After what seemed like ages — especially for those of us who knew that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was going to become a TV series immediately after The Avengers debuted in theaters — the show finally debuted on ABC yesterday, and I must admit that I am very pleasantly pleased with what I saw. I mean, oh my stars and garters, that was an amazing show – especially if you are a Marvel “True Believer” like I am. Just like all of the Marvel films that take place in the Cinematic Universe, there is a shared continuity here, and anyone who sees the opening scenes of the show will pick up on that. With scenes from The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, three Iron Man films and even The Avengers peppering S.H.I.E.L.D. screens throughout the pilot episode, this is just another way of bringing more Marvel to the fans who have been demanding it.
To tell you about the story without giving up too much, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. picks up sometime after the events of The Avengers with Agents Maria Hill (a cameo appearance by Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) putting together a field team to handle what seems to be a growing population of new “gifted” people popping up all over the country – and the world. Agents Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) are assigned to the team that also includes the backup team of Fitz-Simmons – oddly enough comprised of Agents Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). While during the parameters of their first mission, they also happen upon a hacker/conspiracy theorist calling herself Skye (Chloe Bennet) who ends up joining the team and helping them find other individuals from a different perspective than the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are accustomed to. In the end, the help save the life of a new “Super” (J. August Richards) and are introduced to a potentially dangerous and shadowy antagonist group.
There are definitely some questions raised in the first episode that have left me wondering just where the show is going. Most important of all: how is Agent Coulson still alive after his apparent death in The Avengers? I know they try to explain it away in the pilot, but the quick conversation between Agent Hill and Dr. Streiten (Ron Glass) during the opening sequence suggest that there is something much more than him being miraculous revived — and I have a theory on that, which I will share with you after next week’s episode. The other question raised is just who are the group that the team will go up against during the season and do they want? We know they call themselves the Rising Tide, and that Skye was (kinda) working with them on some level – though I don’t think that she was and the name she worked under just coincidentally and unfortunately were similar. Honestly, a secret team of scientist who also have stolen or found Chitauri tech smells like either A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) or even Hydra, who we haven’t seen since Captain America: The First Avenger.
Another question raised in the episode is what exactly is the past of Agent Melinda May? There is something about her that makes her a legend in S.H.I.E.L.D. as evidenced by Agent Ward’s reaction to seeing her on the team. I wonder just what happened in her character’s past that made her known to other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and also put her behind a desk. The last question raised by the episode was just what importance Skye will play on the overall team Coulson put together? She was able to hide herself from S.H.I.E.L.D. for an unspecified amount of time, she hacked S.H.I.E.L.D. with “a laptop she won” and she hid something on herself… well, watch the episode to see that – but there are definite questions raised by her involvement with the team. Personally, I am loving how the first episode set up the season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with enough mystery to make viewers come back to it.
Marvel continuity and mysteries aside, I love how this episode feels like Joss Whedon. There are a few appearances from past Whedon collaborators (Richards and Glass), it has his signature sense of humor throughout the episode (“With great power comes… a ton of weird crap that you are not prepared to deal with.”) and there a number of references to Marvel’s comic book history.
Like this one between Agent Simmons to Agent Ward. “So are you excited to be coming on our Journey into Mystery?” For those of you who are Marvel fans and historian, this was a nod to the comic book title in which Thor made his debut in 1962. The entire pilot episode is full of “Whedon-esque” bits. It makes it really feel like an organic extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Avengers most of all.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just as exciting and fantastic as I hoped it would be. This is one of the best debut episodes I have ever seen and definitely one of the better comic book related premieres. Seeing what the cast and crew have presented to viewers in the pilot episode, I can’t wait to see what other Tales of Suspense they have in store for us as the season progresses. If it is anything like this episode, I am sure that this series will be nothing short than an Amazing Fantasy. Okay, enough Marvel Comics references… but seriously, this looks like it may be the “must see” series this season for any and all comic book fans out there. A+