‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Sticks Close To Earth In The Pilot

Senior Contributor
09.25.13 132 Comments


Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is probably one of the most anticipated shows for the fall season, and an experiment that’s never really been tried before. The results are surprisingly a bit timid for a show practically guaranteed to be a hit.

The episode itself was fairly straightforward; we meet the team, although there’s really not much to them yet, and they go find Mike Peterson, a normal guy who threw out his back and in fairly short order lost his job, his wife, and is on the verge of losing his mind. That he’s being pumped full of Extremis, which you might remember from Iron Man 3, and various alien crap probably doesn’t help matters, and it makes him prone to mood swings, just what you want out of a super-strong desperate guy.

ABC did a good job of keeping the real thrust of the episode, namely that powers don’t make you a superhero, under wraps. And J. August Richards actually does quite a good job as an average joe desperate for something to go his way. But something about the pilot, although fun, didn’t quite click.

The main problem is really the characters. Melinda clearly has something in her past that didn’t go well, and the show drops anvils that Coulson doesn’t know exactly what happened to him while he was in “Tahiti.” But most of the rest of the cast are types; Skye’s the token conspiracy theorist/groupie, Fitz and Simmons are the allegedly adorable nerds, and Ward’s the handsome guy who punches stuff. Most of the episode is spent with the least interesting people in the cast, and that dragged, a little bit.

It’s funny, especially when Clark Gregg is on screen and mixing affability and command, or Ming-Na Wen is around to be annoyed at the rest of the cast. But there’s not really a lot to this show just yet. I’m willing to give it a few more episodes, but so far, this is more NCIS than, say, Firefly.

Some more thoughts:

  • I’m sure Tumblr is getting into a screaming match with itself over the “sweaty cosplay girls” line even as we speak.
  • Fitz and Simmons are really, really annoying. They either need better material, or they need to go.
  • The episode also had a weird problem in that the sound mix wasn’t that great. The dialogue was mixed very low, for some reason, and I found myself riding levels just to hear half the exposition.

Thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

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