Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – Pilot Review

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The pilot episode of the latest series from Joss Whedon set in the Marvel universe is awesome. Now follows a lot more words that will tell you that.

Last year a strange smell filled the air, a strong nauseous smell that had many suddenly thinking of Robbie Williams, Olly Murs and Will Wheaton. This was the smell of smug. Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assembled hit cinemas to huge financial and critical success and those that had loved Buffy, cried at Angel, sang along to blogs, realised that they could potentially fight crime with their schizophrenia or had purchased brown coats and whispered en masse ‘I told you so’, causing the warm smuggy cloud to cover the earth.

Joss had been heading in the direction of Chris Carter (the man behind X Files) as a potential one/two hit wonder. A fantastic story teller that pleased a niche and passionate audience but wasn’t making the big bucks that would cause Hollywood types to take a gamble on him. After making a film that grossed over $1.46 billion, things are a little different now. This weekend we were lucky enough to see the pilot episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D the spin off television series for the Marvel cinematic universe headed up by Joss.

The opening episode sets up how the world is coping after the events of Avengers Assembled. Gods and aliens are real which has fundamentally changed how people view what’s around them and made some extremely paranoid of what secrets the government is keeping. Agent Coulson has been tasked (yes he’s back, yes he died, no it’s not a spoiler it was in the trailer, no it’s not explained in this episode…sort of) with creating a team to find those that have gained powers beyond the normal and protect them from themselves or those that want to use them for harm. And what an awesome and stunningly beautiful team he gathers.

Joss’s trick of making instantly likeable characters is in full play here. Those that were fans of Willow, Topher or Fred will instantly fall in love with Skye, a mystery rebel with a special interest in those with powers. The double team of scientists Fitz and Simmons, tech and biology specialists are an incredible example of how Joss can find actors that have amazing chemistry, they end each others sentences talk over one another and will be an instant fan favourite, it also helps that Iain De Caestecker who plays Fitz is more than a little bit pretty.

The main cast is rounded off with the Grant played by the too handsome for words Brett Dalton a non team playing action hero type, who, although having a fantastic opening sequence is probably the least interesting of the team. Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May is the final reluctant member to join, although she isn’t given much to do in this episode apart from look sullen and then kick the shit out of someone. Knowing how Joss Whedon writes strong independent woman we imagine good things are to come. Oh, yeah, there are a few surprise guests, we aren’t telling you who, but they made the audience erupt more than once.

As for the story there isn’t much we can say without ruining what is truly a fast paced, funny, action filled delight. The plot revolves around the character played perfectly by J August Richard, a down on his luck dad trying to cope the best he can with a family life that’s gone to shit and a world where super heroes now make him feel as though being a good man just isn’t enough. That’s all we’re saying. There is more than one nod to the larger Marvel universe and a bundle ton of hints of what’s to come. We can’t wait till September when the series starts!

Three things to look forward to:

– A French lady’s reaction to an aggressive fight

– The best interrogation scene

– A nod to the new mother of Marvel, Disney

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D starts on ABC 24 September.

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