Finding Plenty of Character with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

25 Sep

By Ed Sum and James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)

E: Is it my imagination or is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a re-imagining of Torchwood? I love the set up of this series and the characters that are introduced.

Agent Phil Coulson has this nice wry humour that Clark Gregg knows how to finesse, and it gives this series some light-hearted moments that I would not consider to be overly hilarious. Many fans of this series may well be wondering how the heck did he come back to life? Or, did he even die in the first place? That answer may well never be answered, but as I continue to watch this show, hopefully more clues will be given.

My theory is that he’s a clone, with all the memories of the original Coulson transplanted into him.

J: Before I watched the first episode, I thought that since Gregg was in this series, that it would take place in a timeline before the Avengers movie. It’s obvious to me that this is not true and I am left with the feeling of a cop-out. On one hand I can understand why they need Clark Gregg for this series, because how many were truly going to watch a series without Gregg attached to the cast.

But I just can’t help getting that sinking feeling. I think it was the same feeling when I saw the ending to the Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. Having him not commit seppuku like the rest of the samurai in the end left it with a true Hollywood ending where the star had to survive beyond all costs even if his character’s dignity was left with questions.

E: I don’t know, James. If you actually pay a little attention to the early press of what this series is going to be about—to look at what S.H.I.E.L.D. when they are not dealing with superheroes, someone has to be in charge of this special division who takes Homeland Security to a covert level. And this team is comprised of five key personnel.

Perhaps that’s why I keep on thinking of Torchwood, who share similar roles. They’re known but not known. They’re around, like the Men in Black, but they are not the Men in Black. What they do is to keep tabs on organizations hell bent on creating their own special breed of super soldiers, as the pilot episode suggests. But the ramifications of toying with a formula that created Captain America may mean Chis Evans might put on a brief appearance sans costume near the end of the series, but that’s unlikely.

Ming-Na WenThis series is meant to take place without any of the superhero heavyweights to spoil this television series. The direction is pretty solid and the interesting choice of having lesser known performers comprise the team is a good one. Out of all of them—Brett Dalton (Agent Grant Ward), Chloe Bennet (Skye), Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons—I am more familiar with Ming-Na Wen because of her past work, especially as a voice actress and in Eureka.

J: I agree it’s not just about Coulson but he is the glue that keeps everyone together. It’s great to see secondary characters start to establish themselves early. Dalton as Agent Ward is a reluctant team player but he proves reliable in the field and there is a heart of gold inside this particular agent. Ming-Na as Agent Melinda May is respected among her peers and is considered a legend among her younger counterparts, at least with Agent Ward. But know this, she may be the woman responsible for creating bureaucratic red tape from behind a desk but in the field she doesn’t need to sign forms in triplicate to kick your arse.

E: A few members of the cast are young and the rest are experienced. This makes for an interesting balancing act that future episodes will have to juggle. And as for the plot introduced in this premiere episode, I have to wonder who is next that this agency will have to “save.”

I get the feeling that there will not be any big tells soon. This series will slowly reveal itself over time, and viewers of the non comic fandom variety will find the crime style drama enjoyable. They will also get to like this team. Geeks are no doubt all over seeing Marvel Entertainment work its way into prime time. As for whether or not it will succeed will depend if viewers groomed by super heroic style epics like Smallville or Green Arrow will enjoy this different formula. I’m glad all that youthful teen angst are gone.

J: I have to wonder just how well trained are they. They seemed to do a marvelous job of keeping the public out of harm’s way or out of the loop of this episode’s situation. It’s either some law enforcement tactics were missed when writing this episode or the agents just aren’t as good at their job as they think they are. But with those complaints aside I was glued to the set.

E: Ah, but will we continue watching this series? To me, I think the series will not pick up steam until there’s a big cameo or tie-in to the films, namely Thor: Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier, comes out. I’m not as glued to the idea. I’ve seen better and I think Nikita is calling to me right now.

 

3½ Stars out of 5

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