You know, I’m starting to understand what exactly it is that the world sees in Joss Whedon. The very mention of his name can cause geeks across the world the squee with nerdy delight. Let’s face it; the man knows geek, knows how to speak geek and knows how to make geek look good. Creator of such cult hits as Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and the third highest-grossing film of all time The Avengers, Whedon has been referred by fanboys and nerds world wide as the “Evil Genius” for his ability to humanize the world of super heroes, vampire slayers and space pirates.
With huge success of The Avengers, one could say that it was a manner of time before Hollywood came a-calling. Sure enough, The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, scheduled for a Summer 2015 release, is estimated to be one of the most biggest anticipated movies. In the meantime, fans have other Marvel movies to wet the appetites coming out such as Thor 2: The Dark World. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg as the network is ready to premiere of the spin-off show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So how does this independent story measure up to its big screen competitors?
The inessential plot of the show picks up with the movie The Avengers left off with the world adjusting to the realization that there are heroes living among them. One such group,Rising Tide, which is more of a one-person blogger, is obsessed with the existence of superheroes and sets out the expose the secrets that government is hiding from the general public. The leader of this group is a computer hacker name Skye who, after witnessing a dramatic rescue by a mysterious hooded man with super abilities, begins broadcasting the beginnings of a movement across the internet. It doesn’t take long before the scary guys in suits catch up with her and take her into custody. In time, Skye finds herself recruited into the very organization that she intended to take down as well as answering to a man who was supposed to be dead as her boss, Agent Phil Coulson.
Joining the Coulson is a team of special agents; black ops specialist Agent Grant Ward, Agent Melinda May, an ace pilot and weapons expert, and Agent Leo Fitz and Agent Jemma Simmons, a weapons tech and bio-scientist. Maria Hill from the Avengers film also appears as Nick Fury’s substitute whose in-charge of monitoring Coulson’s team. The task of Coulson’s group is to handle the strange cases of newly emerging super humans appearing in the world following the Battle of New York.
It’s basically the same plot as the show Heroes, minus the cheerleader and Zachary Quinto.
After watching the first episode tonight, I’ve gotta to admit the show has strong potential. When I first heard of a show being developed around the Marvel universe, but not really starring the Marvel heroes themselves, I kinda had my doubts. Spin-off shows, in my experience, usually don’t do very well or last long partly due to lack of fan interest or lack of knowledge of the original material that the show is based off of. It would like making a spin-off of Breaking Bad, only without the meth and the drug dealers and making it more about politics. The further away you are from the source material and what it was about, the further away you are from what made the original great in the first place.
What I liked about the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is that it took the time to acknowledge the events of the Avengers and established a connect between the two. There always seems to be this barrier between television and films that’s never crossed. The two have to be separate at all times and in their own universe. It’s very rare that a show continues on from a movie. For example, in an episode of the Simpsons, Mr. Burns cooks up a plan to trap Springfield in a huge dome. With helicopters flying in with the dome, Lenny and Carl make the off comment of “It’s been done!” before the choppers make a quick retreat.
Having the show take place after the events of the film, as well as having the same actors reprise their roles, makes the show part of the films’ universe thus important to the franchise. The characters talk about certain moments of the Avengers movies such as the Battle of New York or Coulson’s “death” at the hands of Loki, as well as previous films such as Captain America and Thor. Doing this helps the show not feel so disconnected from the film. It doesn’t feel like ‘just another spin-off’ but more like another chapter. The characters even talk about the Avengers themselves and the show takes the time to show clips of the all of them in action. Seeing this made me hopeful that maybe in future episode, a cameo by Captain America or Iron Man may be possible.
A fan can dream!
Samuel L. Jackson has already expressed interest in a possible guest appearance, reprising his as S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury. And executive producer Jeffery Bell as said in previous interviews that since they intend on expanding this world of The Avengers, some people of the Marvel universe may show up. Who might appear in the coming episodes – we’ll just have to keep watching.
The characters themselves are very likeable. Agent Coulson’s straight-faced humor and sarcasm returns and is just as comical as it was in all previous Marvel films. The no-nonsense Agent Grant Ward has his moments of either the take charge leader or having to suffer as the butt of Coulson’s jokes. Perhaps my favorites so far are two geeky scientists Leo and Jemma. The banter these two exchange remind of the goofy-geeky nervous college students who are clearly made for each other.I’m going to make a prediction now and say that Jemma is destined to be a fan favorite as she clearly the reincarnation of Kaylee from Whedon cult one-season hit Firefly. In fact, the series is littered of Whedon-brand humor and charm, all of it carefully written into every character.
All in all, it’s a very promising start! It’s worth a look for those who enjoyed the movies and especially those who are fans of the Marvel series. Think of this show as the perfect appetizer to keep you full just enough before the feast of new Marvel films scheduled to come out this holiday season.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D airs Tuesday nights on ABC at 8/7 central time.