You've seen all 846 trailers for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's the most highly anticipated new series of the fall. But does it live up to the hype/gratuitous punctuation? Should you clear some space on your DVR for it? Glad you asked! Read on to find out.
What is this show about? What does S.H.I.E.L.D. even stand for?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is about an all-human specialized squad—the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, to be exact—that investigates odd happenings all over the globe. The series is completely separate from the Marvel movies it was spun off from, but exists in the same world. The show will continue to build on and develop that world, despite not being about the superheroes who inhabit it.
Who's behind the S.H.I.E.L.D.?
The series is joint production between ABC and Marvel Television production, and both parties knew what they were doing when they entered this partnership. Some guy named Joss Whedon, who directed 2012's blockbuster movie The Avengers, is a co-creator and executive producer of the series. Whedon also directed the pilot.
Wait wait wait, this is a Joss Whedon series? How do I know this Whedon show is worth it? I don't want to get invested in it if it's just going to be canceled in a few weeks.
When we spoke to Joss at Comic-Con, he assured us—or I inferred, whatever— that ABC is much easier to work with than Fox (which, if you'll recall, is the network that swiftly canceled the cult series Firefly and then ran the complicated Dollhouse into the ground). "There's no free ride, we've jumped through all the hoops to make this work," he insisted. "The network has dealt with us as they would with any show. The only difference is they really did know what we were giving them and what they wanted." He went on to add, "We've had a real feeling of support."
So there you have it.
Who else is involved? Who can I send my fan mail to?
Joss's brother Jed Whedon and Jed's wife Maurissa Tancharoen are also executive producers on the series; Jed and Maurissa's past credits include Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the aforementioned Dollhouse, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and Spartacus: War of the Damned.
As for the cast, Clark Gregg is reprising his role as Agent Phil Coulson from the Marvel films. Ming-Na is Melinda May, the veteran member of this special S.H.I.E.L.D. team who's been mysteriously absent from the field for quite some time. Relative newcomers Brett Dalton (Blue Bloods), Chloe Bennet (Nashville), Iain De Caestecker (The Fades), and Elizabeth Henstridge (Hollyoaks) make up the rest of the team. Oh, and Cobie Smulders' Agent Maria Hill stops by for a quick cameo in the premiere.
When's the first mission?
The series premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 8pm on ABC. Talk about a lopsided time slot: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s competition includes on of the most powerful acronyms on television in CBS's NCIS, as well as Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Fox and The Voice on NBC.
Do you need to be a fan of Joss Whedon or Marvel comics to enjoy this show?
Thankfully, no. While already having a deep fondness for one of those two things would obviously help gauge whether or not you're going to like S.H.I.E.L.D., the series doesn't require its viewers to come in knowing anything about the Whedonverse or the Marvel Universe. Fans of Whedon's previous work will recognize his trademark witty dialogue, as well as a couple of familiar faces, in the pilot, but even complete newbies will be able to appreciate this latest project. And speaking from experience, you definitely don't need to have prior knowledge of the Marvel Comics universe—thought it will, of course, come in handy at times. The producers really worked hard to make this premiere appeal to new and old fans alike.
What works well about the series?
For one thing, the comedy really stands out. The pilot has Whedon's trademark snark and humor all over it, and it's nice to have that back on TV after such a long time away. Clark Gregg is wonderful; thankfully, whatever brought Agent Coulson back from the dead didn't diminish his sense of humor.
What maybe doesn't work so well?
This is definitely a symptom of only having roughly 42 minutes to set up an entire world and introduce five new characters, but de Caestecker and Henstridge's alter egos are hardly fleshed out at all. They show up, work their science-y magic, and then they're swept away again. I sincerely hope they don't end up like Bonnie Bennett on The Vampire Diaries, showing up only when the story necessitates it.
So... should I watch it?
Duh! Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the most-anticipated new show of the year, and it actually has a shot of living up to the hype. Don't let it scare you into thinking it might be too "genre" for you. It's fun, it's funny, it's exciting, and it has action. It's the whole package.
Okay, can I see a preview?
What should I drink while watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Redbull. This S.H.I.E.L.D. squad is constantly moving, and you're going to need to keep up.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 8pm on ABC.
AIRED ON 4/18/2017
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AIRS ON 4/25/2017
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