After a long wait viewers finally got to see the first episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s the first official spinoff show from the studios dominating film franchises. It’s filled with the same humor and action you’d expect from a Joss Whedon project but it has a couple of kinks. This is the “Pilot” episode we’re talking about so we shouldn’t expect it to be perfect.

The Players:

  • Director: Joss Whedon
  • Writers: Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen
  • Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Cobie Smulders, J. August Richards

Episode Title: “Pilot”

After laying low (during The Avengers), Agent Coulson (Gregg) returns to S.H.I.E.L.D. and forms a new team to investigate the mysterious group, the Rising Tide. They’re also on the hunt for a mysterious new superhero, who could also be a villain.

The Good:

  • Coulson’s Back: They had to explain Agent Coulson’s reappearance in some way, shape or form. Thankfully, they went with the simple explanation that he faked his death to bring The Avengers together. Gregg has a child-like charm that makes his presence in the Marvel Universe noticeable and enjoyable. He also has moments of cheesiness but we’re still happy to see him back.
  • Whedon is our Marvel god: Marvel made the right decision in having Whedon direct the pilot. He’s got a fine style that fits television a bit more than it does film. And with that he brings his own brand of humor and action. He gives us some colorful characters that add an interesting dynamic to Coulson’s wonky team. They may not entirely get along but we’re excited to see how they develop throughout the season. In a way, they’re reminiscent of the Firefly group, which this fan is completely okay with.
  • Big Budget, Cool Tech: When one of the biggest companies in the world is backing a show, they’re going to shell out money to make it look good. We got a glimpse of the many gadgets and sets we’ll be seeing in the future.
  • The Struggles of Being A Superhero: It’s interesting how they continue to use pieces of previous Marvel movies. For example, they brought back the Extremis formula (from Iron Man 3)in this first episode. The show will give us a more in-depth look at what they have to deal with. We wonder how they’ll deal with their search for new superheroes. The way they describe it reminds us of Professor Xavier tracking down mutants with Cerebro — except in this world they can’t use the word “mutant.”

The So-So:

  • Shaky Beginning: We’re given a cool first look at how superheroes are found, but the opening may be the weakest point of the plot. A couple of the shots are a little blurry and unfinished, which takes you out for a moment. But the rest of the pilot looks visually fine so there isn’t too much room to complain.

The Bad:

  • Hover Car: The amount of cheese dripping off the final scene, which is basically a ripoff of Back to the Future, is a little overwhelming. We’re coming down from a cool climax and we get this last shot. We could have done without it. It took away from the episode when you start thinking, “Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”
  • Skye: In some ways the pilot is just Skye’s introduction. It showed us that for a good chunk of the season we’ll be exposed to her more than the other characters. Here’s hoping she doesn’t continue her annoying streak in the coming weeks. She’s an irritating, bubbly young woman who doesn’t contribute much to the team. Hopefully, the writers will do a better job of developing her character and making her more enjoyable.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. slightly suffers from the typical pilot woes. But it manages to be a solid start to what we hope is a great series.

Rating: 8/10

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of the pilot episode?