CB'S POV: Super-Heroes Unmasked (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)

Consider the evolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson: first he was just a cameo, little more than comic relief in Iron Man. then he became a fixture, for at least a scene or two, in subsequent Marvel movies, then he played major supporting roles in Thor and The Avengers. Through subsequent appearances he became more efficient, more in command, and then he died. Now he’s back from the dead (or “Tahiti”) in ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesdays at 8 PM ET).

The agents in question are members of an elite team whose job it is to “keep the public safe” from the “new world” of aliens, demigods and other “potential threats” in the wake of “the New York incident” that served as the finale of the Avengers movie. (There had, of course, been “incidents” in all of the other Marvel movies but apparently New York, this time, was the last straw.)

And that is the beauty of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it (so far) has managed to strike the perfect balance between suspension of disbelief and WTF?! It takes itself seriously enough to make you believe in what’s happening but it occasionally breaks the fourth wall and laughs—or at least smirks—at itself. (Like when asked what Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate really means, an agent replies, “It means somebody went to a lot of trouble to make our name spell ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’”) It drops enough references to Marvel lore to make fans nod knowingly (“Where did they get Chitauri devices?”) and it keeps a foot in real world pop culture (like referring to a particularly solid agent as “the T-1000” or naming remote controlled probes after the Seven Dwarfs). The scripts are dialogue-heavy but you find whatever the characters have to say interesting (so far) and the action sequences are near cinema-quality. And things move so quickly and smoothly you have no time to wonder (while watching, anyway) why, for instance, if this job is so vital, they only assign five people to it.

Joss Whedon, one of the principal creative forces behind the show, has a history of creating character-rich, quirky entertainments that produce near worshipful followers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Dollhouse). With Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there are two built-in fanbases to draw from, those of the Marvelverse and those of the Whedonverse. Throw in all those just looking for very good entertainment and perhaps Marvel really will take over the world.

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Do they not have any Black Characters?

Agreed, I thought H-wood might have a few Black Actors/Actresses that might be available.

The black characters are on the way....lol

Havn't seen the show, but I would look forward to it.

The initial episode featured a black man who was the unfortunate victim of an experiment that gave him alpha level strength and invulnerability but his powers were unstable so he had to be put on "ice."  Spoiler Alert: tonight's episode has a surprise ending!   The show is very good and despite the lack of super heroics stays very true to the spirit of the Shield comic books of the seventies.  I hope that the pseudo "Powerman"  or "Rage" type character (take your pick) is added back to the team roster.    

This show, like everything Joss Wheedon puts his hands on is silly. So silly, like most of his stuff, that I can't stomach very much of it.

It's just like every other 'TV' show. Everyone's annoyingly 'pretty' (they even bumped Coleson up with his style points.) Everyone is 'quirky' and they have the usual unrealistic mix of stolid 'A-type' military/government types mixed with undisciplined 'in-way-over-their-heads' civilians. And of course, it's the civilians who can always 'think outside of the box' which the government types never seem to be capable. Oh and as usual, there's only one token 'colored' on the team.

Other than those old chestnuts, the pacing is good so far though the plot is still typical 'Primetime TV' (meaning not too deep as to lose younger audience members.) There's been good action so far and the cinematic level production values are nice (but what do you expect now that Disney owns both ABC and Marvel Studios?) However, it is watchable though I am thoroughly disappointed they didn't find a way so far to put that brother on the team (not surprised though after seeing the show poster and he wasn't in the lineup.)

The show's saving grace for me is they've kept the spirit and style of the awesome 'Marvel One-Shots'. If you haven't seen any of them, you should. In many respects the short 'fillers' are better than the full-length films. How well this series turns out will depend on how many network 'suits' are involved in the writing and development. The lesser the better and the longer the show will last.

Umm where are the Black Characters??!! Oh I get it only White People can save the world....SIGH...PASS!!!!!!

Haven't had a chance to watch the show as of yet. Thanks for the review.

The show is cool in it's own way. I lean more towards the Sleepy Hollow series.

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