S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Up!: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Pilot

SHIELD-castThe wait is over Evil Geek Nation!  After what seems like forever, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has finally premiered and naturally the Evil Geeks are all over it.  Banking on the popularity and success of The Avengers, Disney, Marvel Studios, and Joss Whedon got right to business on assembling a SHIELD TV show.  With fanboys and girls across the internet so ready and willing to tear apart anything not true to a property’s original comic origins, it’s an understatement to say that the pressure was on for this show to be a hit.   Would it be as good as the Avengers? Can Joss Whedon produce another long running, amazingly written vehicle like Buffy or Angel or will the curse of the brilliant, but cancelled too soon Firefly return?  Was that Luke F-ING Cage I just saw in the trailer?!?!?!  Just how exactly is Agent Coulson still alive??? So, so, many questions to answer and so, so, so many expectations to meet (and presumably the fate of an armada of other possible comic related TV shows hoping for the success of this show), can a Marvel show with no superheroes still reel in an audience? C-Mart’s here to let you know the answers to some of those mysteries!

20130511061034!Agents_of_SHIELD_logoAs I’m writing this, it’s been less than 5 minutes than the end of the show and overall I’m extremely impressed with what I’ve just seen. Some of the elements I thought weren’t going to work, actually played well once I saw it on-screen.  The biggest plot point that I, and probably about 99% of Marvel fandom, thought wouldn’t work was the presence of Agent Coulson.  When we last saw Phil, he was getting up close and personal with the business end of Loki’s Infinity Gem stick.  We all saw him die. Dead. Finito. Kaput.  It was the event that finally brought the Avengers together as a team. Nick Fury even went so far as to loot Coulson’s corpse to get his hands on his prized Captain America trading cards, probably so he could fashion a cool looking one into a sweet new eye patch.  I’m not a professional comic grader, but I think the fact that those cards are drenched in blood just might bring down to about a 6.2.  Unless you’re bartering with a Satanist though. They usually pay extra for anything blood soaked.  Anyway back to the issue at hand: how the bloody F-ing hell is Coulson alive?!?!  Well, if you believe Coulson. then his story is “Hey, I didn’t die!”.  He was technically dead for a few seconds, but he was brought back and managed to survive.  It would appear though that Coulson, unbeknownst to himself, isn’t actually Coulson.  Whedon alum from back in the Firefly days, Ron Glass, shows up for a chat with Maria Hill in which he hints that Coulson’s story about recovering in Tahiti is a sham and even Coulson doesn’t know that.  I’m putting my money on the fact that the real Coulson did die at the hands of Loki and that the Coulson walking around now is an LMD, which is really cool in my opinion.  I find it way more plausible that an agency with technology as advanced as SHIELD’s has a robot that looks like a human than the whole “Nope, Coulson didn’t die” story.

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The plot of the show revolves around Coulson, who is charged with the task of assembling a team of humans to deal with superhero related threats not serious enough for the Avengers to handle. They’re essentially the B-Team to the Avengers A-Team.  Their first case revolves around a man named Mike Peterson, played by another Whedon alum J August Richards, best know as Vampire/Demon/Monster hunter Charles Gunn on Angel.  Mike is filmed rescuing a woman from a building explosion by leaping out of a window on the top floor.  After saving the woman, he disappears, without sticking around to be thanked for the heroic deed.  Just like Coulson being back from the dead, don’t always believe what you see.  Mike is wearing a device that gives ordinary people super powers, by recreating every lab accident, industrial mishap, or irradiated animal bite that might result in someone getting superpowers.  Unfortunately for Mike, the device also incorporates Aldrich Killian’s Extremis Technology, first glanced in Iron Man 3, and that basically means he’s going to explode at some point. The device is a response to the world finding out about the existence of not only superheroes, but inter-dimensional aliens as well.  How can a normal human being compete with gods and monsters? The device was developed to allow normal humans to even the odds with these powerful new beings.  In a way the story line is a comment on the general public’s fascination with celebrities and the public’s tendency to imitate them.  We live in a world where people are buying clothes, crap, and junk they don’t need and can’t afford, just because they saw some celeb on TV using or endorsing it.  People go to great lengths to imitate their favorite stars, so wouldn’t it be a logical step for people to worship and imitate superheroes if they found out they were real.  Mike wants to be strong and durable so he can go back to his factory job and in turn feed his son.  He doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero to his son, he needs a plain, everyday, normal job. However, because he’s seen superheroes out there using their impressive powers, he’s stuck chasing after those same powers even though they will eventually kill him.  He doesn’t need it, and he can’t afford to pay the physical price.

shhh

In this first episode we’re also introduced to who will probably the main baddie of the show and that is the terrorist organization known as The Rising Tide.  They seem to be pulling the strings from behind the scenes on many of the events that SHIELD is investigating, so I have a feeling that later on in the season we’re going to find out that The Rising tide is actually a front for Hydra or AIM.

ent-130514-abc-agents-of-shieldjpg-b6d3fd349a4b597bAfter viewing only the first episode of the show, I’m pretty sure I’ll be a regular weekly viewer.  Aside from the fact that it’s set in the Marvel Cinematic U, it’s a Joss Whedon show.  That alone is enough to reel me into regular viewing.  SHIELD certainly has the feel of a Whedon show; the snappy dialogue, the team of good guys with varying talents and personalities, and a big bad lurking somewhere menacingly in the background.  At the same time though, it’s a much different beast than the Whedon shows we’ve known in the past.  It’s clear that this show has a much bigger budget than any of his past ventures.  I see that as a double edge sword though; while the high-priced special effects and expensive looking sets make for a cool looking show, it’s also likely that a show with such a high budget will immediately get the axe once it’s ratings dip.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed though because I think SHIELD will be a perfect companion to the Marvel movie universe.  We’ll be breaking down episodes every week, so make sure to stop back real soon for more Marvel goodness.  In the meantime, head over to the official Agents of SHIELD website for more info.

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About C-Mart

A true Marvel Zombie, die-hard George Romero fan, Star Wars addict, Whovian, and life-long gamer. I make with the Tweets @CMart0979

Posted on September 25, 2013, in Geekology, Reviews, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Up!, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Love the review! I originally thought that the Phil we saw get shanked by Loki was a LMD, but when Hill said “he can never know,” I realized I had it backwards.
    Just an echo, but I loved all the references, they made the show so much more fun. And I am really looking forward possible future Avenger appearances from the Marvel movies universe. I would love to see Black Widow or Hawkeye show up for an episode, not to mention a cameo from Stan Lee.

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    • Thanks Emory! I agree about the references; they remind us that the show exists in a universe that already exists and is familiar to us. It gives the show an incredibly deep backstory, even before we’ve seen all of the first episode. Stan Lee is a MUST for the show! It’s a Marvel Cinematic U project, he’s required to be at least a bystander in one episode.

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  2. I went with clone, but your idea makes more sense… in fact, I was talking about that at work and totally forgot by the time I wrote my review… whoops. haha, I really enjoyed the references to the current Marvel Universe without relying on the big names too much. Also, I’m checking the blogs and enjoying the different takes from bloggers on the whole “It used to be enough to be a man..” dialogue. great review, very interesting.

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    • Thanks Brit! I dug the Marvel U references too. I knew they’d use the Avengers as a reference point, but I liked the Iron Man 3 Extremis references too, that was unexpected. Did anyone else notice Stark Tower in the NY skyline too?!?! That was cool. Coulson could very well be a clone, but since this is SHIELD we’re talking, I’m almost certain he’s an LMD.

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  3. I really, really, really hope that they include HYDRA! Possibly make The Rising Tide a sub-organization of it or something! Simply because you can’t really have SHIELD without HYDRA…it’s like Wolverine without the claws…wait, didn’t FOX try to do that. But this is Whedon and Disney/Marvel, so I have faith!!!!

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