Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD S1E1: "Pilot" – Review

Without a doubt, the new series that I was most excited for this fall was Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. In September, I was counting down the days until the show premiered. I pre-ordered the SHIELD agent badge and ID for New York Comic Con. September 24 could not get here soon enough.

My expectations were high. I started to worry that they might be too high. What if this Agents of SHIELD series turned out to be a train wreck like the 1999 David Hasselhoff Nick Fury made-for-TV movie?

Never forget.
On second thought, forget. For the love of all that is good, forget!

Tuesday, 9/24, 20:00 hours arrived. I was bolted to my seat at 19:57.

This was the pilot episode? Aren’t pilot episodes supposed to suck? This was awesome! Marvel/Disney is definitely giving them the budget they need. Thanks to the budget, the show fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe not just in story, but in style too.

While the SHIELD agents don’t have superpowers, I’m very happy that the show will feature people with powers. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hoped that the super strong character that turned out to be Michael Peterson was in fact Luke Cage. Michael Peterson on the show and Luke Cage in the comics come to their powers through similar means. Maybe since Skye wiped Michael from every database we’ll see him reemerge with Luke Cage as his new alias.

Not Luke Cage…yet.

Let’s talk about Coulson for a minute. There’s definitely more to his return from death than it being all a set up by Fury to fool the Avengers into forming and that Coulson was cooling his jets in Tahiti. Dr. Streiten (Ron Glass! Shepherd! Yes!) and Maria Hill basically say as much when Coulson leaves them. Streiten is surprised Coulson still believes the Tahiti story and Hill counters that Coulson can never find out the truth. I think Coulson has definitely been completely lied to. I don’t think his death in Avengers was planned in advance. Life Model Decoys were mentioned in the Avengers movie, making me believe that this Coulson we’re seeing today is a Life Model Decoy that’s been programmed with the original Phil Coulson’s brain patterns. For those of you unfamiliar with the Marvel comics from which Agents of SHIELD is based, a Life Model Decoy, or LMD for short, is basically a very advanced android that looks, sounds and feels like the real person, but is in fact a robot. Think of it as half clone-half robotic decoy. For you Battlestar Galactica fans, Coulson is basically a toaster now. Or at least, that’s my theory. Whatever the explanation turns out to be, I’m glad Clark Gregg is a part of this show.

Everyone who is still human, take a seat. Not so fast, Coulson!

One quick thought on Maria Hill: With How I Met Your Mother wrapping up this season, I wonder if Cobie Smulders will have a much bigger role on Agents of SHIELD starting in season 2.

Cobie Smulders stars in How I Met Your Hydra

The pilot episode’s script had the right amount of both suspense, action and humor that you’d expect from a Joss Whedon show. I loved the porcupine/poop-with-knives-sticking-out-of-it bit, as well as Agent Ward’s “Gramsy” line when he’s being interrogated by Skye. The best though might have been Simmons announcing that she’s not Hermione. Aw yeah, Harry Potter reference.

Agents of SHIELD tied very well into both Iron Man 3 and Avengers. I like that Extremis heavily factored into this episode and that gamma rays played a part in powering Michael. I also like that SHIELD has been given a shadowy enemy to hunt down with this new power broker business. I just hope the show doesn’t turn into a “monster of the week” show like the first season Smallville.

I think Joss Whedon has done a great job of making a show that is accessible to both long time Marvel fans, fans of the Marvel movies, and people who are just walking in cold and who want a dose of sci-fi with their police procedural.

Other random thoughts on the episode: I think they’re setting us up for Skye-Agent Ward romance, but I’m more interested in Fitz and Simmons. Having Lola’s wheels turn down and fly at the end was the best form of fan service imaginable, though using the phrase “journey into mystery” in a line of dialog was a close second.

Flying car! Okay, this is SHIELD!

I loved the first episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. I’m in for the long haul. Expect to see a review here for every new episode. Next week we find out the answer to the question of just what is an Oh-8-4.