TV Pilots in Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

We're reviewing six new 2013 pilots this Fall TV season! We'll be dishing about the good, the bad, and the hotties on the small screen. Twin Takedown style, of course ;) 


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Network: ABC
Premiere Date: September 24th 
Air Date: Tuesdays 8/7c

IMDBTRAILER

The missions of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.





Introduction

Krista: This was the second highest voted show for us to review! Yay! And it premiered last night. I'm a huge Marvel/superhero movie fan. While I haven't read the comics like Becca, I do love me some Avengers. Becca will probably give some insight into the S.H.I.E.L.D. comics...right, Becca??

Becca: Yep. For anyone who doesn't know, S.H.I.E.L.D is like the FBI of the superhero world. They don't have powers themsleves, but they're tasked with controlling the superhero population. They made a joke in the show about the acronym and what it stands for because in comics they change the meaning all the time.

Krista: So if you've watched this episode too, be sure to dish about it the comments! Now, onto the review!!

Sadly, Loki isn't in the show. But we'll survive. Onward!

Initial Response

Krista: The opening sets up with a normal man and his son, looking through a store window with action figures like Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America. Personally, it looked like a damn cool store, and this is where the excited jitters began.


Becca: Oh yeah, being introduced to the universe where (almost) all of our favorite Marvel superheroes exist is so freaking exciting. 

Plot/Story Arc

Krista: Pilots are really different than every other episode in a show. They're made to sell the show to a network, so in effect the pilot as to have a beginning, middle, and end -- unlike other episodes. It's like trying to fit an entire season into a 40 minutes, while getting as much character development as you can down. That's freakin' hard! And I've never watched a pilot from beginning to finish and felt it did its job 100%...except for Supernatural. I think that pilot is in a league of its own.

Becca: Yeah, the plot started with a superhero saving a girl from a burning building (of course, we all knew there had to be more to that story) and I immediately had a flash of one-season-wonder No Ordinary Family -- I got pretty nervous. Example A:


I was ready for the corny moments, but I just wanted it to be original and have the same "holy cow" feeling as the films. This didn't really do it for me, but I was waiting for some lovable characters to come in. 

Krista: Really the plot doesn't pick up until we learn more about Skye -- she's kind of this blogger/journalist with Red Tide, who is always one step ahead of SHIELD. Her character really reinvigorated the story for me. But we'll talk about characters a little later.

Becca: Yep, yep, totally agree. Skye is a big thumbs up!

Krista: I think for a pilot, the plot did it's job. I'm curious to see if this is going to be like a crime drama and we're going to be dealing with one superhero baddie each episode.

Becca: Yeah, like I said there was a lot of twists and turns and subverting your expectation -- which is expected in any pilot. It had good dialogue, but it felt a bit neat. As is expected with pilots, so I can't be too critical. Like Krista said, nothing can beat Supernatural's first episode. I do think this is going to lean more towards the set-up of Once Upon a Time and not something like Castle. Maybe crime here and there but I think it'll delineate from an episodic structure.


The Characters

Krista: This is where SHIELD is either going to succeed or fail in my opinion. We have returning players, like Coulsen and Hill, which helps since fans of the movies don't have to be introduced to these characters. Coulsen is also a highlight of the show.


Becca: I completely agree. The future of the show is going to hinge on whether or not we love the characters -- kind of like any USA network show. And Coulsen killed it as the comic relief. Favorite line:


(It was a porcupine lol)

Krista: Loved that!! One character that may sink the show is...Ward. He's the hot agent, and I'm wondering if he was just type cast to be a James Bond-esque character. But gosh is he dull!

Becca: Ward is nothing more than pretty wallpaper. Thanks ABC for the hot guy, but he has duck-face half the time, and he's boring as hell.


Stop pursing your lips, Ward!

But thankfully Skye made up for Ward's dullness. 


What up, Skye! She's awesome. A little in-your-face at first, but she's strangely endearing over time. And she had me when she admitted to Cosplaying outside of Tony Stark's mansion -- she's a groupie, but a smart, hacker groupie! Just don't get with Ward. Please. He will bore you to death. 

Krista: And while I liked Skye with her bubbly personality, the shining light of the show has to be Fitz and Simmons (the lab geeks). I could watch a full hour of their banter.


Becca: Oh yes. When they came in, I was like "thank God!" We needed a pair like them desperately, and they were so quirky and cute. Love that Fitz has these mechanical gadgets he named after the seven dwarfs. 

Krista: And any girl who gets excited for slimey science is someone I will instantly root for!! You don't see female characters portrayed like this on TV, so I'm a super Simmons fan. 

For a pilot, the characterizations were as good as they could be with the exception of Ward and maybe Melinda May (the Asian agent who drives the plane). We know May has come out of field for some reason, and I think her character will get explored more throughout the season. But in the pilot she wasn't as interesting as the other characters.

Romance

Krista: There's no hint of any romances in this pilot, which doesn't surprise me. It's an action/adventure show with Joss Whedon at the helm. Though if I had to put money on it, I'd say Ward and Skye will probably hook up by the end of the season.

Becca: Noooo! I do not like the Ward/Skye scenario unless Ward actually has a personality by the end of the season. She's too good for him. Don't be fooled by the hot guy, Skye!

Production Value

Becca: I was in awe. I knew ABC would throw down some major cash for this, but I've never seen that many sets for a pilot. There was like over 8, and most shows average about 4. And the graphics were still really good for being tv. Case in point:


Krista: Okay, here's where we disagree a little bit. I do think the production value is loads better than any other show. On the CW, there are like four sets in a pilot. This pilot had a bajillion. But the fact of the matter is, the show will never rival a Marvel movie in terms of production value. And since we've seen these high-scale planes and spy equipment beefed up in a movie, it feels underwhelming in the show (even though it's pretty decent for a show). At times it verges on a USA Covert Affairs feel, which I really hope they stray away from. 

The Ending

Becca: I thought it wrapped up a little too easily, especially with how they dealt with the hero-turned-villain and the centipede business (MINOR SPOILER: where Fitz and Simmons magically find a solution to help Mike -- if the whole show is going to have magical solutions, I will get annoyed fast). But I liked the introduction of the evil doctor. She seemed like a true threat -- and I love big bads.

Krista: Yeah, even though there were twists, the solution was too neat. Hopefully it will get harder for our agents to win cases. Big Bads are the best :)



WHO SHOULD WATCH IT?


Becca: Fans of Once Upon a Time (most definitely) and lovers of the USA network. It's fun, light and a bit campy.

Krista: Definitely if your a fan of any ABC dramas (Revenge, Scandal). This show is so on-market for their network. It's got a soap-opera feel to it, even though it's an action show.


WILL WE WATCH IT?


Becca: Was it everything I'd hoped it would be? No. I wanted something more in terms of character and overall plot, and the only way I'm going to get that is to keep watching. So I will! Go Skye! For a good start, I'll give S.H.I.E.L.D a B+

Krista: Personally, I didn't expect this show to be so much like an ABC show -- though I should have expected it since it's on their network. Their shows are always a little over the top with some ridiculousness and sometimes even lack subtext in dialogue (I'm talking about you Once Upon a Time) and S.H.I.E.L.D. is no different. It's a little campy, like Becca said, and definitely over the top. ABC dramas are not my favorite, but I can't deny that they do well at one thing -- being fun. I'm skeptical about this season for my own personal tastes, so I think I'll stick around for the next three episodes and judge then. I give it a solid B. 


SEASON PREDICTIONS


Becca: I think this show is here to stay. Like Once Upon a Time, there will be a cult following. It wasn't a mess like No Ordinary Family. It had structure and a good kick-off, and I hope in the future we'll be introduced to new agents and more grittiness.

Krista: While the pilot isn't the best, I do agree that it's going to stick around and gain a cult following. Hello, it's Marvel! It already has a built-in fanbase. No matter what it will get the full 24 episode pickup, and go through it's second season as well. I predict that if S.H.I.E.L.D. ends up failing -- it's going to bomb on its third season like a little show called Heroes. Let's hope they pull through ;) 


WHAT DO YOU THINK?


It's time for your voices to be heard! Have you watched the episode? Are you planning on seeing it? Sound off below!

30 comments:

  1. It's great to get two different POVs on the show. I enjoyed the pilot and was surprised by how good all the special effects look. I do think it will be more episodic like OUAT, but I'm wondering if the storylines will cross over with all the films.

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    1. I think they'll keep it separate from the films. I think it would just be way too hard to mix them. This is a show where I'm really mad that Fox has the rights to X-Men because they would work perfect in this universe and I'm in love with mutant culture :D I'm really glad you liked the pilot, Jess :D

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  2. You say Once Upon a Time and Revenge. I say SOLD!

    I have the pilot DVRd to watch with the hubby later!

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    1. Then you'll definitely like this one. It has such an OUAT feel to it.

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  3. As I rarely watch keep up with tv shows anymore (not even Supernatural--I'm a few seasons behind and I really, really need to change that because I absolutely LOVE that show), I probably won't watch this show. I absolutely love the review, though!

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    1. I'm half a season behind on Supernatural, and it's killing me! I really need to catch up before it starts soon. Thanks Kaitlin! I have a feeling Krista isn't going to keep up with it because it's leaning towards a crime show, and Krista doesn't like those very much.

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  4. I loved Once Upon a Time so I guess I need to check this one out. Too bad I'll have to wait till someone starts showing this series here so you'll probably be in season 4 then. I cannot wait to see how this series develops. Great reviews :)

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    1. Oh that sucks! Whenever they don't show a series in the US, I find it online somewhere. I'm so impatient!

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  5. Great post! I don't watch many TV shows because when I do, I become obsessed ;)

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  6. "ABC dramas are not my favorite, but I can't deny that they do well at one thing -- being fun." I totally agree! I don't really keep up with TV shows anymore (I watch more anime than TV shows as they're much more accessible here in Japan), and I kind of have my doubts so I'm not sure whether or not to watch this show. Maybe the pilot and first few episodes. Great review, though!

    Chri @ Fathomless

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    1. Thanks Chri! I didn't know you were from Japan! For some reason Krista and I thought you were from the Philippines. I'd watch the first episode. You'll know if it's your kind of show after watching one :D

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  7. I've been seeing this title around on Twitter for a while now but was too lazy to Google what it's about - well, now I know! I've got another show to watch, and it'll only get crazier in October once TVD, The Originals, and The Tomorrow People starts, not to mention I've got lots of other series to catch up on XD

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    1. Oh, yes, I will be going crazy over The Originals. I can't wait to see what's going to happen with the whole baby situation. I kind of hope Hayley dies in childbirth (which is so mean, I know) but I dislike her character so much. She's so grating!

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  8. First: COULSON. It's so good to have you back, buddy! *pats gifs* I'm really curious to see what kind of reason they gave for his coming back (is it flimsy? Or is it totally believable?), because that's one of the reasons I'm so interested in the TV show, hah. And - this is unrelated - did you know that Loki won't be in the second Avengers film either? I guess his villain days are over. So disappointing!

    To put it plainly: Ward makes me cringe inwardly. And I think they kind of failed in the "hot agent" department, because I do not find him attractive at all. Skye, though. She sounds quirky and fun! I'm with you - I really hope there won't be any budding romance between her and Ward, because otherwise I'd just claw my eyeballs out. I'm glad the characters met your expectations more or less, because much like books, they're one of the most important points for me, too.

    Hopefully the rest of the season will improve for both of you! Great review. :D

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    1. I actually think that we're not really going to know the true reason how Coulson came back. It seems like that may be a twist. They made it kind of ify. I'm so upset by no Loki in Avengers 2! He's my fav.

      Ward... I don't find him attractive either. I don't know very many people who actually liked him. Thanks Meg!

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  9. Fans of OUAT? *goes off to add series to watch list*

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    1. Lol! Yes, it's definitely perfect for fans of OUAT!

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  10. I loved Coulson's lines - it was then that I said, "Oh, yep. That's Joss for you." And FitzSimmons was my favorite part too!

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    1. I love Joss Wheadon. I've liked almost everything he's done. Dollhouse was a bit of a mess and all over the place. And Fitz/Simmons are awesome :D

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  11. By fans of Once Upon a Time you mean the First Season, right? Because the second... how do I say it sucked in a nice way?
    I loved the 1st, though I'm more a fan of Castle.
    Besides, I'm a Marvel fan wannabe + Joss Whedon follower; OF COURSE I will watch it!

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    1. I agree, the second season of OUAT was just... not good, BUT I do love the addition of Hook. The only reason I've stuck around this far is because I'm a huge Peter Pan fan. And I really hope they don't screw up his character.

      I stopped watching Castle, mostly because I lost interest in crime shows over time. I hope you already watched and liked it!

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  12. OMGG I am so excited about this, about to go watch it soon. My most anticipated fall series to come out this year, and a big Joss Whedon fan. And please don't go the Heroes way, that was a let down!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. Yes, anything that follows the tragedy of Heroes will be devastating.

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  13. BAHA! Absolutely loved this, ladies! I wasn't sure if I was going to invest my time in this but you two have definitely made me interested. I love Coulson and anything Marvel creates so I will be checking this out. Ward sounds pretty annoying, but at least he looks pretty ;)

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    1. Thanks Alise! It's definitely worth checking out to see if it's your type of show. Ward is really dull, and I'm not even sure he's good looks will make up for it over time. No more duck-face, and I may be able to put up with him.

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  14. I had no idea you guys reviewed TV pilots! This is amazing xD
    I really liked the pilot, and I love OUaT and Revenge so I agree they're kinda similar. And I love the humour in the episode too :)

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    1. Yep! We're reviewing 6 of them :D The humor from Coulson was really good in the first episode. The porcupine joke was great :D

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  15. FINALLY watched the pilot. I agree with you guys on a lot. I was so unsure the direction the show would go. Overall I was pleased but yeah, it kinda depends on where it continues to go. I did like Skye! She's great.

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    1. I love Skye! I thought she was going to be annoying at the beginning, but she was awesome. The Cosplay line had me.

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