Have A Gander At Last Night’s 90-Second AGENTS OF SHIELD Trailer – And Learn What The Critics Make Of Joss Whedon’s Big Tuesday TV Spin-Off!!
New footage from the first three episodes embedded below!
A TV series set in the same Marvel movie universe that houses Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and Nick Fury, ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD” pilot was co-written and directed by Joss Whedon, whose big-screen “Avengers” movie was the highest-grossing motion picture of all time not directed by James Cameron.
Whedon also co-wrote “Toy Story,” “Speed,” “Dr. Horrible,” and “Cabin in the Woods,” and masterminded the acclaimed TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly.”
If all that didn’t gin up enough excitement, the TV show stars Clark Gregg as supervising SHIELD operative Phil Coulson, who seemed to die pretty horribly in “The Avengers.” But in the pilot Coulson attributes his long absence not to the lengthy and difficult process of resurrection, but rather to a restful vacation in Tahiti.
Gregg’s Coulson has been kicking around the on-screen Marvel universe since 2008’s “Iron Man,” and with luck Whedon (who now consults on all of Marvel’s big- and little-screen projects) will wait a good long time before deciding to kill him again.
Cobie Smulders’ SHIELD agent Maria Hill, introduced in “The Avengers,” turns up in tonight’s pilot. (While there are apparently many references to elements introduced in four-color print, Hill may be the only character from the Marvel comic books to find her way tonight into “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”)
The ever-luscious Ming-Na, who was Deb Chen on “ER” almost two decades ago, is also on the team as seasoned badass Melinda May, a pilot and weapons expert reluctant to abandon her backstory-defining SHIELD desk job.
An ongoing mission of Coulson’s covert government team, apparently, is to get to the world’s growing population of superpowered “unregistered gifted” before an organization calling itself Rising Tide can lure them to supervillainy.
The reviews warn us to remember that “SHIELD” is a weekly TV series, and we should expect a budget more in line with episodes of “Firefly” than the $200 million investors poured into “Iron Man 3.”
And, by the way, the “SHIELD” pilot apparently serves as a Stark-free sequel to both “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3.”
... polished, fast-moving and at least moderately entertaining, which is no surprise, given that it was directed by the gifted storyteller Joss Whedon … Mr. Gregg hits the same appealing note of wry authority that he struck in “The Avengers” (it’s not yet clear whether he has any others), and the newcomer Brett Dalton (“Killing Lincoln”) shows some charm as a Bond-style operative. Joss Whedon, meanwhile, has fun with the show’s obligatory jabs of self-awareness. The mishmash nature of the story, strained together from decades of comics, movies and TV shows, is acknowledged when a team member says that the agency’s latest nemesis seems to have been created by throwing into a blender every superhero origin — 1940s serum, gamma radiation, alien artifacts. …
... The pilot is nowhere near as in-your-face as one might think, which is probably a good thing; television can do many things but it cannot out-blockbuster a blockbuster. Whedon seems willing and able to find another, still intriguing but lower-key way. In Gregg's Coulson, he has a superpower adjacent Everyman who may be able to make the television series just as good, in its own way, as the film franchise.
... the show’s pricey-looking pilot caters to both comic book geeks and mainstream viewers with its witty writing and special effects. …
... [expect] the same kind of careful content balance Joss Whedon employed when he wrought "Buffy the Vampire Slayer": Just enough geeky insider stuff to keep the fan-boys from grousing too much, but an even bigger portion of well-written action, drama, humor and intricate plot details to hook viewers who gave up comic books before Steve Canyon was grounded. … The plot summary doesn't begin to do justice to why the show is so appealing. For one thing, you have to experience the dry humor that enlivens the dialogue and keeps it from tumbling over into the pseudo-pompous pronouncement style of lesser fantasy shows. … "S.H.I.E.L.D." is the anti-"Homeland," in a way: It's all about making TV fun again. …
... launches with a plucky, adventuresome and remarkably non-pretentious pilot episode, but if you haven’t been reading Marvel Comics lately (or at all — Stan Lee first dreamed up a S.H.I.E.L.D. story line in 1965), then the show can feel somewhat exclusionary and, frankly, a little too cornball and cutesy about its own geekiness. …
... a terrifically entertaining action-adventure hour that pays dividends for "Avengers" fanboys/girls but isn't so insular that the uninitiated will be baffled. And "SHIELD" is lighter, funnier and more character driven than "Avengers." …
The most-buzzed-about TV show of fall exceeds the hype. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” from “Marvel’s The Avengers” director Joss Whedon (he directed and co-wrote the pilot), soars with eye-popping stunts, dramatic swerves and cheeky dialogue. …
... The pilot suggests an ability to shift from the comedic to the dramatic without much fear of whiplash, which is perfect, as that has been Whedon’s sweet spot since his “Buffy” days. A signal to that balance comes early, with a nice bit of Whedonesque silly business in the introduction of Coulson, whom Gregg plays with wry understatement. …
... Zippy. That's my one-word description of the energetic pilot …
... Anyone familiar with Whedon's TV work will be happy to see some of his best traits on display: the sideways humor that surprises while staying true to plot and character; the efforts to ground the fantasy in real-world emotion; the belief that events in past episodes (and movies) must have repercussions in the present. …
... Purists will no doubt debate whether the device of reviving Coulson is explained satisfactorily, but given what Gregg brings to the party with his wry comedic timing and as the strongest connection to the movies, the impulse can probably be forgiven. …
... has a nice combination of Whedonesque humor and entertaining action. It's a fun hour and calling it "good but not great" has more to do with expectations in the wake of the Marvel movies than anything else. …
8 p.m. Tuesday. ABC.
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