Leah Schwarting

I still remember going to see the first Iron Man movie and getting geared up for “The Avengers.” I watched them all after that: “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America,” you name it, I went to the theaters for it.
Throughout all of these movies, I was impressed by the snark that Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, brought to the screen in almost every movie. I was thus heartbroken when he seemingly died during “The Avengers.”
However, like all comic book fans, I know that sometimes they come back. When I first caught wind of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” I did a fist pump.
The idea that Joss Whedon was doing a TV series that would supplement the movies and resurrect Coulson made me want to jump for joy.
In between seeing the web announcement and the pilot, a few other details were released.
The series is about the fall out from “The Avengers” and how people, both good and bad, adapt to the changing world.
The pilot episode focuses around a ring of hackers called The Rising Tide that is trying to expose S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson and his team apprehend Skye, one of the ring’s members, as they try to track down an emerging hero.
I have to give the show props for fitting into the Marvel movie-verse. References are made to the multitude of movies that have come before the show without being too in-your-face. The integration is subtle enough for someone who hasn’t seen all the movies, but it adds a nice element for those who have.
Some things from the comics make their appearance as well, such as a hover car that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents use from time to time. The show is full of little shout outs to fans of both the print Marvel Universe and the movie one.
Don’t get me wrong; there was plenty to dampen my enthusiasm while I waited. The show was on ABC, which makes sense since Disney owns Marvel.
It did make me wonder just how that would affect the show though, since ABC has a slightly more family-friendly reputation.
The trailers didn’t look as promising as I’d hoped either. While there were some good lines, others made me want to cringe.
Hope springs eternal, though, and with this mind frame, I sat down to watch the first episode.
The pilot started off strong with plenty of action and witty one-liners. The production values were amazing too, with several shots you would expect from a movie rather than a TV series.
Gregg’s ever-present snark was in full force, but other characters were given time to shine too. Brett Dalton plays the “muscle” of the group.
At first I thought he would fall into the stereotypical “lone wolf” category, but by a combination of good writing and acting, Dalton made the role his own.
Ming-Na Wen was good in her role as the paperwork person, and Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge also gave a good performance as the bickering tech branch of Coulson’s team.
The real surprises were Chloe Bennet as Skye and J. August Richards as Mike Peterson. Bennet was hilarious as an awkward hacker who, despite her tough talk, was clearly out of her depth.
Richards played the up-and-coming hero. I won’t give too much away, but his plight is understandable and his speech at the end of the episode is heartbreaking.
All in all, I feel as though my faith in the show was well rewarded. I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks hold in store for Coulson’s team, and if the series can keep up the quality of the pilot.