After conquering cinema, it was only logical that Marvel would branch out to find their next conquest and it wasn’t long before they announced plans to take it up a notch by downsizing and turning their attention towards the small screen.
At first I was majorly excited for this (in fact, I kind of predicted it – damn! I should have written that down) then I was overcome by the realisation that this could be a horrible mistake and budget restrictions could make it stick out of the Cinematic Universe like a Demi-God in Midgard.
This wash of trepidation soon cleared as the pilot episode drew closer but the episode ultimately failed to hit the sweet spot.
No likeable characters
One of the greatest qualities to Whedon’s writing is the ability to carry a strong team of well thought-out players that would work just as well on their own, enabling each one the opportunity to act as a main character, rather than one name carrying the story and a number of background figures.
However, we don’t see that here as we’re offered an ensemble of mostly unlikeable, easily forgettable characters.
With the more forgiving nature of TV, we can brush that off as something to be built upon in future episodes, but I actually found myself irritated by just how offbeat some characters were… Mainly the plucky Scot, Fitz and his “I wish I was Emma Watson” counterpart, Simmons.
The only consistent cast member was pre-existing, fan favourite, Agent Coulson. Which brings me onto my next point.
Coulson is different
No, not in a “he’s a life model decoy” way – I have another theory about that. In a sense that the character has been written differently.
Previously, Coulson has been a company man. Everything he did was for the love of his country and a love for his work at S.H.I.E.L.D as Nick Fury’s “one good eye”,
now we see him in charge of his own team and even becoming emotionally invested in the mission as we saw his outburst at being told that something can’t be done. Something that the Son of Coul would not have done.
Could this be to do with the mystery as to how he’s back from the dead? Sure. Could he be finding his feet in the role of team leader? Absolutely. Am I nitpicking? Maybe, but you’re reading my opinions so shove it.
Bullshit Plot Devices
S.H.I.E.L.D are not the Time Variance Authority. They’re basically a SWAT team against aliens. They use the occasional experimental jet, they do not have access to smelling robots and giant sniper stun guns.
It may have been the fact that it was a scene led by the aforementioned fuckwits, Fitz and Simmons but as the covert task force analysed the debris from the lab, I became sickened by the poorly thought out plot device that meant they need a robot that could analyse the room better than any human could.
It was quickly over so I let it slide but then, as the episode reached it’s peak, they pulled out another in the form of a non-lethal sniper rifle enabling the team to remove the centipede of super drugs attached to Mike’s arm. Not cool.
To further this point, blue lights don’t make something futuristic and cars have no business flying in a non-spoof sci-fi. Even if it is a throwback to Captain America: The First Avenger.
Plot Device Bullshit
Away from the thinly veiled happily ever afters, there is the matter of what was causing the episodes main antagonist, Mike, to gain super powers.
Careful, this bit might contain spoilers.
Throughout the episode they piece together bits of information, including; gamma radiation, super soldier serum and extremis.
Yes, it’s nice when they reference other properties in the story but while extremis and gamma radiation were both attempts at recreating the super soldier program that created Cap, they are not the same thing.
One created the Hulk and the other gave Pepper Potts a healing factor in Iron Man 3.
It might seem like I have no love for the show, while it’s fair to say that it didn’t meet my expectations, I still feel compelled to watch the series pan out. It’s the same with the movies. I’m not a huge Thor fan but I enjoyed the movie because of the universe it tied into.
I’m confident that the show will improve as it progresses but feel that a successful franchise branching out like this meant there was little pressure for Marvel and Disney to make the pilot a show stopper.
In the meantime, here’s some praise that others had;
— Rudy Trevizo (@Rudy_Trev) September 30, 2013
— Scooby-Doom! (@TheScoobyDoom) September 30, 2013
— Robert White (@VersusComicbook) September 30, 2013
— Alex Tee (@RockItRaccoon) September 30, 2013