“Now we know…they’re among us. Heroes. And monsters.”
I’m pretty much the perfect target audience member for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I love Joss Whedon, I love the people he works with, and I love superheroes. Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen are also involved, who have been collaborating with Joss since Dollhouse.
It starts out with a very meta shot – a little boy in Los Angeles looking at action figures of the Avengers. J. August Richards (Angel) plays his dad, Michael. This quickly changes to a heavy action scene, and we discover that Michael has superpowers. It’s an awesome cold open. Later in the episode, through his character, we get some exploring of what it means to be a hero, which I really liked.
There are quite a few callbacks to Marvel movies that we’ve seen before, and I’m sure I missed some. One of the things I like most in media is worldbuilding, and I see plenty of opportunity for that in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (we even go to Paris, briefly). Coulson, with his “Welcome to level seven” line that we all know by now from the trailers, coincidentally shows up about seven minutes in; I’m glad we didn’t have to wait too long to see his familiar face. There’s another familiar face for longtime Joss Whedon fans who I had no idea was going to be on the show – I don’t think he showed up in any of the trailers, but his presence was a nice surprise (if short).
This episode also introduces us to an anarchist group that opposes S.H.I.E.L.D., Rising Tide. I am not familiar with the Marvel universe outside the movies, for the most part, but this seems to have been created solely for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They don’t seem to be much of a threat to S.H.I.E.L.D. in their present form, but that could definitely not be the case, or change over the course of the series.
There’s a great guest starring role for a Marvel character whom I wasn’t expecting to see, and I hope we get more visits from Marvel characters throughout the series as time and budget permits…maybe they can be on a telescreen or whatever. The snappy, Joss Whedon-style dialogue is definitely there; I laughed out loud quite a few times, and even got a little emotional at the end; typical Joss. Pacing was good as well, even including the expositiony bits for the people who are watching this show but haven’t seen any Marvel movies (all two of them, at this point…) My favorite characters so far are Coulson (of course), Michael, and Skye. Most of the cast is pretty green; it’s great to see some relatively new faces.
I wholeheartedly recommend Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Welcome back to television, Joss and Mutant Enemy!
You can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tuesdays on ABC at 8pm. I can’t wait for the next episode on October 1st.