After a dodgy first few weeks this eventually won me over. It kind of spins out of the events of Avengers Assemble - a mysteriously resurrected Phil Coulson puts together a crack team of young, good looking agents to take on various missions. How Phil is still with us after dying during The Avengers battle in New York is one of the main plot threads moving forward so stick with it.
The big boys don't appear of course but are often name checked and Nick Fury and Maria Hill make small but important contributions. There's a tie in of sorts to Thor : The Dark World which is fun bit disposable. Later, events from Captain America : The Winter Soldier spiral into events here which works better, giving some real thrust to the later stages of the season.
It all starts like a bit of a Heroes/Fringe mash up with pretty self contained character of the week type stories. It's ok at this stage and never less than watchable but at the same time not massively inspiring. Things really pick up speed from about episode 8 or 9 onwards. Various bigger story arcs start coming together and some interesting villains are introduced and slowly developed.
There's plenty of twists and double crosses to keep you on your toes, most work, some don't. One particular later season episode features one of the most eye rolling "twists" but then ends the episode with a further shock that really hits home and opens up plenty of story opportunities. There's a fair amount of resolution by the end of the season which is refreshing and various seeds are laid for further seasons.
In other observations - there's a healthy dose of humour throughout, the actings generally pretty good, the budget appears to be of a decent size so it all looks the part. Overall, a series that definitely gets better if you stick with it long enough and Season 2 has the opportunity to build on this solid foundation.
on 20 January 2015
I actually started watching this on TV, and wasn't exactly blown away by the first few episodes. They had their bright spots, but I found it surprisingly predictable (even clicheed) for a piece of work that Joss Whedon was involved in. Then I was away for a couple of weeks and forgot to record the episodes I missed, so didn't bother trying to catch up when I returned. A few weeks later I heard fantastic reviews from 3 or 4 different friends, so waited until the first season came out of Blu-ray and gave it another try. This was definitely the right decision! You find yourself becoming more and more drawn into the show as the episodes progress, and as the main plot line develops it takes the show in directions that are anything but clicheed. I was impatient to start the next episode as soon as the end credits began to roll each time. Give it your time, and you won't be disappointed.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on fire for the last decade -- it's had one box-office megahit after another, climaxing with the glorious "Avengers."
So it's not very surprising that it would get at least one TV show, based on the most popular character who wasn't in the comics -- Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg. "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season" starts out on a relatively mediocre note, before blossoming into a harrowing, dark story arc in the final third -- which sees everything that has been set up being blown apart.
It turns out that despite having been impaled in "The Avengers," Phil Coulson is very much alive and has made a full physical recovery... although he doesn't remember how. He's assembling a team to investigate bizarre superhuman events across the world, including the haunted super-agent May (Ming-Na Wen), the generically handsome Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) and cheery nerds Fitz and Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge).
Their first mission is to investigate a mysterious man with superhuman strength, who is also being approached by Skye (Chloe Bennet) who is part of a hacktivist anti-SHIELD group. Before long, Coulson and Co. discover that the superhuman strength comes from a serum, produced by a mysterious cabal run by the Clairvoyant. They also reluctantly add Skye to their group, because Coulson believes she could be an asset to SHIELD.
The odd little team investigates lost HYDRA tech, gravity inventions, an alien virus, the aftermath of an Asgardian battle on Earth, a "ghostly" attacker, more hacktivists, an Asgardian seductress, an ice machine, and the lingering mystery of what happened to Coulson. For the first two-thirds of the season, it's... okay. It's not as mind-blowingly good as the movies, and at times it felt like "SHIELD deals with the crisis of the week."
Then... "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" happened.
And suddenly the entire dynamic of the show changes. SHIELD is gone. HYDRA has erupted from its corpse. Coulson and the team are on the run, with no reliable backup and no one they can trust, especially since the government has now declared them terrorists. Furthermore, we soon discover that there is a traitor in their midst, which threatens to destroy whatever is left of SHIELD.
The first two-thirds of "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season" feels like a promising but not terribly engaging show, which lightly ties itself into the Marvel movies. Admittedly the Clairvoyant and Project Centipede arc is pretty intriguing at times, with explosive cybernetic eyes and a pseudo-supersoldier serum that makes people explode. But Coulson's team doesn't seem to make any actual progress toward defeating them.
But the final third of the season makes it all worth it -- a tight, dark, action-packed arc where all bets are off, and people who SEEMED totally trustworthy turn out to be cold-blooded traitors. And the Generic Evil Organization is revealed to be... well, a much older and more terrible enemy. Even better: this seems set to continue.
Joss Whedon serves as creator and executive producer for this series, and it has some of his signature mixture of shockingly dark content (how Coulson was resurrected) and quirky humor ("Don't touch Lola"). There's also a small amount of overlap with the Marvel movies, including guest appearances by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Jaimie Alexander as Sif, as well as references to HYDRA, the super-soldier serum, and the events of "The Avengers" and "Thor: The Dark World."
This series also allows Clark Gregg to really expand on the character of Coulson. While in the movies he's a capable, mildly cheery agent, his quest to discover why and how he's still alive -- and the terrible possible consequences -- allows Gregg to take Coulson to a darker, grimmer place. He still upholds SHIELD and the ideals that made him sign on, but he's not quite as blindly loyal.
Wen balances him nicely as a one-woman butt-kicking machine who is tormented by some of her darker actions, and whose friendship with Coulson is contaminated by doubt; Caestecker and Henstridge are a nice nerd duo who also provide mild comic relief. Bennett's Skye is the character who sticks out, though -- while the idea of a hacktivist against SHIELD is interesting, her inclusion on the team feels like a shallow attempt to appeal to younger TV viewers.
While it starts off feeling rather generic, "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season" explodes into brilliance in its last third -- just ride out the rest of the season, and pick up the clues that will make sense by the end. Definitely worth watching for fans of the Marvel movies.
This isnt going to have the likes of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America or The Hulk in every episode, this is about SHIELD, the secret agents lead by Agent Coulson from the Marvel movies last seen in Avengers Assemble getting killed by villain Loki and now mysteriously ressurrected as they investigate superpowered people and objects and other mysterious characters in the Marvel Universe. Yes there are references to the films and even the comics for the die hard Marvel fans with guest appearances from Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smoulders as Maria Hill and tie in episodes to Thor The Dark World and Captain America Winter Soldier but these are mostly brand new never seen before characters though obscure characters from the Marvel comics do appear later. The series starts off well, slows down in the middle then picks up again for a thrilling finale. Will be interesting to see where the series goes next as well as the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
on 7 April 2014
For a start, even for those who have never watched a Marvel film in their lives, the series is easy enough to understand. Plotlines follow on from the movie Avengers Assemble, straight into this series, but things are explained briefly anyway. It follows Agent Phil Coulson and his team at S.H.I.E.L.D, who, under the guide of Agent Nick Fury, aim to protect earth from the dangers of superhero and alien invasion.
Whilst the series does start off a little slow, and sometimes the episodes can be watched out of order, by halfway through I was completely addicted; one night I even watched 5 in a row! I've been watching it online and have about 7 episodes to go until the finale, and Holy c**p!! As it goes on there are more twists and turns, there are Asgardian warriors visiting earth, unknown alien viruses threatening civilisation, and advanced technology unlike the team have ever seen before.
The last part of the season (from around episode 14 onwards) is incredible, each episode delivering plenty of "OH MY GOD" moments, for many different reasons.
My favourite character is Agent Melinda May - she completely kicks ass!
I adore this show, and desperately hope it gets renewed for a second season.
It’s taken a little bit of time, but I have gotten pulled into the Marvel cinematic universe. I’ve especially enjoyed how all the movies are connected in some way. So when ABC announced the creation of Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. for this last TV season, I knew I’d be watching. It had some rough spots, but in the end I was glad I stuck with it.
Set in the world of the movies, the TV show follows a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who travel around the world on a souped-up plane protecting the rest of the humans from super natural threats. The team is lead by Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Yes, that Agent Coulson, and how he survived what appeared to be a fatal incident in The Avengers provides one of the season’s long mystery arcs. Also on the team are Agents Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), two top notch agents at fighting and tactics. Then there are Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), two super smart scientists who are also good friends. And then there’s Skye (Chloe Bennett), a hacker with an unknown past the team meets in the first episode who Coulson invites along and proves to provide a little help as well as cause some problems.
So just what kind of things to they encounter? Well, there are the people found dead in the forest with nothing around them. There’s a bus that starts floating. Simmons contacts an alien virus. Ward starts reliving his worst memories. And they must help Lady Sif track down an escaped Asgardian prisoner.
The show started out with monster ratings, which slowly declined as the season wore on. Part of that was justified since the show had some freshman year struggles as they found their way and their characters. Personally, I thought they focused too much on Skye early on and left the rest of the characters underdeveloped until late in the season.
But the other part of people’s frustration with the show is the fault of expectations and producer Joss Whedon. Yes, he’s highly involved in the S.H.I.E.L.D. universe right now since he wrote and directed The Avengers and is working on all the films since then. And his TV credits include the much loved Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. However, it’s been over a decade since those hits were on TV, and the landscape has changed. Back when they were on the air, story arcs were rarer and not as driving to TV shows as they are today. His own shows are often pointed out as having pioneered it. Yet if you look at them, each season featured a villain (the "Big Bad"), but we often went weeks without seeing or hearing much from them until the final third of the season. Then they take center stage and become all consuming. That is the style of storytelling employed here. Much of the early season features stand alone stories with just hints at the bigger pieces and mysteries that will be tackled later. I think people got tired of waiting for more to come and started to leave the show.
Remember I mentioned earlier how all the films are connected? This show fits perfectly in that universe. Early in the season, we get minor references to the Thor sequel and even a couple of guest stars from the movies, including Samuel L. Jackson.
Then something interesting happens about the time Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out. The show changed dramatically as a result of that film. Suddenly, it was like they were in full gear and each episode became outstanding. In some ways, it’s a shame they had to wait so long to get going, but the end result was definitely worth it.
This does make me wonder where they will be going with season two and how it will tie in to the Avengers sequel. It sounds like they are all working together, so only time will tell.
I do know some of the villains who show up in the show are villains from the comic books. Since I never read them as a kid, I had to catch the references on line, but I still find that very fun.
This show certainly never skimped on the effects or action budget. While never quite movie awesome, they certainly had their fair of great fights and chases and outstanding effects.
Likewise, the acting was good. The characters are definite Whedon tropes, but I warmed up to them once I finally got to know all of them.
This season is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray and will feature all 22 episodes in their native wide screen and full surround. Extras will include audio commentaries on some of the episodes, deleted scenes, and a gag reel. Additionally, there's a look at the comic con panel that introduced the show before season one aired, and two looks behind the scenes, one at the sets for some of their stunts, and another for a special effects. Finally, they included the TV special look at the Marvel movie universe that aired part way through the season.
So if you never gave the show a chance or wrote it off part way through, now’s the time to go back and catch up on season one of Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Once you get through the enjoyable but slow early episodes, you’ll be rewarded with an outstanding final run of episodes.
on 19 May 2015
I had negative vibes about this show from its first announcement. The idea that Coulson's death in 'The Avengers (Avengers Assemble)' would be made redundant just didn't sit well with me. However I was willing to give it a shot. The pilot aired on Channel 4 and I thought it was ok. The characters seemed a bit two dimensional and the story a little 'iffy'! As it followed on from 'Iron Man 3', which still has left a bad taste in my mouth! Then with episodes 2 and 3, I had lost all hope for the show. Fast forward to 2015 and I had some spare cash and decided to pick up the Blu-ray set. I again had the negative views of episodes 1-3, but then it started getting good...really good. The links and references to the MCU movies could at times feel a little forced but most were well integrated and solidified Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as part of that universe.
This series follows Coulson and his team of selected Agents on there missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. For the most part the characters are just ok. The emotionless Ward and May brought the whole team vibe down. Skye shows much more emotion and really is the onscreen version of you (the audience) she asked the questions, goes against protocol when she feels right, and puts her foot down, much like you do as a viewer but obviously you can't be heard! Coulson is much the same as he was in his cameo's and role in the movies, just brought to TV. The two stand out characters for me are Fitz and Simmons. They seem like the unlikely heroes, they do as their told and get the job done. However from what seemed as the side characters at the start, really develops into an amazing array of talent and they became my favourite characters by far!
There are moments of weakness in the story, but for the most part it pretty good. The revelation of Coulson's revival is good, if not a bit strange, but thats how the MCU has gone in the past few years. And the end of the series has particular highlights as it integrates into the events of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'.
Overall would I say Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is worth your time. Absolutely! Its fun, sad, shocking and great family viewing. Yes it has a shaky start but it really picks up from episode 4 onwards and you will find yourself watching 3-4 episodes a night! I await the release of Season 2 as I see no point in trying to catch up on Channel 4 as it nearly over, and with Season 3 confirmed I can only imagine it has been received as well as this season!
on 9 August 2014
At times it feels small scale and shot in 1 studio in downtown somewhere. But the cameos just keep popping up, the tie-ins to the Hollywood blockbusters are in a holding pattern ready to drop by and add gravitas.
The attention to plot devices and personalities is pretty top spec though. They really play well off each other.
'Yeah, we're going to have to kill the fish-tank'. Just one of the LoL moments I experienced.....
Set across the background of Marvel's Phase Two ('Iron Man 3', 'Thor: The Dark World' & 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier') this series follows the resurrected Agent Phil Coulson of SHIELD (stabbed by Loki in 'The Avengers') as he puts together a special detachment of agents to tackle the mysteries and baddies that no-one else can. His team includes two veteran special operatives, a pair of brilliant young scientists and a hacker who was once opposed to SHIELD. In their adventures they encounter various famous faces of the Marvel Universe including Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Lady Sif, Blackout, Blizzard and Deathlok.
This series can be roughly divided into three acts; in the first the team struggles to gel, in the second the team begins to bond and work together effectively and in the third the rise of Hydra throws everything into chaos. The second act makes for some fun viewing as the disparate elements of the team come together to tackle problems such as alien virus and burgeoning supervillians. It also begins to explore the histories of each character, but with particular focus on Coulson's quest to uncover the details of his miraculous revival. The third act is by far the best, however. The team is deep into their mission to find the mysterious mastermind known as the Clairvoyant when the events of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' throw SHIELD into chaos, causing everyone to question the loyalties of their friends and allies. The series made a brave choice with just how far it goes with this, genuinely surprising me as to the natures of some of the characters we've come to know. Throw in a mix of espionage action and the odd supervillain and what's not to like. It's also worth noting that Clark Gregg's Coulson is the glue which holds everything together - who knew where that mild-mannered secondary character in 'Iron Man' would eventually end up!
You may notice above that I didn't expand on the first act and it's there that Agents of SHIELD really struggles. I know many people who were put off by how the series begins and therefore never saw it through to the awesome episodes of the final act. The problem is that, to begin with, everything's a bit... kitch. The agents all seem too good-looking and offer too-much exposition without offering any depth to the characters and the actual stories seem a bit like rejected X-Files scripts which someone then dumbed-down and made PG-13. If you're the sort of person who can't sit through a bit of bad stuff to get to the good stuff, then really don't bother with this series (or maybe just skip the first few episodes).
on 4 September 2014
I went in, pretty excited at the prospect of Joss Whedon being involved with this. Love Firefly, and thought his Dollhouse was great, though it was a long and slow build-up for the latter. Following the success of the Marvel movies, particularly the Avengers, I think everyone, including myself expected something else than what we got with the pilot. Although it would be unrealistic to think we'd get mini Marvel movies, I imagined a fairly gritty, heavy-hitting, action-filled show where we would finally get to see the full breadth and impact of SHIELD that we haven't really seen in the movies. Epic stories, quinjets, heli-carriers, large task-forces, and characters from the comics like Clay Quartermain. The combination of Whedon and Marvel. Firefly had come before. It had to be awesome, right?
Then the pilot aired. A small group of unknown, very young, inexperienced SHIELD operatives bantering like they were in a rom-com, being silly and not doing a whole lot and overall being quite lame. Too cutesy, no edge. After watching this, I felt the same as I felt after watching the Phantom Menace for the first time. Emptiness. What on earth was that piece of junk??? I watched the following 4 episodes, which in my mind didn't improve things a whole lot, and I gave up on the show completely, dismissing it as the very definition of boredom and mediocrity and the worst show I'd seen in ages.
Then, while abroad I caught the show from start by accident. And the weirdest thing happened. I liked it. Suddenly all the things I had disliked before changed before my very eyes as I watched it, and transformed itself into familiar Whedonesque prose. All at once, the pacing, plot and characters made sense. It was funny, cool and a lot more edgy than what I felt the first time. I decided to stick with it until the end. And boy am I glad I did. The show is still a slow burn, it takes a while before it gets properly good. I'd say episode 7 or 8 or so is where it begins to improve. By 11-12-13 it's getting really interesting, and from 15-16 onwards the show has found its stride for sure. Patience is rewarded here.
I think a lot of viewers gave up on this show quite early, like me. Due to the relatively "boring" first episodes, that seemed to be totally non-related to each other, monster of the week kind of thing. I had heard that a lot of people had said it was still worth giving a shot as it improved a lot. I didn't believe in it. But they were right. All the things I wanted from the first episode was eventually shown throughout the series. The BIG SHIELD in action (not just this tiny group), super villain(s), super hero(es) and an engaging and original storyline. (But don't expect Hulk, Cap or Iron man popping up here) And characters to care about. The characters, even the ones I thought were the most annoying and/or bland to begin with grew on me to the point where I now actually kind of love them.
While not my favourite TV show, (still Firefly and Game of Thrones), Agents of SHIELD has proved itself to be a great show, turning darker, more complex and thrilling by the episode. I used to think that I wished this TV show was more like the SHIELD portrayed in the Winter soldier, which is what I had wanted all along. Turned out that's what it turned into during the 22 episodes, only more interesting as TV has more time to really let you get to know the characters. It's not a perfect show by any means, there's still a fair few things that can be improved upon, and thus room to grow in season 2. But it is something completely different than what I took it for initially. It is now a show worthy of having the name SHIELD attached to it. Combining it with an Agent Carter mini-series for the next season sounds like a great plan. I for one is looking forward to it, and to get this blu-ray of season 1 into my collection of Marvel Studios Blu-rays, as I can't wait to rewatch it again.