And that's how I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer. From that point, there was Angel and Firefly and Dollhouse. And then Whedon put out The Avengers, probably the greatest superhero movie of all time (well, at least in my estimation). When it was announced that Whedon was bringing the big screen to the small with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D I was instantly on board. But translating superhero movies to TV is rough; money is tighter which puts a strain on the big blockbuster effects and big names that now make up the Marvel Movie universe. And when the show doesn't actually feature superheros--except those ordinary day to day ones who are just trying to protect the rest of the world--can it actually succeed?
Agent Melinda May: I can't say much here sadly. May's character is obviously a bit of legend at SHIELD, Grant knows who she is and expresses surprise that she's "just the pilot" for this episode. Something obviously happened to her in the past that made her give up field work because we first find her behind a desk, in a very dimly lit office (SHIELD can't afford light bulbs or something) monotonously stapling away, refusing to take part in whatever game Coulson is playing. But there is clearly more to her; she manages to disarm men and has superior fighting abilities. Right now she's a bit of a blank slate. Her chemistry with Coulson is apparent--I expect many jabs and barbs to be thrown between them.
Agents Fitz and Simmons (FitzSimmons): These two are either going to be absolutely hysterical or are very quickly going to annoy me with their fast paced techno-babble. On some level it works; the genius's shouldn't have to stop and explain everything to the audience. We need to accept that they know what they're talking about and we don't. But between the fast talking mixed with the Scottish accent, my eyes went rather wide trying to keep up. They come as a pair but I expect their dynamic to be more friendly contentious and competitive. They can praise each other's brilliant ideas but secretly hate that they didn't think of it first. But hey! At least they already come with a ready made 'ship name.
It took some sifting through my notes to make sure I really had a handle on the story but: SHIELD is "the line between this world and a much weirder world. We protect people from news they aren't ready for." Think MIB for superheros. After the Battle of New York in the Avengers, SHIELD has gone into overdrive trying to protect everyone from the new dangers. A special elite team has been put together to find unregistered superheros and take down baddies. These new superheros are emerging rapidly, without cause. Someone is engineering regular humans with powers of strength and stamina. The implant gives the operation its code name: Centipede. The first episode really revolves around setting all this up: SHIELD must take down the Operation Centipede and find these new human hybrids and protect them.
I feel as though this is going to become Monster of the Week very quickly (except here I suppose it would be superhero of the week). Each week, the SHIELD team finds a new hero, protects them and gets ever closer to the Project Centipede ring leaders.
The lack of "real" superheros might also be an issue. I don't expect Tony Stark to Thor to suddenly come whizzing in, but man would that be awesome. People want to see real superheros--fluttering capes, speedos and all--and if you don't somehow give them the real McCoy, the hybrid storyline might get stale. I'm also not sure if it's conducive to weekly blogging, but I guess I'll have to wait and see on that front.
Everyone on screen is far too good at what they do: Ward is the best bomb and black-ops specialist. Skye is THE computer girl; Fitz and Simmons are scary science wunderkinds; May has many tricks up her sleeve. I want to see the human side of these guys too. Let me know that they're just like me--these aren't superheros. They're the one protecting the superheroes.
--I lost track of the number of times I wrote "total Whedon moment" during the watch. Here are a few of my favorites:
------First fight action sequence includes a romantic aria in the background while a pissed off French woman looks more concerned about her ruined breakfast than the three men fighting.
------"With great power comes...a lot of weird crap" BLESS YOU JOSS WHEDON.
------Skye sitting in her van making a "Rising Tide" video when suddenly Coulson and the gang opens the door and just snatches her out of it and then Coulson injecting Ward with truth serum for Skye's benefit.
--"Don't touch Lola." And with that line, Coulson cements himself a treasure trove of fangirls
--Coulson and his bullhorn. BFFLs.
--So many awesome cool tech toys.
Final Verdict: Watch it. Even if you haven't seen the Avengers (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?), it's entertaining and fun for all.