Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pilot Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Premiered September 24 at 8pm

I’d rank this as the fall pilot I was most excited to watch, and I have to admit that I’m disappointed. I got so caught up in the Marvel universe and the world of the Avengers, and I forgot to consider the fact that this show might be truly hokey. There’s a disconnect between the Agent Phil Coulson of the movies, who truly was cool, and the one featured in this show, who goes on talking much longer than he should and turns what could be serious moments into jokes. The bigger problem is the team, which right now lacks a grounding force. Brett Dalton’s Agent Grant Ward is too cocky and unwilling to let anyone else measure up to his standards, while Ming-Na Wen’s Agent Melinda May exhibits the same sense of superiority without the social skills. Fitz-Simmons is a funnier concept, and though they’re impossibly awkward, they do work together well. Chloe Bennet, last seen as Hailey on “Nashville,” is given too prominent a spotlight in this hour, and Skye manages to ascend to a level of access and intelligence far beyond what would make any logical sense given that all her efforts to that point had been spent on trying to take down S.H.I.E.L.D. and expose it for the shadowy government organization it was. I had wanted this to be something like Syfy’s cancelled-too-soon “Alphas,” a smart and dramatic take on superheroes in our midst, and instead it’s a mix of the overzealous and underdeveloped universe of “Heroes” and the childish comic-book idealism of “No Ordinary Family.” I’d love for this to be an awesome show about finding superheroes and stopping supervillains, but this is not what I signed up for.

How will it work as a series? The agents have some pretty distinctive personalities, and so I think their interactions and, more importantly, their backstories, will play just as much of a central role in the show’s weekly events as its episodic guest stars. It might actually be pretty fun, but this start was underwhelming.
How long will it last? ABC was hoping for juggernaut audiences for this show, and, thus far, it got them. It netted the best series premiere ratings for the network since “V” in 2009, and I suspect the week-to-week retention will be better here given the massive network of movies associated with it. This will likely be the first broadcast renewal of the season, and it could come soon too.

Pilot grade: B-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More Lena and more Avi would be an added bonus for an already A+ show!