Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has finally arrived . . . and it’s a promising start.
There’s a lot of set-up in this opening episode; the bringing together of the team, the first threat etc. etc. and that is done efficiently, but rather mundanely. But the benefit of pacing through foundation-building is that by the second half of the episode we can finally get to the nitty-gritty Saturday morning cartoon-style villain of the week. This structure, though simplistic, actually works surprisingly well and the second half is thoroughly entertaining.
There were still a number of rough edges, though, most notably the dodgy hit-rate of the gags. Some worked well, keeping the mood light and playful, but some fell totally flat, which is surprising as Joss Whedon (co-writer, director and the man behind ‘The Avengers’) is usually an expert when it comes to witty quips. And it’s not that the jokes were always that bad, it’s just that some of them felt totally out of place. But that is something that can easily be fine-tuned as time goes on.
I also had an issue with the over stylised look of the episode, with the lens flare feeling totally unnecessary and, ultimately, distracting. Admittedly, the show has a lot to live up to aesthetically because it’s big-screen counterparts look so damn gorgeous, but I would prefer that Marvel owned up to the fact that a network TV show is never going to look like a $200m blockbuster.
But, despite an uninspiring first half and some minor niggles, the balance of action and emotion in the second half set up a world of gods and men that I can’t wait to explore.