If you haven’t seen The Avengers or any of the other Marvel films – SHIELD is a secret organisation which protects the world from scary stuff. Agent Coulson leads a team of misfits investigating the weird and wonderful to see if they’re dealing with superheroes, or supervillains. If you’ve seen The Avengers… Coulson lives!
Believe it or not, I do actually attempt to be fair and open minded when I watch and review television series. Although I would never claim to be dispassionate about my loves and hates, I do at least try to approach each show and each review with a clinical analysis, working out what I liked and didn’t like, what I respected and appreciated and what I just didn’t get on with and trying to explain those feelings to you, dear reader, to allow you to conclude whether you should or shouldn’t watch the show.
I can’t do that for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I tried. I tried to watch the pilot without succumbing to fangirl glee everytime Coulson appeared, or everytime a character uttered a line of pure Whedon dialogue. But I couldn’t. I don’t actually care whether you watch this show or not, because I love it so much that if you are not sold on it simply by watching the trailer, simply by the phrase “Coulson lives and he has his own television show” then I kind of don’t care what you think.
I adored the pilot. It was everything that Whedon does best. This is a show entirely built around what Whedon has always done – making heroes out of utterly normal people. And he does it how he’s always done it, putting together an ensemble of weird but utterly believable characters, giving them dialogue that jumps off the screen, zigging and zagging the plot in comfortably unpredictable ways and bringing it all together with ruthless efficiency to make all that completely comprehendable in just 45 minutes, without losing sight of style or humour.
If I were to try really hard I could hunt out a few faults. Agent Ward is a bit too straight laced, the speech at the end is maybe a little too topical and obvious (although that doesn’t change the fact it’s true) and the music is a little too “hoorah!”. It’s also possible that the final scene of the pilot is actually the moment the show jumps the shark. Oh and the title is a mouthful to say and even worse to type. But I don’t care.
I love this show. But I love everything Whedon does and says. I love that Clark Gregg (who I have loved since he saved the day on Sports Night and was Agent Casper on The West Wing) must be wondering when he’s going to wake up having gone from a tiny throwaway role in Iron Man to being dead, to being the biggest television star of the new season. I love that Channel 4 is airing it just 3 days after it airs in the states. I love that the first show of the new season I got to see was something with so much heart and so much humour that I feel optimistic for the rest of the schedule around it.
If I’m wrong… I just don’t care.