how well it interweaves with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “AoS” is very much connected to that world, and is as up to date as “Iron Man 3.” There were mentions of the Battle of New York, all of the major Avengers, events from “Iron Man 3″ and more. For the true geeks, there were tons of Easter Eggs, and nods like Coulson’s flying car (Nick Fury had one back in the day) which also evoked the scene at Stark Expo from “Captain America”. Agent Simmons also asks Agent Ward if he’s joining their “Journey into Mystery,” the title of the book where Thor first appeared. There are a few more if you really pay attention.
All in all, “AoS” was a fun, entertaining pilot that whets the appetite for more to come. They really can do a lot with this show and the set up they have. Cameos would be easy, and the actors love the characters. Hell, Samuel L. Jackson said himself he’d be willing to do just a voice cameo ala “Charlie’s Angels”, which I could easily see. This would also be a great place to debut smaller street level heroes.
“AoS” hit the ground running, and I can’t wait to see where the season leads.