- Directed by Joss Whedon
- Written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen
Watch ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ live on ABC, Tuesdays @ 8/7c and in the UK on Channel 4, Fridays @ 8.
BEWARE OF SPOILERS
So rather than watch the show direct from the USA I was a good boy this week and waited for the Friday night UK premiere to watch ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ as hit US shows finally find themselves screening shortly after their home screenings.
There’s no doubt about the huge amount of pressure on Whedon, Marvel and ABC to recreate the success of the Avengers movie on the small screen and judging by the press releases touting ‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ as the highest rated drama premiere in four years then that level of success has essentially been reached, although the true test may come next week to see if the audience comes back for a second round.
The question is whether this show could hold up to the scrutiny of those who felt that ‘Avengers’ (‘Avengers Assemble’) was lacking in character moments around all the action. Does it? Kinda.
I can,t lie I had a similar feeling of coldness after watching this pilot however there was an undeniable cool factor and a good premise which will hopefully develop in to the show we’re all dying to see.
The production values of this show are massive in comparison to other shows. There’s an international aspect to this show that the ‘Avengers’ movie did not which is a great breath of fresh air. The sets on ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ are also brilliantly designed and decorated and add to the movie-like quality of the show.
As an overall feeling watching this pilot feels very much like watching ‘Avengers’ just with added commercial breaks and that is a massive success for all involved. The hoped for continued success of ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ will hopefully further cement Whedon as a god amongst geeks but also herald in a new era of quality programming which is given the proper budget and time to craft itself in to a success in a market where shows arrive and exit in a matter of weeks.
The story of the pilot perfectly humanises the world of superheroes in the character of Mike (J. August Richards) who only found himself on his villainous path by wanting to be a hero to his son. It’s classic Whedon and part of what was missing from the film. The characterisation of Mike actually exceeds the way that some of the main characters are setup in this episode which is the only downside.
This brings me to the downside: the characters. As a group brought together in the hunt for Mike the S.H.I.E.L.D. team work well and there’s the right amount of shady secrets amongst them to spin out a good few mysteries as the season progresses but individually apart from Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the brief appearance by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) there’s not a huge amount of like ability to the crew.
I wouldn’t single out any of the actors as giving a bad performance, that didn’t seem to be an issue at any point during the pilot, it was more that there wasn’t a massive amount of room in the script to do more than introduce each of the major players. What needs to happen in the following weeks is to make sure to give proper screen time to each other them around the story of the week to allow the to grow and become fully formed characters.
There’s a huge spectacle element to ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ but it would be all too easy to get lost in the spectacle and lose sight of the human element. Thankfully with somebody like Whedon taking up the reigns that shouldn’t happen.
Outside of the story the special effects, cinematography and basically every other aspect of the show is perfectly executed. It is as faultless as the ‘Avengers’ movie and thankfully shows off that Whedon has learnt from the criticism of the movie and made sure to push the focus back towards the human element that has been the overwhelming success in all his previous ventures.
Well worth a watch.