TV Review: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

Maia Zewert

After seven movies bringing in more than $5 billion worldwide, it makes sense that Marvel would develop a television show to take place in its cinematic universe. However, people who tune in expecting to watch a small screen version of “The Avengers” are going to be disappointed.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” centers on a special task force put together by Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), the scene-stealer from the film series who (SPOILER ALERT) seemed to meet his death in “The Avengers.” Clark Gregg still has a lot of fun with the role he’s played for four movies, giving him a leg up on the rest of the cast. His resurrection is still a mystery that will hopefully be revealed by the end of the season.

Coulson returns to put together a team of highly trained operatives to investigate some of the stranger instances in the world after the invasion of New York. Full of relative unknowns, the team includes Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward, a black ops specialist who doesn’t play well with others, and Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge as S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, respectively. 

Ming-Na Wen, who voiced titular character in Disney’s “Mulan,” plays Melinda May, who pilots of the team’s private plane and has a hidden history in combat. Rounding out the cast is Chloe Bennet as a hacker known only as Skye who impresses Coulson so much he brings her on the team, much to Ward’s (possibly sexually charged) displeasure.

Cobie Smulders popped up in the pilot to reprise her role as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Assistant Director Maria Hill, although do not expect more from her until “How I Met Your Mother” wraps up is final season this May.

While it is unlikely Thor or Iron Man will be popping up anytime soon, a surprise cameo at the end of episode two does not put it out of the range of possibility.

It is recommended that the audience at least be familiar with the Marvel universe, as references to the movies are scattered throughout the dialogue.

The pilot episode talks about the Extremis, one of the main plot points in this summer’s “Iron Man 3,” while the second episode discusses HYDRA technology powered by Tesseract energy, something that would go over the heads of people who had not yet seen either “Captain America” or “The Avengers.” With “Thor: The Dark World” coming out in November, expect more to come.

Overall, it is an enjoyable hour-long series for fans of the movies. The dialogue is smart, and Gregg has really mastered Coulson’s dry humor, and at times it seems like the other members are trying not to break character. 

Joss Whedon, who in addition to directing and writing “The Avengers” also served as a consultant for “Iron Man 3” and “Thor: The Dark World,” created the series. Although he will not be a constant presence in the series (considering he is  busy writing and preparing to direct “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” due out May 2015) it is safe to say that in the time being, the franchise is in good hands.