Agents Of SHIELD is like the best of Buffy and Avengers

Spoiler-free preview of Agents Of SHIELD episode 1, coming to Channel 4 on 27 September 2013

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Cobie Smulders returns as Agent Maria Hill in Agents Of SHIELD's pilot episode
Cobie Smulders returns as Agent Maria Hill in Agents Of SHIELD’s pilot episode

We’ve seen the first episode of Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD, and can confirm it’s every bit as brilliant as you hoped it would be.

The pilot is packed with comic-book wisecracks (look out for the spin on Spidey’s motto), geeky jokes (Ward: “I don’t think Thor is technically a god.” Hill: “You haven’t been near his arms”) and references to the attack on New York in Avengers Assemble (complete with flashback footage of the film). It still feels very much a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe despite being on the small screen, and the production values are no less impressive.

There’s plenty of action moments but, unsurprisingly, it’s the script that stands out.

Bringing together a diverse bunch of characters is one of Joss Whedon’s specialties, as demonstrated on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly, and this ensemble make a great first impression. Computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet) reminds us of Eliza Dushku’s Faith – all sassy face and quick comebacks.

It turns out she’s just as obsessed with superheroes as the rest of us, and when she’s inadvertently sucked into the shady world of SHIELD she becomes the conduit for the viewer. The rest of the team is comprised of a pair of bickering British scientists, a battle-scarred pilot and a kick-ass field agent, who are smoothly assembled by fan favourite Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson.

The cast of Agents Of SHIELD
The cast of Agents Of SHIELD, headed by Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson

We’ve all been dying to discover how he was resurrected from the dead (we last saw him skewered by Loki), but don’t get your hopes up. This mystery is going to be a slow burner. Coulson’s entrance more than makes up for that, though, and he’s every bit as funny and warm as he was in Avengers. He anchors the episode, with a little help from Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), who returns to neatly link the movies to the TV show.

The team’s first mission is to track down the ‘Hooded Hero’, real name Mike Peterson – a laid-off factory worker struggling to make ends meet. He’s played by a wearier J August Richards (Gunn on Angel) and lands himself on SHIELD’s radar after a public display of his super-powered strength.

There’s no real tension and the conclusion is a little too convenient, but the character serves his purpose, bringing this human version of the Avengers together and raising questions about the morality of SHIELD that’s sure to be a running theme throughout the season.

We can see this fast-becoming our new favourite show, and one that the whole family can enjoy.

Agents Of SHIELD begins 27 September 2013 on Channel 4. You can buy Avengers Assemble on DVD for £10.99 or on Blu-ray for £14.99 from Amazon.co.uk

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