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September 24 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The first episode is titled "Pilot" and was written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen and directed by Joss Whedon.

I saw the pilot at Comic Con!!!

Loved loved it!!! :D I'm not too crazy about Skye, but... we'll see!

Love the rest of the cast though!!! This show has awesome potential.
Jossy dialogue. So good to have that back on TV!

And JAR and Ron Glass, plus Cobie Smulders! Yay!

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-09-25 01:14 ]
I know it's probably not really news to anyone (including myself) but I can't help myself - I just saw Shepard Book!
Ron Glass, y'all! Did we know this?

So far, totally happy. And loving what I've seen - so far - of the lead cast. Hope Cobie Smulders can guest some more.

OK, back to the set. Couldn't resist a mid-show post.

[ edited by javelina on 2013-09-25 01:16 ]
I've been trying to stay spoiler free- and so glad that I am. Love seeing Whedon- alumni J August Richards and Ron Glass already. I wish they weren't just guest stars. But I guess that Whedon alumni list is growing by leaps and bounds, right. I loved seeing NPH and Nathan DANCING on the Emmy's on Sunday. Ok, back to the show.
I'm now dying to know whatever it is Coulson can never know. The delivery of that line suggested it is something dire.
I so love seeing "Directed by Joss Whedon". Gives me goosebumps.
Wait what, was that a Summer Glau hello :D
Some really instant classic lines so far and loved seeing Ron Glass :) Coulson's
It was a dark corner and I just couldn't resist. I think the light bulb is burned out."

ETA: "Reasonable andÖ firmÖ"

"What? I would notÖ one time!"
Hellbound, love that hehe.

Stupid hovering quad's though
Loved loved loved the turn-around with the truth serum. Also the "Asgardian Mussolini" line.

[ edited by javelina on 2013-09-25 01:49 ]
I'm waiting for the first new member who chooses the name "Gramsy."

Favorite line so far, "By luck, I mean unappreciated genius."

Wow, it's fun to have episodic TV to talk about again!
Ok, a mix of Dollhouse and Firefly! Nice
It's been a long time :). YAY!
Classic kill again :(
Love the red Corvette :D
The Mutant Enemy logo at the end was the cherry on top.
By far my favorite part - the return of the 'GrrÖargh' Mutant Enemy monster :).
Did we know this was a Mutant Enemy production?
wow-wow-wow, guys, this is.... i just have a lot of feelings...... it's the first whedon show i watch live, so bear with me.. PERF
I have a crush on Coulson's sneaky-smart management style.
This is the start of something beautiful. All I can say is squeeeeee!!
Someone on Twitter suggests that Lola was Howard Stark's car - can anyone confirm?
Great premiere.It was a good thing I watched the Iron Man 3 Blu Ray right before this since the pilot brought in Extremis.

I loved all the characters and I think now Coulson is a LMD.
Was very happy to see Ron Glass- what a nice surprise. Was happy to see the ME ending again. Lots of goodness here and I was sort of expecting to be disappointed, but this was excellent- and nice touch at the end (not the car, but the real end before the coda). A Joss surprise, I guess. Interested to see how this develops and how the mythos is built.
I was surprised when JAR went bad. He makes a good anti-hero. I hope he comes back. I thought he was dead at the end and was about to get annoyed but the show quickly confirmed his survival. Am I the only one who likes Skye?
eddy, yes. If Joss Whedon is an executive producer it will have his vanity label which is Mutant Enemy. The actual studios involved are ABC Studios and Marvel Television.
I loved seeing the Mutant Enemy logo on TV again. Keep the episodes coming.
grrrr, did CTV Canada cut off the Mutant Enemy logo at the end, or did I miss it?
I didn't get to hear the ME monster 'cos there was a voice over for the upcoming premier on top of it. *pout*
I'm loving all the characters. And yes, I almost cried when Mutant Enemy showed up in screen. Grrr Argh.
Grrr Arrgh! J August Richards is the best in this. And: FitzSimmons. Really enjoyed it, would watch if I stumbled in as funny and fun.
Our cable cut out five minutes before the show, and it only returned halfway through :(

What I did see was very good. The tone felt a little restrained compared to shows from other networks, but we are starting out on a brave new world.

I have no problems with any of the characters, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them in the weeks (hopefully years) to come!

Also some nice ties ins to the movies. How much can we speculate here? If Extremis made an appearance, can a certain cabal of scientific terrorists be far behind? ;)
SpaceGuy, apparently to many, the Mutant Enemy part had no sound, so a lot of people missed it. I missed it. :(

Did anybody notice the breaking the fourth wall commentary on tropes of fridging people in comics in the "Third option/Never tell me there's no way" Coulson speech?

The shout-outs to all sorts of Marvel and Comic concepts, the "Angel" reference, the "Dr. Horrible" reference, the use of the music similar to the music that played at the end of Pepper's fight scene from Iron Man 3 to tell us that Mike (JAG)
would be okay from Extremis?

SO MANY LAYERS. There were some weak starts but overall, I think this is going to be awesome. Tying together threads from the Marvel cinematic universe while opening up new stories and hinting and teasing with the "Doctor" and the "Tahiti" parts of the plot? I can't calm down. So. Excited.
Also, toward the middle of the show #AgentsofShield, #SHIELD, #Ron Glass, and #Shepherd Book were ALL trending in the top seven Twitter trends WORLDWIDE!
If anybody missed the episode, it's reairing this Thursday on ABC. If you're international, chance are it's airing in your area within the next few weeks (probably this week).
I LOVED it, and I was way overexcited so I thought I could be disppointed.

I need to rewatch but I especially loved J. August Richards as The Hooded Hero.

I almost cried when I thought that he died and it's the pilot.

I'm not going to survive a real time broadcast of a Whedony show am I?

My pic of the credits came out blurry but there's always next week!!!!! Wooooooot!!!!
I really liked the truth serum. It was a great way to show how Coulson wasn't gonna be a by the books sorta guy, and it showed the hidden depths to Ward quickly.

The Shepherd being in the know was great, as was Hill's line about Thor's arms ;)
They've split Topher into two, oh my!
I saw a very fast Grr AArgh monster but he was silent. Really enjoyed the snark of Agent Coulson and it really was wonderful to see Ron Glass there. J. August's speech towards the end was perfectly delivered. Still not sold on the main characters but I expect that will come.
With all this location shoot, the show show looks so different from almost anything we had in previous Whedon shows (except for some amazingly shots scenes from Dollhouse).

Really looking forward for following episodes where we'll see characters play with different permutations.

Even though The Cabin in the Woods were a Mutant Enemy production, the Grrrh Arghh monster was nowhere to be seen there, so last time we saw him was back in the end of Dollhouse, so exciting to see it again at the end of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Some of things traditionals would call flipping things, I was actually expecting and I was glad it happened, Like Coulson using the truth serum on Ward, for example.

Complementing what gossi just said, if your country airs it on a basic cable channel, it'll be very likely that it'll be rerun during the weekend.

Wonder what will be the pace of how or if we'll learn what Tahiti is really all about.
I don't really have the words to express my excitement and happiness and amazing and grr argh
I can't wipe the grin off my face. The pilot's production values were off the chain, and it was packed with so many great moments. Its tone very much fit in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I hope all of the episodes don't move at such a break-neck pace. Extended talk-y scenes can be enjoyable from time to time. Overall, my expectations for the pilot were vastly exceeded. Bring on 0-8-4!
@hann23 -A real-time broadcast is a wonderful thing. I still remember every moment of "The Gift" because I had NO IDEA what was going to go down. It was brilliant. So was tonight.
Love Coulson so much, and the red convertible at the end, so cool.
Yep almost shed a tear when I saw the Mutant Enemy Logo, and Grr Arrgh- tho couldn't hear it. So I thought ME was no longer? "Disbanned"?? a couple of years ago. Anyone know anything about this?
Great start. Can't wait to see more.
I'm just stoked another Whedon show is on the air. J. August Richards' performance in his final scene was incredibly moving. That scene had to have been written by Joss.
Mutant Enemy is back around and has been since Dollhouse. I almost crapped myself when I thought Thingy had been shot. Thingy for spoilers.
This show looks like it has all the hallmarks of a Joss Whedon production (impeccable casting, snappy dialogue, constant plot subversion, etc.) save one: the opening theme music! Firefly, BtVS, Angel, Dr. Horrible, and even Dollhouse all had great opening theme songs that perfectly captured the tone of the series, yet Agents of SHIELD has just a quick shot of a title card rather than an opening sequence.

Hopefully, it was just cut out for time from the pilot, and we'll be treated to some great Bear McCreary number next week over the title credits.
They've split Topher into two, oh my!

@z I thought exactly the same thing.

And let me join the chorus in saying I was so happy to see the Mutant Enemy monster again. But way too little Ron Glass.
Doing happy dances and wearing a big silly grin. Loved everything, but especially the dialogue, and especially the layers about who the bad guys are, and Mike's bit of bewildered speech about knowing he CAN be a hero. And welcome back Mutant Enemy logo!
My favourite scene was easily Grant being truth serum'd. Did not expect that nor the hilarity that followed. "Gramsie? ;_;"

The pilot was fantastic, though! Totally tuning in next week. I don't think there's a single cast member I dislike, they're all fun and quirky in their own way.

@zeitgeist: Ha, I thought the same thing. And let me add, Skye seems to have some of that activist fire that Caroline had. Good stuff, Skye's awesome. :)
Yeah. Mike's speech was great. That whole sequence was just great. After this last season of Doctor Who, I had almost forgotten how good pacing can be in TV. It was impeccable here.

Can we talk about Bear McCreary's score. Very cinematic. I love the Coulson theme.
eddy, I love Skye! She was my favorite actually. I think the episode wouldn't have worked so well without her zippy energy (something I was worried about when I felt the beginning of Avengers dragged with the heavy emphasis on super serious SHIELD time).

I thought the climax was very moving with JAR/Mike Peterson's crisis -- how the little guy's never enough nowadays, how being simply human is somehow subpar. I thought it did wonderful things for positioning SHIELD as genuine defenders of humanity as opposed to scary, secretive suits. Just like when Coulson truth-serum'd Grant instead of Skye -- the people on the ground are the priority, the ones the Agents of SHIELD answer to.

I couldn't help but notice similarities to Gunn's arc in AtS Season 5: being juiced up to be something more, trying desperately to stay relevant/keep his job on the team. Only here, JAR's character gets to have a happy ending -- the SHIELD agents arrive to defend humanity just in the nick of time, whereas tragedy reined on AtS and well...

SHIELD then is the fantasy where the secret organizations are actually working for the common good of people (as opposed to orchestrating the Apocalypse). It's a hopeful ideal. Or at least, it is when Coulson's in charge.

[ edited by Emmie on 2013-09-25 03:33 ]
Long time reader - first time commenter

Loved how everyone had a hinted at backstory:

Ward: "Given your family history ..."
Skye: "I've done this before .."(When deleting Mike's personal history)
Melinda May: "Not going back in the field"

And of course the Coulson bit - I've come around to thinking he really DID die in Avengers. He's a LMD who doesn't know it Lots of character development groundwork for the weeks ahead

Thanks for having me!
LDM, right? That's related to my theory. I'm pretty sure I know what "Tahiti" really is.
Based on my read of Coulson as the central humanizing agent behind the Agents of SHIELD, his being a LMD would be very interesting way down the line.
I loved it loved it loved it.

I do feel like some parts went a bit too fast, but I felt like we got a good introduction to the main characters, so it wasn't too bad. Also I hope it doesn't get too stuck in procedural land, though it is network television.

But it felt so good to watch a Joss show on TV again.
Loved it! I too. Liked Skye and squeeled when I saw Mutant Enemy!
Good but not great. I felt the score was distracting, as were the production values. Coulson and Hill do not like they came out of the Avengers movie. In comparison to the Avengers, it's like SHIELD is filmed on a microbudget. I like old school Joss, not current modern Joss, so I wasn't all that into it. Still, I'll continue to watch, just 'cause.

[ edited by watcherinthewoods on 2013-09-25 03:48 ]
So Coulson LMD have Coulson's real brain stuff like Buffybot 2.0 in S9 of comics?

^ The slayer is a robot! Did anyone else know the slayer is a robot?
I really, really enjoyed the show.

Somehow I managed to stay relatively spoiler free, so was pleasantly surprised to see some (unexpected) familiar faces.

I like the general tone, I think it should work well, longer term.

The last shot of the episode was fun, I hope that kind of little surprise becomes a standard feature. Neat.
watcherinthewoods, I don't know if the budget distracted me, but now that you mention it I did notice the score several times and found it odd. Who was the composer?
The composer was Bear McCreary, who is amazing (BSG, among other things). I actually really liked the score, but I feel like the sound mixing might have been a bit off. I struggled to hear dialogue occasionally, and some of the ambient noises were surprisingly distracting.
Did anybody else get flashbacks of Back To The Future's ending with the Lola reveal at the end?


This is sort of ironic.The same night Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs.Right after in fact,DC Comics/The WB announces,"Gothan" a new series on FOX following a young Detective James Gordon before he meets Batman.

This announcement right after AOS premiere can't be a coincidence.
Giles_314- Bear McCreary is the composer. He's done a lot of stuff, including the Walking Dead and Battlestar Galactica. Good stuff! I'm waiting for the taiko drums to kick in...(haven't watched the pilot yet- maybe they did!)
Also thought it was good, but far from great. I just feel like I watched an extended trailer, with lots of short scenes in lots of different locations.
It felt like a presentation, which is part of what a pilot is, but it didn't really go beyond. So I guess I'm disappointed, especially because it might be the only Joss episode of the season, but I like all the characters, and I'm confident the upcoming episodes will be better.

And a show like "Agents of SHIELD" really needs an opening credits, I think that was a big mistake. I mean, couldn't we at least get a 10sec opening like "Breaking Bad" ?
Is was not impressed at the start, mostly due to the setting, which felt smallish and fake, but think it quickly got better. As mentioned by many above, I love having the classic Whedon dialog back on the small screen. Not so mention the small plot twists we so all love (mostly thinking of the truth serum)!

All in all, I think it looks really promising!
Opening credits? It's 2013. Not many shows really do that anymore, unless it serves a purpose. Game of Thrones uses this to establish where everything is and Walking Dead does it to set the mood with its music. I don't think this show needs credits.

Nice premiere, like most of you I enjoyed it.
@TallMichaelJ: I did notice that too! I was pretty impressed, considering they also had to establish the characters, the setting, and the overall premise of the show. Seems like the only characters who don't have secrets are Fitz and Simmons. Which makes me wonder. :p
I've been fascinated by the notion of a Whedonesque take on S.H.I.E.L.D. because it places us literally on the side of the people with black helicopters. Team Riley aside, that's not traditionally in the wheelhouse. Pleased to see the pilot build on that (MCU-canonical) tension: Coulson's team is the one that finds the third option between inaction and "crossing 'em off." Interested in how that recurring theme of ideals vs pragmatism—e.g., AtS S5, Echo/Caroline in Dollhouse—will play out given the practical corporate need to maintain the status quo. (This is not a show for which an apocalypse is a viable ending.)

Pity about the emphasis on Chloe Bennet's cleavage, and the "physical therapist" and "equipment" jokes; but I guess it wouldn't be a Whedon project without the self-consciously juvenile approach to sex. Far more pandering is the sickeningly twee Whovian/Potteresque crossover crackfic of Fitz/Simmons, which has me actively rooting for the show to bring the pain to these characters as soon as possible. But that's okay, I'm not going anywhere and those beats might help engage someone else long enough for the spell to take hold. That's what a pilot is for.
Angel&Faith - erm, GoT, Walking Dead, Mad Men, and many other shows still do opening credits sequences. Admittedly there are a number of shows who do very abbreviated opens (New Girl, Breaking Bad, etc.), but there really are a lot who still do a fairly long traditional credits sequence.

structuregeek - I think sickeningly twee is pushing it a bit far, but I did think "Oh look, they've split Topher in two and they expect us to love them given the amount of screen time/zingers they are giving them...". The Chloe cleavage served a narrative purpose in the moment, that while thin, didn't actually bother me.
Side note, I thought it funny that they started in New York then did a quick cut to the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, some super hero clips then back to New York.

I'ts almost like they want us to think the Shibuya crossing is really in New York.
Nothing really to add, except that I felt all warm and giddy watching something Whedony on TV again.
It is definitely good to have a Joss show back on tv! So far I'm very intrigued - all the characters are interesting, the dialog is witty and self-aware, the storyline has a lot of potential. There is humor, action, and yet underneath it an exploration on what it means to live in a world where there are superheroes, what it is to be a hero, a dysfunctional group of people becoming a team, and of course a subtle hint of darkness as to what's really going on with Coulson being alive. This was quite a strong start, I look forward to what comes next! Here's hoping Agents of SHIELD sticks around for a few seasons.
It was fine-ish. I was invested in Mike's story, but I thought Skye was weak and it never mustered much in the way of excitement. The BACK TO THE FUTURE riff ending made me roll my eyes instead of exciting me for what comes next.

I'll give it two more episodes, but if it stays at this level I'm probably out.

[ edited by The Dark Shape on 2013-09-25 05:05 ]
Thanks to my mute filters *and* everyone who played fair this summer and let me watch unspoiled. Pilot satisfied all my months of anticipation and didnít disappoint me. Itís early for everyone yet, so pilot rests heavily upon the sheer un-opposable moral force of Clark Gregg's Coulson. (I'd defy you to let him down if he looked you int he eye and said it was on you.) That said, I think Elizabeth Henstridge is going to be the one to watch here. Loved how Ming-Na Wen subtly suggested a kind of nostalgia at Coulsonís sense of humor.

ETA: Coulson's sheer moral determination to save Mike, and insist everyone was capable of doing that, remind me of the moral sense behind what Joss once said about his development hell'd Goners (slightly adapted for a TV context): "Itís an antidote to Ö [the television show] with the expendable human beings in it. Because I donít believe any human beings are."

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-09-25 05:14 ]
I really enjoyed it! Have remained totally spoiler free, I've seen pictures of the cast and the ads for the show on tv but haven't read any articles or watched any internet videos. I knew I'd watch it because it was a new Joss Whedon show. So from the beginning seeing familiar names in the opening credits and especially Joss Whedon's name I was already smiling. Was thrilled to see JAR and especially thrilled to see Ron Glass! I liked all the characters, thought the show was fun and fast paced and again was thoroughly thrilled to see "Mutant Enemy" pop up at the end!!
Did it say "Mutant Enemy, Inc." or "Mutant Enemy, Etc."? I think my vision has gone to complete crap because I swore it said the latter which would be weird and make little to no sense.
With the first glimpse of the inside of the "Bus", I had such a giddy Firefly flashback with the additional thought of "Oh, look, Serenity has a spiral staircase."

In general, I think it was a great fast paced action pilot. I do look forward to more chances for character development in the episodes to come.

Grrr, Arrrg - my happy beating heart.

[ edited by Zannadoo on 2013-09-25 05:45 ]
My biggest problem with it is that this felt a lot like NCIS with a superhero coat of paint, and I'm bored to death by procedurals.
Hooray, I'm not going blind!
Was Skye written for Eliza Dushku?
The Dark Shape, the actress playing Skye and the way the character was written also made me think of Eliza Dushku and I could picture her in the role.
How about that gender ratio, eh? Nice that it's pretty much one to one.
Skye wasn't written for Eliza.

The line about their RSA encryption implementation being cracked amused me, as RSA was cracked yesterday.

[ edited by gossi on 2013-09-25 06:05 ]
I thought it was super TV - great script & cast (lottsa women, too), and awesome production values (those looming S.H.I.E.L.D logo graphics plastered everywhere please me no end).

Obviously more character development will come, but I'm already interested by what *was* revealed... and I have several theories about Coulson's "time in Tahiti". ; ]

Wherever/however he spent it, I'm delighted to imagine someone reading "Pale Gray for Guilt" to him while he recovered/grew a clone/whatevered.

Mr. QG also loved it, and he seriously has watched almost no TV in months - just a few episodes of "Family Tree". (Christoper Guest! Michael McKean! Nina Conti!)

Ooh, plus: Union Station! The downtown liberry! (That spectacular fall by our Gentleman Tweeter, J. August Richards.)

Congrats to all involved - I think we got a winner on our hands.

(I too thank everyone for helping to keep me spoiler-free. I didn't watch clips, either, just the first trailer, so I was all Fresh and Innocent as a Daisy going in... which was fun and novel.)
I liked it. I didn't love it.

I'm interested by the hints of layers in the characters (Melinda's reluctance to do field work; Skye's erasure of her own identity; and, of course, the question of Coulson's "death" and whether he knows what really happened).

But I didn't connect strongly with any of the main characters in this episode--though I liked JAR a lot, and Coulson was good. Everyone else seems a little one-dimensional so far. And I found both Skye and the Tophers kind of annoying.

However, there was still a lot to like, and I'm sure the characters will grow in complexity. It just surprised me a bit, because with all Whedon's other shows, there have been characters that I loved right away. I loved Buffy and Willow instantly on Buffy, I loved pretty much everyone instantly on Firefly. Even on Dollhouse, flawed as it was, I loved Topher and Adelle by the end of the first episode. It's weird to watch a Whedon show and not feel that emotional connection to the characters.

On the other hand, none of these characters have a strong emotional connection to each other yet (except the Tophers, I guess). So, perhaps it makes sense that I'm not feeling that.

In any case, it was fun and entertaining, and of course I'll be back next week!
It was a fun hour of tv but I'm far from being in love with it. I need to fall in love with at least one character for that to start happening and this wasn't the episode for it, I guess. It's going to be Melinda, I think, because I kept wanting to see her every time she wasn't on screen. I really wish Maria Hill was a regular, though. I'd take her over anybody in the cast to be honest.

Anyway, Whedony TV every week: that's enough for now :)))
The pilots for Angel and Buffy weren't great either. It took awhile for both shows to get good.
I liked Elizabeth Henstridge and I liked her scenes with the British guy, but there wasn't enough of that.
Numfar! Do the dance of joy for the Mutant Enemy monster!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is absolutely fantastic! Cracker jack timing with the pacing. Love the casting choices. Everything I wanted it to be! Grr Arrgh dude! <3

My fave lines:

Agent Ward: I donít think Thor is technically a god.
Maria Hill: You havenít been near his arms.

[ edited by Lunakitty on 2013-09-25 07:16 ]
Overall enjoyed it, and I'm not a comics fan. I hope Ron Glass will become a regular. He brought so much personality to such a tiny role. His energy was wonderful!

It'll be interesting to see if the characters jell into family, like with the Scoobies and the crew of Serenity. The chemistry isn't there, yet, but of course the crew is just being assembled.

If I have a quibble, it's to agree with an earlier comment that the sound mix was sometimes distracting. I had to strain to hear a lot of the dialog over sharp background noises.
Anyone know if the show will subscribe to the Six Pilots Premise that I think is outdated in the age of DVRs and streaming?

ETA, for those who don't know what I mean, this article in which Joss said: "I always hold to the premise that the first six episodes are the first six pilots."

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-09-25 07:44 ]
I thought it was okay. Not great but it has a lot of potential. Pacing was kinda a mess. It felt very rushed. I also thought the music was really jarring, it seemed to overwhelm the scenes at certain times. Didn't like it at all. Also the two Tophers annoyed the heck out of me.
I agree about the score, but I'm generally not of the Everything Must Be Scored At All Times school.
B!X, you'd be amazed how much of the audience channel surf. My benchmark for the first half of the first season is always 'can my folks jump in at any time and have fun?'
Hmm, maybe it's just because I'm generally the pedantic computer geek type myself, but I wasn't at all annoyed by Leo or Jemma (or, for that matter, by Topher.) Maybe it was a transparent ploy to get me to love them, but it's one I'm evidently quite susceptible to.

The one bit I thought was over-the-top and silly was Lola's transformation. I'm fine with having a car with that technology, (and I like javelina's mentioned suggestion that it's old Stark tech - of course Coulson would be a collector,) but the way it was handled was too campy for my tastes. Definitely strong Back to the Future vibes, and not a strong point of Back to the Future, either.

Still, that's my strongest criticism so far, and that's a very good sign.
I liked it but didn't love it. I think it had some great cinematography, stunts and affects but it does feel very Ďcorporateí and that left me feeling pretty cold. I kind of felt the same way about the cast who Iím sure are lovely people but appear to be your very generic pretty boy/girl Hollywood types. I donít think they quite nailed some of the Whedon dialogue and their delivery ended up making it sound a little cheesy at times. Though to be fair, I do think there were moments in the script where it felt like the writing was trying to be too smart for its own good and it didnít flow as naturally as Iíve grown accustom to in past Whedon shows. I just hope the writer (in this case Joss) isnít becoming too self-aware about his own reputation and letting it affect his work. At times it felt like Joss was trying to fill a quota of zippy one-liners or quirky dialogue and it felt a little forced. Overall I think my main problem is that it felt too polished to the point it felt impersonal and I think The Dark Shape hit the nail on the head when he/she said that this felt a bit like NCIS with superheroes.

But there were things I enjoyed about. One canít deny that it was nice to have CGI effects that didnít make you cringe. When JARís character leaped from the building that was truly epic. And the score was very noticeable and slightly OTT but oddly enough that really worked for me, especially with Skyís narration over the scene.

I am intrigued by Melinda May and sheís definitely the first [and so far only] character who caught my interest. I definitely got a more mature vibe from her character which worked for me a lot and I could see her becoming something of a Mother Hen on the bus. Her relationship with Coulson was intriguing and it seems like sheís also got a lot of personal baggage as well.

I thought J August Richards was great in this role and itís a pity he isnít part of the main cast. The downside was that he reminded me of how great the casts were in BtVS and AtS and how those actors had a screen presence that AoSís cast is lacking right now :/

Wow. I sound way more negative than I intended to. I certainly didnít hate the pilot by any means but I just felt it had everything but heart. But hey, itís the first episode and Iím more than willing to let the cast/characters grow on me and hopefully The Bus will begin to feel more lived in. I also hope that the season does have a really strong arc and has a serialised story because whilst Iím ok with the odd standalone episode, procedurals donít interest me whatsoever.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2013-09-25 09:02 ]
Interesting, vampmogs. I thought Coulson was the heart, while everyone else was just, perhaps unavoidably with only one hour, in Introductory Pilot Mode.
That was so much fun and I'm dying for more. Its early days yet in terms of characters but Fitz and Simmons are pretty damn adorable especially when the interact with Agent Ward. I really want to know more about Melinda May and of course Coulson is great. Hope we get to see Mike again as well as Ron Glass as the doctor and naturally more Agent Hill once HIMYM ends.

I actually loved the score but then I'm really into superhero film soundtracks so it worked for me on that level.
Interesting, vampmogs. I thought Coulson was the heart, while everyone else was just, perhaps unavoidably with only one hour, in Introductory Pilot Mode.

Unfortunately I've always been really apathetic to Coulson. I feel like I'm missing something as I was always really confused as to why he was so popular. I barely noticed him at all in the Marvel movies and was pretty unmoved when he died in The Avengers. I was worried that he was meant to be Ďthe heartí and that the writers were banking on him to get people invested in the show. But I know Iím in the minority there and that he has lots of fans.

I do think that it's pretty unavoidable that you won't get too attached to the characters in the very first episode. But I fell in love with the BtVS characters pretty much straight away and was totally enamoured with Buffy/SMG. I also remember how devastated I was for Sydney in the Alias pilot when she grieved over the loss of her fiancťe. So it is doable. The AoS the pilot relied more on a fast pace, quippy dialogue an action and wanted to sell this as ďfun, fun, FUN!Ē rather than ground the characters in emotion. Which is a perfectly valid direction to take the pilot episode in and Iím sure that they will of course explore the characters in more depth now that their introductions are out of the way. Iím just saying that there are plenty of pilot episodes that spend time trying to make you invest in the characters as people and want you to relate with and feel for them.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2013-09-25 09:19 ]
I found it pleasantly diverting. A few parts were a bit better (it was nice to see Mr. Glass), a few a bit worse. It seemed obvious that it was trimmed in a few places. Sadly for me, I never really liked it, but the same was true of "The Avengers" and that seems to have done alright without my enthusiastic support.
Now that was enormously entertaining! I'm happy to see SHIELD far surpassing my moderate expectations. It's not going to affect me emotionally as deeply as Buffy did, but it was really fun and exciting to watch. I enjoyed it much more than the superhero movies leading up to it, actually. It's fun to see some superhero activity now and then but it gets rather boring when there's too much of it, and invariably those movies have hour-long superhero fights which just make me yawn. This episode held my interest every single minute. Nicely done!
The way Coulson dodged that van door, it's pretty clear Tahiti did him a lot of good.
To me, it was this moment:

- What does "S.H.I.E.L.D." stand for, agent Ward?
- Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
- And what does that mean to you?
- It means someone really wanted our initials to spell out "SHIELD."

Joss is SOOOO back!
Looking forward to seeing it on Friday, the recaps of the show are fun to read.
More good than great, I thought. Even though this is probably Joss' most expensive pilot (well, maybe the original Firefly pilot cost more), it seemed cheap, closed-in somehow, too TV-ish. JJ Abrams' similar Alias pilot is over ten years old and is infinitely more stylish and cinematic than this.

In general, there is promise there. I did love the pacing, the twisty plotting and the Whedon dialogue (though I thought the humor was too broad in places... "gramsy?"). Not sold on the cast, but I love Gregg, and Bennet was surprisingly fun -- she has genuine comic timing.

And yeah, it did feel very much like a Joss show, more than just a Marvel one or an ABC one, but it couldn't help but feel like an edges off, "mainstream" Joss show, where the interesting stuff is squeezed into the corners. Which, to be honest, The Avengers was too -- but there he had a budget to play with, as well as many of the world's best actors. Here he has neither of those things.
It did feel piloty, but despite that I really liked it. There was a certain feeling of items being checked off. Most were done really well. I liked the Maria Hill hand-off to take us from the world of the helicarrier SHIELD of the Avengers to the home office world of of SHIELD. The one part that didn't work was the ending. Lola converting felt a little too sales pitchy; like it was there to close the deal with network execs. That said, I think it's off to a great start. Looking forward to next week.
I really enjoyed it from start to finish. :) Very likeable characters and an abundant dose of typical Whedon dialogue (though most of the best quotes and one-liners where already showed in the promos and mentioned in the "first impressions" articles.). Welcome back to TV, Joss Ė we missed you. :)
It was... okay. Some nice twists, a little overwritten/trying too hard to be quirky at times and nonstop, but that's what pilot eps generally end up as. I much hope to never, EVER see that car flying again though as it isn't great to leave an episode grimacing. What is it with Marvel and OTT cheesetech, see also fingerprint... thing?
Skye is more than a little frighteningly Elizaesque.
Coulson was good enough. Always been a little indifferent to him myself and a bit confused by the popularity, but he did grow on me a little in Avengers. I'm not a Marvel fan and merely thought it was an okayish movie though, so my resistance is fairly high.
Liked Ward more than expected - that fight scene was nicely environmental, reminded me of the Man on the Street kitchen fight.
The Topher twins* need to tone it down a few shades. And I say that as someone who was a fan of Topher from the beginning. Double Topher hypertalking on Red Bull overload though is... hard to take in.
Music needs pulled way the hell back. As others note the audio mix was very cluttered, and OVERDRAMATIC ORCHESTRA doesn't help. It's a Whedon show. We want the dialogue audible.
Pilots are rarely great and I don't expect the next few episodes will necessarily be much beyond this one in terms of `depth`. Look at it as being on the first five/six are letting people have time to find their way into watching and go from there. It'll take time.

*Yes I will be referring to them as such forever now.

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-09-25 12:35 ]

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-09-25 12:36 ]

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-09-25 13:15 ]
A few thoughts, having had a night to consider. And before that, is there any rating information yet?

My first thought is, because this is important to me personally, is that I am not yet sure whom I identify with. The best shows, for me, are those with whom I have an emotional investment in a character (like, as I have said a number of times before, Tara in Buffy, Sara Sidle in CSIS and Sophie in In Treatment S1- all strong but wounded women, considering I am a 60-yr-old guy). But it is too early to see how these characters develop and at present I am not making that psychic link yet.

Second was, that while it was great to see people of color in many roles, none of the principles really are- they are all highly attractive people in that typical TV fashion.

Given that, I still hope that Cobie Smulders can join in on a more formal basis as HIMYM winds down.

Third is, it is still the Marvel universe and this will bring some constraints on what can and cannot be done. What I am hoping to see is how well Joss and kin work around those constraints and push at their boundaries.

But I am beginning to invest...
Ratings should be out in about 4 or 5 hours.
I loved flying Lola as it felt very comic bookish. We are in a comic book.

I also read somewhere on tumblr that it could have been a reference to one of Tony Stark's Dad's visions of the future? AntiGraviton? Is there such a thing in the Marvel Universe?

Interestingly, my brother found it confusing. He's a casual Joss viewer, as I am of the Abramsverses, so he knows the drill but he hasn't been immersed in the details of the Marvelverse like we have been here. I'm not sure if it did hook that casual viewer, yet.
Erm ... okay. That was not very impressive at all. None of the characters jump out as interesting and, in fact, I would have been very happy if JAR had exploded right next to the insufferable Fitz and Simmons. For the most part, the jokes didn't land and, to my genuine surprise, the script was very weak. Where in the Firefly pilot, the little hints about the characters were intriguing, here it just felt like mystery by numbers. And what the hell was with Joss's direction? I mean, those awful close ups on everyone's faces after JAR is shot? Ugh.

Sorry to be a downer but I don't think I'm on board with this show.
I enjoyed this. Some things fell flat for me (the flying car, a couple of lines) but it was fun overall.

- I really liked JAR's speech in the end and how he delivered it.
- Wow, was I mad at Ward for a couple of seconds after he shot Mike...that was a nice fake-out.
- I knew that Ron Glass would be in this but I didn't know what his role would be. I am now extremely optimistic about him showing up every now and then.
- Grr Argh was the best part of the episode (first time watching a Whedon show unfold live a nd it's exciting)
I('m forcing myself to) remain optimistic but my reaction throughout was that, were it not for the Avengers tie-in, the presence of JAR and RG, and the ME card at the end, I'd have thought it a corporate attempt at applying Joss rules and techniques to a big, generic, aimed at the kids, network action-adventure.

The truth serum was at once appreciated and expected. Skye did strike me as extremely Eliza Dushkuesque. Most jarring scene for me was JAR opposite Bennet in the diner. Seemed like two different shows melding--one real Joss, one slick network Joss.

That the pilot reminded me most of that of Dollhouse scares me a little.
Hmm..Like many people, I am undecided at this point. There was some definite goodness, like Mike's speech at the end (and JAR's awesome delivery)--the concept that being human is seen as subpar when the world is brimming with heroes is an interesting one, and I look forward to seeing how that conflict is explored. I will keep watching, and hope that the things that bugged me get worked out.

-The audio mix was just not right; I couldn't hear the dialogue a number of times, especially when the Wonder Twins were chattering super quickly and the background noise was just as loud as them. I REALLY hope that gets sorted out.

-I must have missed something because I definitely thought that Ward shot to kill--"wow, they went really dark!" I thought, but then everyone started with the smiling and the thumbs ups, which was kind of confusing, but I am glad he didn't die and I hope we see JAR again.

-The special effects seemed pretty awesome; Mike's landing when he leaped out the window was badass.

-I am intrigued by Melinda May, and want to know more about her. Also dug her rapport with Coulson.

-Sky is LAME. I really am not liking her; I hope she grows on me.

-Does anyone else think that maybe the thing Coulson "can never know" is that he's a robot/doll?
I liked it, although I am admittedly inclined toward superhero shows. My favorite thing was Mike Peterson, I connected with him and his feelings. JAR's performance was so real and emotional, even with the super power element involved. Super cute little boy.
The episode went by fast, I was surprised it was over so quick. I have no complaints about the rest of the cast. I don't love them yet but they seem perfectly serviceable.
I don't really get the Coulson love, but maybe I will.
I liked the "spell out shield" joke, thought the Thor's arms joke was stupid and a little demeaning to Maria Hill.
I have been convinced since we heard Coulson was coming back that he's a robot who has been given the Dollhouse treatment or somesuch.
Coulson might have adamantine bones!

Which plays into my X-Men theory, given buffybot's comment above "the concept that being human is seen as subpar when the world is brimming with heroes is an interesting one.." which sounds like it could have come from the X-Men movie series.
@Buffybot2000 I was momentarily confused about Ward's shot at the end. But what happened was that we first saw him poised with an actual rifle, but next see him with Fitz at his side holding the paralyzing gun that FitzSimmons got to work correctly in the nick of time.

@Xane I also thought that the Thor joke was a little demeaning to Maria.
I really liked the show but I think it can only get better. Some of the jokes worked, some didn't. Did anyone notice the sound was very bass oriented. Was it made for surround sound? I don't have SS and it made it very hard to hear clearly what was being said. I know it's not my tv because the next show I watched was easy to hear.
Add me to the group of people who had mixed feelings about the pilot. I didn't get roped into the story/premise or the characters in the same way that I did with the previous Whedon shows, though I think part of that is some latent cynicism about the show as a giant Marvel marketing tie-in. But the writing and dialogue were top notch, and there are some potentially interesting backstories with most of the characters.

The truth serum interrogation seems to be everyone's favorite, and I had a lot of fun watching that unfold.

I loved the fake-out with the "With great responsibility" line.

The speech by JAR at the end started out like a political speech about the struggling economy (putting in the work, having enough for you to get by, etc.), which had me rolling my eyes a bit for how out of place it was. And then it saved itself with the "how can we compare to gods and superheroes" angle.

I'm disappointed that all the secrecy about JAR's character was a (lame) reveal about Extremis (and how did Coulson know about that already?), or at least something similar to it.

I'm still convinced this Coulson is a LMD (how fun would it be though if he were just an imprinted doll/clone?), but it will make for some interesting drama when that cat (whatever it is) gets out of the bag.

@rexlibris- I have surround sound and, assuming I didn't forget to mute my TV speakers, still couldn't hear some of the dialogue. The consensus (from the comments above) seems to be that the sound mix was overbearing and drowned out/muffled the dialogue.
I'm seeing a lot of talk about the campiness of Lola, and it being a Back to the Future reference.

While this is true enough for a general audience, it's more accurately a flat out Jim Steranko reference. Steranko was the creator (who is thanked in the credits) behind the original SHIELD comics, which were full of flying sports cars, sexy spy jumpsuits, jet packs, robot decoys, and Blofeld-esque terror organizations. It's very telling that Lola is mocked by several characters as being outdated. I think Joss wanted to make it clear that, yes, if we're doing a SHIELD show, we're going to enjoy some of the fun toys and classic ideas that are central to the SHIELD concept, while contextualizing them.

This is why many of us were praying from the instant we saw Lola in the early trailers that we might get that glorious moment where the wheels were upended, and she took to the sky. Joss is giving us a powerful mission statement with that last scene. That mission statement is "hold on to your seats, because things could go Full-On Steranko at any given moment."

[ edited by Arsenal on 2013-09-25 16:00 ]
`That mission statement is "hold on to your seats, because things could go Full-On Steranko at any given moment."`

The problem is when that and the execution of it push everyone else out of the show. It's 2013, it is an outdated thing to do and it plays as very camp and cheesy - and not in a good way. I knew what they were doing, and it was still painfully awkward. You don't want the (hopefully majority `general`) audience groaning and cringing at the end of an episode of a primetime tv series. Someone said above it felt more of a Marvel moment for selling some toy line. That's the kind of thing that can damage a show really fast. Now I half expect Stan Lee to turn up and wink at the camera at the end of episode 2. /That/ is how distracting it was.

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-09-25 16:13 ]
For those curious about how and where 'Lola' fits into the Marvel universe:
Ok. The reason I liked Buffy, etc. was the realness of the characters. The way they were broken and had to cope. These characters are too slick.

Why the prudish comments about sex? Upset about cleavage? Breasts are natural and great! Why can't we enjoy them? Having said that it should be about more than that. Smart characters can still enjoy sex.

I actually like Skye. She was the only character that showed any real personality. The others were kind of boring. Hope they develop them more.
And August was the best actor on the show. They should have made him a main character.
I loved the dialogue. However, they have geek cred coming out of their ears, they don't need to throw in a T-1000 reference. That felt a little forced. And it took me a little out of the scene. If one geek say's that to another geek, it's cute. If a non-geek says that to another non-geek, it doesn't have the same impact. Or no impact. (Like on BtVS, Andrew could say that to Xander....Faith couldn't say it to Angel) And the Journey into Mystery reference also seemed like an out of place nod to the Marvel Universe faithful (Journey into Mystery was the title of the comic with Thor's first appearance)

This probably only affects the likes of us but all the Verse actors were a little distracting. It was great to see Gunn and Book again but its bound to cause a distraction when actors play characters that are similar to the incarnations we've seen in the past. Mike Peterson was very similar to Charles Gunn.

Overall, I think the show was entertaining and a very good start. Can't wait to see where the season takes us.
I'm commenting without reading right now, because there is so much to get through. I loved the pilot. I saw Ron Glass's name in the opening credits and was happy, but when he appeared on screen I became giddy. So good to see him again. I loved that they refrenced NY and the episode was dealing with plot from the last Ironman. I completely love Coulson. And Melinda. And I loved that "the hooded hero" had actual stuff to say about being crushed by life and monsters and Coulson's insistence that he be saved. Can't wait for more.
Apollo11, I think it's fine not to enjoy the execution, but I don't think the intent is any more silly than Joss's full-tilt genre moments of the past. I think the difference here is that his "f*** yeah", "crowning moments of awesome" are usually earned based on episodes or even years of setup. This one was more of a wink to the audience than an earned moment, which is why I think it rubs many wrong.

At the same time, this show is the followup to a long running series of movies with dudes with red skeletal heads and giant gamma monsters, so a little pulp is not out of bounds. I admire the effort to signal the audience that this show might be more than just a business suit procedural with an occasional CGI super-effect. Or, you know... Arrow.
And August was the best actor on the show. They should have made him a main character.

He and Ron Glass. These are actors that flourished in character-driven Joss shows, whereas the new kids have yet to prove themselves.

What made Buffy, AtS and Firefly so special was that the plots were there to service the characters, even in the pilots. In AoS it seemed the characters were there to service a super-action plot. Will character development become central as in his previous shows, or will AoS mostly be high tech and action with Joss-speak thrown in?

Will AoS give us characters we can relate to and invest in, like in Buffy and Firefly? I don't know if that's what the network wants, but that's what I'm hoping for.
"Will character development become central as in his previous shows, or will AoS mostly be high tech and action with Joss-speak thrown in?"
Exactly! I can't get behind a show that doesn't include good character development! Hopefully, this one will in the future.
The car was indeed a bit much. Though after the dust settled, I see it more as a sign of "you ain't seen nothing yet" as opposed to merely showing off something flashy for the end.

I really enjoyed that the best lines weren't necessarily ones used in the initial trailers, but the ones following right after or in-between.

As far as pilots go, I think this did a great job of setting everyone up. Maria Hill and Ron Glass' character knowing what Tahiti really is, Coulson not knowing (but I'm guessing he'll start "discovering" certain things quite soon, if that door-evasion is anything to go by), Fitz-Simmons just being delightfully entertaining together, Mae's "I don't go out in the field" aversions, Skye act silly but secretly outsmart you spiel. The only one I don't yet care for is Agent Ward. Let's hope that changes soon.

Hopefully Ron Glass gets a little more Dr. Saunders-level involved.

I'm so ready for a new Whedon-show on TV. Seeing the ME logo back at the end gave me chills.
There will be character development. Absolutely. None of the folks working the show like the reset switch.
I smiled when Lola took off. In a good way. Maybe I'm just easy to please.

Did anyone else get a hint of Zoe, post Serenity, in Melinda May ?
Did anyone else get a hint of Zoe, post Serenity, in Melinda May ?


And thanks for the reassurance, gossi.

[ edited by Amrita on 2013-09-25 17:21 ]
Overall, really liked this. Lots of potential here, and Clark Gregg killed it in so many ways.

That said, here's what felt flat or not-quite-there-yet for me:

- Scope. Wasn't quite epic enough for me. Shots from Paris are nice, but I'd have liked to have seen a glimpse of the vast workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. before we iris into our little ragtag group. One mid-size monitor room with screens looping Avengers footage over and over didn't do that for me. I wouldn't expect that the whole series, but a shot in the pilot to take our focus from the movie scale down to the TV show would have helped.
- Sound. Liked the soundtrack, but there was a little too much of it. As b!x said at one point, not every scene needs music. Or at least not loud music.
- Characters. I admit I'm comparing it to the Firefly pilot -- I compare everything to Firefly, let's get that out of the way right now -- but I still don't have a clear sense of all the characters the way I did after Serenity. Each of the Firefly cast was instantly iconic in a way that this cast simply isn't, but that probably couldn't be helped. For one thing, people here will largely be dressed and groomed similarly, and shorthand like that goes a long way.
- Desperately needs a Cordelia. Or an Anya, or a Jayne. Possibly Skye will serve that role, again, need to wait and see.
- Paced too quickly. I got the feeling they had a list of stuff to get in and for a pilot that's fine. But I hope we have some quieter moments, and some examples of what this team can do even without the tech.

I'll watch it again when I get home, with the closed-captioning turned on, and see what I think with my initial fanboy rush a little more faded. If you have HuluPlus, it's there already:
The car is an easter egg. It is the same car that Nick Fury owned in Nick Fury, Agent of Shield comic from the 60s.

I really enjoyed the episode, but the Agent Ward character was a bit vanilla dull, to me. The character is a typical Whedon hero, but the actor is no Fillion, Marsters or Boreanas. I wish they'd cast a more interesting lead.

Other than that I love the episode and can't wait for more.

[ edited by ladypeyton on 2013-09-25 17:29 ]

[ edited by ladypeyton on 2013-09-25 17:41 ]
I really think Firefly pilot comparisons are off the mark, as it had two entire hours to tell a story and set up the premise.
I've lost the interview link, but for those who care - basically the biggest memo the guys got back from the network about the pilot was 'make the show more about the characters and their emotions'. Which, you know, I'm sure everybody is cool with.
Also if you'd like to do Firefly comparisons, do consider that The Train Job was the 1st episode shown back in the day, Serenity wouldn't be restored as real pilot until the DVD was released, and onto the latter, it was slightly improved from the original version of the Serenity pilot.
And in fact The Train Job doesn't really give you much more than shorthand introduction to any of the characters, and mostly rests upon the moral force of Mal's character. Which is basically how the SHIELD pilot works, too.
IrrationalTV: As far as I know, production companies, even when they only have a single owner-employee, serve a critical business function in "The Biz," and if so they're hardly "vanity labels."

Angel&Faith ; the removal of traditional credits, the kind that let viewers learn the names to go with the faces of actors, were not eliminated as a progressive act of artistry, they were removed as a way to make more room for commercials and save the production costs of adding a distinct sequence.
"I really think Firefly pilot comparisons are off the mark, as it had two entire hours to tell a story and set up the premise."

Didn't need the story told. I needed a strong sense of each of these characters, and Firefly did that in the first 15 minutes.

I do think the generic look to the cast -- possibly unavoidable, due to the corporate/government setting -- hurts this, since it's tougher to establish the immediate visual shorthand that Firefly and even Buffy used so well.
Will character development become central as in his previous shows, or will AoS mostly be high tech and action with Joss-speak thrown in?

I did find it a bit jarring to hear Joss-speak in such a glitzy-looking world.
So Skye is basically a terrorist, she is brought in for questioning and five minutes later she is all over the place working with them and at the end she is offered a job. The flying car is more believable.
Doesn't terrorism imply some sort of violence, at some point? Skye is basically a hacker, and there have been real life cases of hackers being recruited by "the man". Maybe not over the course of ten minutes, but still more believable than a flying car in my book.
Boy, if you don't buy Skye's defection, you're really not going to like super terrorists Wanda and Pietro Maximoff.

Seriously though, is she really a terrorist? I got the impression that she was just a rabble rouser who hacked a few government assets, and was more useful as an asset.
"The flying car is more believable."

We're talking about the same organization that hired Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton, and Benny and Claire from Item 47. SHIELD hires criminals on a regular basis. Skye is relatively tame compared to the people I named.
Didn't need the story told. I needed a strong sense of each of these characters, and Firefly did that in the first 15 minutes.

Exactly. And with "Welcome to the Hellmouth" I had a strong sense of the uniqueness of each character from their looks, their mannerisms and their opening words. Willow's kind nerdiness was very different from Xander's kind geekiness... Most of all, I found them all relatable.

Willow was primarily Willow from the get-go. Her computer skills were secondary to who she was as a person. Kaylee's personality shone so brightly, her mechanic's role was secondary to who she was as a person. With AoS I'm mostly seeing personality cliches, and I don't know if it's the actors or the writing. But last night I felt more real personality from Ron Glass' minor character in one minute than from "the youngsters" in the entire show.

Most pilots start out this way, so I certainly don't want to seem too negative. It's just that for Joss' shows, I've gotten spoiled.
"With AoS I'm mostly seeing personality cliches, and I don't know if it's the actors or the writing. But last night I felt more real personality from Ron Glass' minor character in one minute than from "the youngsters" in the entire show."

I've got to disagree with this. I got a great sense of who each and every one of the characters are.
Did anyone get a Willow/Tara, Sierra/Victor vibe from the two scientists? My guess is they'll fall in love at some point and one of them will end up dead.
Apparently I'm in the minority, but I connected with Sky right away and I also really liked FitzSimmons . I totally enjoyed the "two Tophers" thing and I liked that in an episode where most of the main characters did not have a strong emotional connection to each other that there were two charterers who were strongly connected. Also I like that the close relationship of Fitz and Simmons leaves the opportunity for emotional growth for one of them if something was to happen to the other.

Also I don't think the comparisons to BtVS and Firefly are fair, AoS is not either of those shows and I don't think it is trying to be.
I'm not comparing the shows, I'm comparing my engagement with the characters. Please understand I did enjoy it, I just didn't get pulled into that world as immediately and thoroughly as I have in other Whedony worlds. Not yet.
I did get a strong sense of who those characters are, as much as anybody else in the whedonverse; but thsi arent a group of teenagers nor a family of rogues, this is a group on non team players that are mostly secret agents. I find them opening up slowly works like a charm for the pilot.

It does remind me of th scarpped original pilot for Dollhouse, where more qustions and promises are delivered than actual form. I like that. More than the "love me NOW" that pilots tend to be. A good structured series.

Or so it looks like; well have to wait to see how it develops.

DaddyCatAlso, that's what the onscreen credits of the Grr Arch dude or JJ Abrams, Bad Robot are called in the industry. Vanity credits. I wasn't making some kind of emotional judgement. That is simply what the industry term is. "Vanity credit" or "Vanity Label."

[ edited by IrrationaliTV on 2013-09-25 19:31 ]
Count me in the camp of "liked it but didn't love it." The story piqued my interest just enough, and I'll definitely stick with it. But my biggest problem was the score. (And I'd also agree about the sound mixing--I had trouble hearing dialogue too.) I absolutely LOVE Bear McCreary's work on BSG, Walking Dead, and Defiance, but the music on this was just too superhero-movie generic for me. Yes, I know this is a comics-based show. But does the music have to be so...conventional? With Bear McCreary, I'm always hoping for something a little more UNconventional.
Personally, I got who all the characters were extremely easily. Grant - tough guy, awkward. FitzSimmons - there's shoulder touching and two talking at same time. Bro/Sis/Married/Weird. May - has history with Coulson, she's not digging this at all. Skye - wreckless, lovely, has her own POV.

I liked the score (it feels cinematic) and I'm confused by the comments about people not being able to hear dialogue. I'm wondering if TV setups aren't quite right.
My set is fine, but some of the lines got lost for me. I had a problem picking out FitzSimmons dialogue, for example, even when they weren't speaking over each other.

My problem -- and again, it's minor compared to my enjoyment of the show -- was that the score was constant. When every scene is D*R*A*M*A*T*I*C, it's harder for the really dramatic bits to stand out. Even movies let you breathe now and then, and the score added to the nonstop pace to leave few highs and lows.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2013-09-25 19:47 ]
I had no problem understanding dialogue except when Fitz and Simmons talked over each other, you know, when you are supposed to have a hard time understanding the dialogue. :)
I just want to chime in to say that I'm not sure I can judge what I saw from the pilot because I was very just-plain-confused during much of it. I believe my lack of knowledge of Marvel lore was a problem: there were all these organizations with agendas at crossroads with each other, and I was trying make sense of them while also trying to figure out who S.H.I.E.L.D. was and what their "mission" was. Protecting those who don't know... from what? And on behalf of WHOM?

I got that the doctor was experimenting on Mike, but I didn't know what "Centipede" was beyond "someone S.H.I.E.L.D. was against." I only figured out afterward from reading the internet, that the doctor had sent the assassin at the end, probably to kill Mike so as to cover the Centipede Project's tracks.

I was confused when the Skye/Ward truth-serum twist happened: I thought Skye had been with S.H.I.E.L.D. all along and that the whole thing was Coulson's plan to interrogate Ward (overly complex for a plan, I know). I suppose Skye joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and being trusted so quickly (is she "Level 7"?) threw me off.

I'm wondering whether I'm being a little daft, or whether my Whedon expectations made me too anxious to be able to follow everything. (My mother saying off-topic comments didn't help, either.) I'm mainly worried that it might have lost some of its audience. But then again, the Marvel Universe has a huge following so I'm overthinking things probably.

[ edited by Ronald_SF on 2013-09-25 19:50 ]
If people were finding it hard to follow then ratings would have dropped in the second 30 minutes. They increased. I don't believe there is any reason to think audience (other than the normal ep 2 decay) will be lost.
I liked it, didn't love it, but I just watched it a second time and it held together better. (I was also paying a little more attention, which probably helps too...) I liked the flying car, and I like FitzSimmons. What I noticed of the score, I liked, but I kind of got caught up in the plot a few minutes in.

I do agree with the people saying it's hard to get a sense of who all these people are. We have some mysteries, and some basic attributes, but it's going to take a few more episodes, I think, before all the personalities are fleshed out. I trust Joss and his team to make that happen, and I can't wait to see it.
Ronald, lifelong Marvel reader here, and I have no idea what Centipede is, other than some group who is apparently using tech from Iron Man 3. Every reference I noticed was mercifully from the movie universe (even Lola is technically a callback to Howard Stark's flying car in Captain America).
Well I thought it was an enjoyable romp - Joss gave us everything we expected. Good pacing, some nice twists and plenty of funny.

Season openers have never been one of Joss's strong points though. It usually takes him about a season and a half to find the real core of the story and explore its depths. Lets hope enough people stick around until then.

My only slight gripe, apart from the fairly flat characters, was Clark Gregg. He doesn't do emotive very well, which is fine for the odd movie-cameo, but for the central character of a TV show it's kind of grating.
Hi all, been reading Whedonesque for ages (thank you all for this brilliant source of info & coolness!!!) and came in through the registration window yesterday.

I'm a longtime fan of Marvel comics and a longtime fan of Joss' works, either before their paths crossed. So you can imagine that I was incredibly excited about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - and it didn't disappoint! LOVED IT!!!

All of the characters seem interesting to me, can't wait to see their stories fleshed out in the episodes to come (and somewhat hoping for Ward or Fitz to turn out to be a character based on the original Captain Marvel from the comics).

Great stuff! I'm on board for the Journey into Mystery!
God knows that they'll do for sweeps weeks. That'll be some fun.
We'll i loved it and I knew that I would. Nobody does it like Joss. He truly is brilliant.
IrrationaliTV: Okay, if that's what it's called, I've learned something today. That's an argument I've had with others on other subjects!
Loved the quips.

Really enjoyed seeing Ron Glass and J. August Richards in a Whedon series again and it was fun having Cobie Smulders on board too. Like others I hope will see more of the three of them in the future.

The pilot was a little too fast paced and action-oriented for me to really fall in love with any of the characters yet, but I did really like the glimpses we got to see of Coulson in this episode. The truth-serum thing was wonderful of course and I also thought "nobody's a nobody" was a really nice sentiment - it's refreshing to see such a profoundly uncynical take on intelligence organisations. I'll trust the other characters will grow on me in time too.

I even liked the flying car at the end (though I wouldn't mind if we would have to do without "cool" cars in the future).

Great catch on the "Mutant Enemy, Etc" b!X. Always nice to see that Zombie again (was it really not at the end of Cabin in the Woods? Can't believe it's been that long already.).
Watched it earlier through ABC's website. I share what seems to be the common consensus here, I enjoyed the hour, but didn't love it.

There was plenty of funny moments and the story was engaging enough, setting up plenty of possible plots threads to be followed in the coming weeks. However, the characters just did not really leave much of an impression on me. I liked Fitz and Simmons, so I don't share other people's annoyance at them. I also liked what we saw of Skye, although I hope she isn't a complete Shield convert and will be causing a little bit of tension within the team in upcoming episodes. Everyone else though I felt like they were just there to move things forward. Ward in particular was probably blander than Ballard ever was and this does not look like the kind of show that is going to go through the complex deconstruction of the "white knight" figure that Dollhouse did.

All in all, I did have fun all the way through, but maybe that was the problem. It all just seemed to lack an edge. Someone early mentioned how they initially thought Mike was killed at the end and I think that might have been preferable to the happy smiling face montage we ended up getting instead. This episode just didn't seem to give any support to Rising Tide's claims that this was an evil government agency, which is surprising given Whedon's back catalog. Then again, given that back catalog, I'm also certain that these elements will come in time. Perhaps they have just decided that they would play it safe initially, after past experiences. I also think that a couple of hours rather than just 1 would have helped immensely.
I wish the girls had worn name tags. They all look the same to me. (Expect Min Na, but I know her from As the World Turns.) My husband said he thought all the guys looked alike too.
I'm on board for now. :) It's a very straight forward, simple show as far as I can tell and I was entertained. Never fell in love with a show after the pilot, so I wasn't even expecting it here, but I liked all the characters (yes, also Skye and the geeks, though I'm hoping they're not just Topher 2.0≤) and I'm looking forward to some villains showing up and ruining the fun in that brave new world.
AoS has all that optimism and innocence I was surprised to enjoy so much in The Avengers, but there are already hints at dark corners, which I like. It's definitely not just me being a loyal fan (I didn't enjoy Dollhouse that much despite it's potential, sorry!). Didn't see the twist with the truth serum coming and loved it and the hilarity that followed.
I have to admit that I did find the pilot for The Blacklist more intriguing, but the expectations there were zero and it has Spader...
So, finally a new Whedon show on the air. I missed this. Let the ride begin! Grr Argh!
The Tophertwins were a lot more bearable second time around. Most of the episode was. Strongly recommended to do so.
Going back to the pilots of other Whedon shows, since those are the comparisons people mostly seem to be making, I'd say this was stronger than any of them save Firefly's 2-part original pilot. Train Job was an enjoyable episode, but if I had actually been watching that episode live and as a pilot, I don't think I would have found as easy a path into the show.

I guess my overall ranking of all Whedon pilots (including unaired / backup pilots), from best to worst, would be Serenity, Pilot (SHIELD), Echo, Ghost, The Train Job, Welcome to the Hellmouth, and lastly City of...

It's early days yet, though, and this is only the second Whedon show I've watched live, so I might not be making a true apples-to-apples comparison here.
I guess I'm not the only person who thinks Coulson is a robot.

In terms of the sound problems, it may be your TV. I had no problem with the background sound interfering with the audibility of the dialogue.

Loved the pilot. Loved the Dr. Horrible reference. The scene where Skye and Ward enter the plane reminds me of scenes of the entrance of Serenity. In fact, the plane has a Serenityness about it.
There are too many comments to reply to specific users but I agree with many of you that it just felt uneven. I felt like some if the jokes were comfortable and thus, "landed", like the "porcupine/poop" joke, "don't touch Lola" and the lightbulb gag. Some jokes served their purpose and were funny but weren't delivered comfortably.

I'm not a huge fan of Skye, since I found her abilities a little too gift wrapped and convenient. Isn't there always a tech wiz who can do everything and usurp governments? I'd like to see her have real challenges.

FitzSimmons was very good, though I had trouble understanding them. I think fans who stick with the show will try harder to listen to them, rather than give up. And I'm sure they'll work on making them sound clearer.

To me, the biggest problem is the balance in tone. I never felt like there was any serious risk of loss. I wasn't sure if FitzSimmons could come up with a solution - but at the same time I don't know if I cared all that much if they did, either. I liked JAR and his character but I didn't feel like the show had equal amount of weight that Coulson's "don't ever tell me there's no way" carried. There was real depth to how he delivered that line. The rest of the show didn't seem to follow.

And like others, I thought flying Lola was distracting and hokey.

I'll keep watching, of course. But I didn't love tie pilot. It was just uneven in tone and I hope that aspect improves.

I also can't remember the name of the male agent and that is not good because I know everyone else's name. It says to me that he's genericly handsome guy, and he better develop some personality quick.

Oh, and I look forward to the Coulson/Melinda May ship fanfic. Those two had chemistry. He was much more concerned about her than anyone else.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2013-09-26 01:55 ]
I thought it was terrific. A little bit cloying and cutesy at times, but I trust Joss will bring the darkness necessary to offset that issue. Loved Skye. I can see how she might annoy some people but I think we will warm to her when she shows some layers. Clark Gregg was irresistible, as always. The two science geeks were very promising, albeit unnecessarily pretty, like the rest of the cast. The others were all promising too. Contrary to some, I found the JAR plot line to be one of the weakest parts. Sort of preachy and contrived, and the speech at the end, too schmaltzy. I look forward to them going darker. But I understand they can't really do that in the pilot, and it will take some time to build toward.

I would love it if Coulson really did die, and is an LMD.

Overall, I'm really, really psyched for this show.
I liked it quite a bit, though I agree with some of the critcism re the lookalike actors.

I fell in love with Buffy, Xander, Giles and Willow from the moment I saw them in the Hellmouth, they were so unique and fully fleshed out even in the pilot.

My second-favorite TV show after Buffy is Lost and it took me a while to really warm up to most of the characters. At the beginning it was all about the plot and puzzle. But eventually things came right and the plot begin to serve the characters instead of the other way around and I hope this will happen with AoS.
After a re-watch, I agree with ninja, Coulson did show more concern about Melinda May than the others. It was subtle but intriguing.

Lola didn't bother me, nor did it excite me. FitzSimmons were meh - and I usually fall hard for the tech nerds - I did like the brother-sister thing. I hope to God - nay Joss - that they DON'T get involved romantically.

I wasn't a huge fan of Skye.

Like Squishy I didn't really like the JAR speech, but loved seeing him again.

I'm glad Book knows the secret, hopefully we'll see the good doctor some more.

The sound balance was slightly better via hulu than on my TV but there was a background-noise to speech imbalance still.

I hope to get to explore 'the bus' and see the team develop. (and the characters move beyond the archetypes). I'll be giving SHIELD until episode 7 to pull me in. The pilot was piloty but enjoyable.
As for Lola....remember as per Fray, Mr. Whedon loves flying cars.
Agents of SHIELD was my nephewís first primetime show. Today he dressed as an agent, calling his bike Lola. This is family programming, and I wonder if that's not feeding some of the discordance for long-time Whedon fans who aren't used to his sensibilities being put to the use of family entertainment?
There's a bit of the whole "I liked Joss' earlier albums before he went all, y'know, commercial" vibe that's been lingering since The Avengers exploded I think.

The pilot episode screamed 'This Is Joss' - and while it certainly wasn't perfect (I've concerns that Ward has charisma deficit issues), tonally it's certainly in line with other Whedon TV
Finally watched it & thought it was great fun. Had no sound problems (itunes on my computer), thought the characters were fine & JAR was great--I hope they find an excuse to bring him back. Can't wait to see more of Melinda May. I found Skye a little off-putting at first, but she grew on me & I liked the tech-twins. I feel like I have a very clear sense of the AoS world & am ready to get to know the characters better. I thought flying Lola was hilarious. (Maybe I'm immature.)

I actually agree with Squishy -- the only thing I didn't like was the schmaltzy speech near the end.

Am going to watch it again, and am definitely ready for more!

So... where are all of your Tahiti theories? I was expecting you all to enlighten me. :-)

etf: a rogue "of"

[ edited by jcs on 2013-09-26 05:02 ]
Out of curiosity, did people griping about Mike's grievances at the end not understand the point, or simply dislike the point. It seemed pretty clear the point was "life is tough as it is, and you always told us we could step up, be men, and pull it off, but now on top of everything there are supermen, and how are we supposed to matter now", and I'm a bit taken aback that people either didn't get that or somehow actually have a problem with it.
Well, I guess I should add my $0.05 (Canada dropped the penny, so I rounded up to the smallest remaining coin denomination) to the mix, eh


For me, I was definitely entertained by the first episode of AoS and I can't wait for Tuesday to see what the "084" mystery is all about, but I have to echo comments from other Whedonesque forum members about certain elements not quite working in the way we expect or hope a Joss Whedon show to operate.

I mean, Coulson was at his snarky best, with the right levels of "I know what you're feeling and here's a thought to parse" mixed in and the rest of the team had their moments to shine a bit...but there was also some unevenness that rocked the plot boat in less-than-desirable ways:

1) Agent Ward, via his own sales pitch and Coulson reviewing his file, gets presented as basically a male version of Black Widow (hyper-competent espionage and wetworks operative), but his "quirk" point is that he has none of Natasha's abilities to blend in for long-term undercover work or dealing with a team where close trust is a necessity. For me, he's like a weird hybrid of Ballard, Jayne and Simon (Ballard's stance on serving a greater good as a government agent, Jayne's deadly skill with unarmed/melee/projectile weapons, Simon's painful social awkwardness outside of a specific wheelhouse) and I wonder how Brett Dalton will handle juggling those disparate elements;

2) Agent May is definitely an intriguing character but I do wonder about the "post-Serenity Zoe" vibe she's giving off, of a seasoned warrior who hung up their weapons due to a horrible event that cast doubt over their entire sense of self. I definitely think there will be something juicy there but I guess I feel that she gave in to Coulson a bit too quickly if she's so damaged she decided to take a desk job. Not enough "too old/tired/psychically wounded for this crap"...though Coulson's pitch lines about picking ops and calling shots make my imagination percolate about Fury pulling similar crap as faking out The Avengers over Coulson's death with May;

3) Skye is a weird character for me to try and judge. She apparently managed to do something SHIELD has never seen done before - complete erasure of a personal identity from all databases out there - and she's a part of an Anonymous-like organization that is troubling SHIELD's manifesto of concealing upheaval-level issues from the general public or reacting to public crises in a manner that encourages a version of Sunnydale Syndrome but she seems to be eager to be caught or not as savvy as she likes to think she is. Some commentators note the character or portrayal is Dushku-esque, but I got more of a Summer Glau vibe...Skye being a non-damaged version of River Tam who found out the Academy was coming, disappeared and wiped out any traces of her past and continuing existence and channels her Jamie "Orwell" Fleming from The Cape to mess with the MCU version of the Men in Black. While I don't lash out at examples of "Hollywood Nerd" characters like I've seen others do, I do wonder about how Skye lived in her van and didn't seem to have issues with feeding herself or having access to hygiene facilities, since she looked recently bathed and fed and her clothes were pretty damn chic for someone living off the she was too used to a particular style of living and couldn't completely give it up;

4) FitzSimmons, similar to Skye, didn't grate on me for being too pretty or too much the "science wunderkinds" but their miraculous appearance at Union Station with the uber-tranquilizer rifle was a tad too contrived. The idea of a sibling-style relationship between the two is good but I kinda hope it doesn't go all Willow & Xander where Jemma or Leo is nursing an unrequited crush on their "sibling". Maybe a more spastic version of Simon and River's relationship, though their exposure to the weird and wacky should have an impact on their behaviour now that they're basically in the field 24/7.

Another area I have grumbles for is the mixed bag CGI work. Mike Peterson leaping out of the burning building with the CENTIPEDE doc and landing, and the holographic recreation of the other test subject confronting the scientist? Top quality stuff. Ward catching a ride from the helicopter, Skye's van getting its sliding door turned into a projectile and Lola's change at the end? Much lower quality. Firefly had a similar issue, where the flight scenes were beautifully done but things like the wave of fire being sucked out the cargo bay airlock in Out of Gas were less skillfully rendered, so my hopes were between 11 years of computer tech improvements and a (presumably) bigger VFX budget would have meant a bit more visual consistency in how CGI stuff would look. Then again, the production schedule probably means a tight timeline for getting the CGI created and integrated, so shining up certain effects probably gets relegated to a distant second.

So yeah...all in all, entertained but I have hopes the bugs can be worked out efficiently so we get the best material possible :D
their miraculous appearance at Union Station with the uber-tranquilizer rifle was a tad too contrived
I don't understand what you mean by this. Do you mean because they showed us the Night-Night Gun at the beginning?
I'm firmly on Team Liked It, especially after my second viewing, as I thought that the pilot, as a whole, was decent, and that a lot of framework was laid for improvement.

I liked all of the main players, because even though we only got a sort of superficial sense of who they were to start, I could see an opportunity for character growth in every one of them. Some have past traumas, some naivete, some an overabundance of cockiness, but I trust that these are all part of potential arcs that will be mined extensively as the show progresses.

I also find myself compelled to comment on Agent Ward's character. While I agree that he is a very pretty person, I cannot agree that that is ALL he is. I think that it's pretty firmly established that he is supposed to have a certain deficit of personality. In fact, I would say that is a great deal OF his personality--the very lack thereof. I look forward to finding out what it is that has caused him to become closed off and lacking in social skills, and watching all of that restraint get stripped away.

Also, re: the flaming of Skye as a hacker that I keep seeing all over the interwebs at large. While I see opportunity for improvement in Chloe Bennet as an actress, I'm becoming a little weary of comments like 'She's too pretty to be a hacker', and 'she has too much fashion sense to be that smart'. That would be like someone saying I have too many tattoos and grindcore albums to be a fangirl. Which, just, no. That would be called generalizing. Computer whizzes can wear lip gloss, too, okay.

Ahem. Whoops. < /rant >

One thing that I always try to remember when watching pilots from creators that I know are talented is that in a pilot, characters are just being established. The real meat of characterization happens as shows progress. That makes me really, really happy because it means I get to watch it happen.

And a final also: I really liked JAR's arc from start to (?)finish. I thought that it captured the frustrations of the everyman quite well, and even had a little bit of a subversive edge to it, in particular the speech at the end. I've learned to expect some pretty spot-on social commentary from Whedon, and in this I was not disappointed.
What I didn't like about that gun moment was the fact all these agents are miked up to each other and can talk directly into each other's ears and no one said "hey, we suddenly remembered about this cool rifle thingy that'll save the day!" I completely understand why Joss did it (and why a thousand other directors do it as well) but things like that annoy the hell outta me.
It seemed pretty clear the point was "life is tough as it is, and you always told us we could step up, be men, and pull it off, but now on top of everything there are supermen, and how are we supposed to matter now", and I'm a bit taken aback that people either didn't get that or somehow actually have a problem with it.

It sounds like most people really liked the speech--I'm not exactly sure why it didn't work for me. I had no problem with the message--it was just a little too on-the-nose or didn't work for me emotionally for some reason (and thus seemed over-dramatic). But I liked the flying I have no legitimate reason for complaining about things being on the nose. Maybe I'll find it more affecting on re-watch.
I found the speech cheesy on first watch because I expected it to be about poverty. On the second watch, knowing it was about the core theme of the show, it made a lot of sense.

Agreed re: agent Ward. He is supposed to lack charisma. And the truth serum stuff is meant as much for the audience as for Skye, to let us know that there is a human being in there. And that they really want to be the good guys.

[ edited by Ragondux on 2013-09-26 08:22 ]
After careful consideration I didn't like AoS, I loved it.
There's a bit of the whole "I liked Joss' earlier albums before he went all, y'know, commercial" vibe that's been lingering since The Avengers exploded I think.

I don't know about that. For the most part the same criticisms are being seen in just about every review and most of the comments, and about very specific but important things too.

Dialogue drowned out isn't a "too commercial for `me` now" issue, nor is that of the score, or pacing issues, or in the more specific instance of Lola the kind of hokey that can kick you right out of the show. I'm sure there are some - and I admit it of myself to a small degree - who do just wish it was Joss playing with his own toys rather than playing with Marvel's carefully-controlled sandbox. Nothing being articulated seems to slant that way though. They're all justified points that wouldn't really change if Marvel had nothing to do with it at all. But hey, early days and everyone at least seems to be along for the ride for now.
There's a bit of the whole "I liked Joss' earlier albums before he went all, y'know, commercial" vibe that's been lingering since The Avengers exploded I think.

There is a bit of that attitude knocking online. There's the "this must be exactly Buffy and Firefly or I won't watch" stompy feet attitude.

When I'm watching it on Friday night, I'm expecting it to be a mainstream, family-friendly action-adventure of a show. That's what it has been sold as from the start. Disney/ABC haven't tried to mislead anyone here. There will no doubt the usually Jossian twists and turns but not to the extent that Joss has done before. But I'm fine with that.

And again, it's still too early to tell. But we live now in the instant fandom. And that's a different place from 10, 15 years ago.
It was perfect Simon, you are going to love it. Total Joss vibe and brilliance. IMO Joss should not be wedged into any mold, he is what he is and does what he does and lucky for us, he does it so very we'll.
I'm interested in why people want AoS to emulate Buffy or Firefly. You can't have the same thing again. It's just impossible. I would never want AoS to be exactly like other Whedon shows because it's just not a realistic expectation.

Also, I think putting this all on Joss, whether it's praise or otherwise, is unfair. It would be diminishing the hard work everyone else put into the show - you know, people like Jed and Mo, who are actually running the show. If you loved it, great. If you disliked it, maybe judge it with a different prism. It is their first major show after all.
I was enjoying it, but kinda iffy on it, until JAR's speech. Sold the thing for me. I'm glad the case of the week wasn't just window-dressing to get us into this world, but instead hugely thematically relevant. The plot resolution didn't feel earned to me (kinda like the show just ran out of time and so a solution was found off-screen) but the emotional story was completely earned, as Joss always does.

And yeah, the flying car was a bit too much for me. I would preferred if Skye had her, "What else could you possibly show me?" line, and then Coulson gets the call from Ward and says, "Let's find out" and they zoom off. No need for flash, sometimes.

A lot of stuff to work out, but no moreso than Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse had after their pilots (Firefly, you crazy diamond).

[ edited by sumogrip on 2013-09-26 14:35 ]
Watched it again last night, with the CC turned on, which helped a lot and let me catch some of the lines I missed before. Still found the score a bit overbearing at times (and great at others).

I still think the pacing was a little too breakneck. Even knowing what was going to happen I thought transitions were a little too quick, with little time to absorb what had just happened. But I'm sure they edited this very carefully and had to cut corners somewhere; I'm only bothered if this turns out to be the show's style.

Character-love? Yeah, still about the same. I can see amazing potential and some great relationships building but I didn't immediately love anybody. Then again, I didn't right away with Dollhouse either and I liked it more than most people did :).

Here's my problem with Skye, reinforced with a second watch: It's not that she's too pretty to be a hacker. That trope is idiotic. But she did seem awfully put together, mentally and cosmetically, to be a hacker who lives in a van. We're given the impression that's her only home. I don't look that good living in a house with a shower, how does she look so good on the street? That would have been an excellent way to separate her even more from the rest of the well-groomed cast, at least at first. Instead she looks like she goes to the same salon they do. She just didn't strike me at any point as someone desperate enough to choose that life. Intense, sure. Not desperate.

(Also, I hope she can modify her GPS-based encryption on the fly. Since she'd never know when she'd have to move her van due to emergencies or police or cranky building managers, I'd hate to think she'd lock herself out of her files during a gas run. That bit seemed a little too much like handwavium designed to get her in the van so she could be snatched. But hey.)

Again, despite how this sounds, I love this show. My crits are minor, compared to the many, many things that tripped my happy buttons. I'll be tuning in to watch it live every week, something I haven't done for any show for years. Criticism is not condemnation, and I've tried to make it useful criticism where I could.
Skye said her office was a van, not her home. Maybe she doesn't live in it. I'm in the liking Skye camp partly because she actually showed a personality.
I tried to pull together my scattered responses into a coherent and specific thing.
Watched it last night. I feel like Iím a late to the party but will give my two cents even though much of what I have to say has already been discussed. A few thoughts rather than a structured point of view:
I liked Skye who also gave me a freaky Eliza vibe. I donít have problems with hers looks/grooming. However bland or underwhelming someone thought the pilot to be, the interrogation scene alone made it worth it for me.
As for Fitz-Simmons, some have called them Topher twins (or Topher split in two). How about Topher and Bennett? That would be cool only without the romance and you know, the whole Whiskey thing. Although Iím hoping more for a Xander/Willow relationship (also with no romantic vibe). I didnít understand a word they said either but I wouldnít be surprised (and maybe someone who did pick up the dialog can correct me) if what they said is not that relevant and the taking fast and on top of each other thing was just to establish how they relate to each other regardless of what was actually said.
I donít really see Ward as a Ballard type, but I really hope they do something fast with his character or he can really be in Riley territory pretty fast. He did show humanity in the interrogation scene and we really had the first sense of attraction between him and Skye.
They really didnít go deep into character development and appear to focus more on Skye and Ward, but theyíll get there in the next few episodes.
A lot of folk like to compare it with the Firefly pilot, but thatís unfair; firstly Ďcause it ainít a two-parter and mostly Ďcause Serenity(pilot) was so gorram shiny, so it best not be compared.
I donít think Coulson is a LMD, only because thatís what people seem to be expecting and donít think Joss will go there (of course I could totally be wrong). I also found the Tahiti thing to be a self-referential Joss thingy, you know, how he chose to film Much Ado instead of go to Rome and then agreed to make this series.
On a last note: I watched it with my wife and my sister, and my wife got a The Pursuit of Happyness vibe from JAR and his kid. Also, I literally uttered the words Ďwhere we are going we donít need roadsí with the flying car (Iím such an overgrown child) and jumped, kicked and screamed when I saw the ME logo.
P.S. I think Coulson knows.
As a minor point, the Mutant Enemy logo did have sound on Hulu, where the teaser for the next episode wasn't replacing the episode's audio.

Also, b!X, that was a beautiful essay. The humanist undertones of the show reached me immediately upon my first viewing, but the collection of your responses to the episode brought it home to me in a more profound way; thank you.
I'm with these couple of folks at the end here who are saying that the criticism/comparison with Buffy/Angel/Firefly are unwarranted. Maybe it's because I AM somebody who's watching it with her family (specifically 3 children) or maybe it's because I get a little tired of the edgy/dark/violent=better quality line of thinking that's out there, but I don't mind at all that it's a bit more "family-friendly". I mean it's Disney/Marvel/ABC after all! So it was what I expected. There was something for all of my gang to enjoy. Action, witty dialogue, interesting characters (yes even though they need more development- I have faith that that will come), plot twists. In other words, I found it similar to Avengers, without the OTT action sequences. Why should family-oriented television be of the level of Disney Channel drivel? My kids deserve interesting, intelligent, quality programming too! :)
Oh, and this was much better than Arrow (which we also watch).

And if you don't know Bear McCreary, then you're not familiar with OTT scores LOL! I actually didn't find the score that McCreary-ish, but I will listen more carefully when I re-watch tonight.
I don't agree with the expectation floating out there that the AoS pilot should bring out Joss's signatures to the same degree and manner as his previous pilots. Joss' comment that The Avengers was meant to be a "great time" instead of a "great film" describes how I feel about this pilot, actually.

His previous TV shows all had structural reasons to be unique from the start: being about a vampire slayer, a vampire fighting evil, a surrogate family space western, a house of sci-fi prostitution. AoS steps into well-worn territory: a secret quasi-governmental organization that (seems to) protect the world. Also, it is setting out to be an ensemble show and the pilot has the job of bringing people together first, and in an environment (a professional workplace of superbly competent people in their respective fields) that doesn't invite surface "quirkiness" to the characters that might have been more possible within the other shows' premises. There is the job of fulfilling the expectations of the premise and establishing the rules of the universe, before one can subvert and twist them.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer took the high school show genre, deconstructed it, and made it into something transcendental. With AoS, I fully expect the same to be done with the sci-if spy genre. There needs to be some living within rules before you blow them up.
I had no idea what y'all were talking about when using the acronym LMD, until I read this:

I love all things robot, clone, cyborg, Cylon, or imprinted "Doll" so I'm totally down with this.
Nice essay b!X.

And I kind of think Coulson knows, too. Unless he's an LMD, then maybe not...

And I'm with VisionGirl -- I love those "not human/but human" characters (Data, 7 of 9, Cameron in TSCC, the Cylons...), and the possibility that the moral core of Shield is an LMD? Yesss.
And next human but not human, Ultron! A robot with a bee in his bonnet.

Is anyone else holding out for Coulson to become the Vision?

And yes, lovely essay, B!x.

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-09-26 20:52 ]
I loved it so much! It was *so* good to see Ron Glass and J. August Richards. It was Joss all over, and very hilarious as Lola took off at the end. The theme to 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' came to mind-
Just watched it myself. Enjoyable enough.

For me, the stakes are somehow lower. This isn't a Joss world, it's a Marvel world, Joss is just living in it. They've wisely given him a lot of the reins because he's good at his job, but he's always going to be walking in others' footsteps with this. So if the show tanks, my reaction will be, "Well, that's too bad."

The best part was the truth-serum move. JAR's speech at the end was, to my way of looking at it, Joss's way of sneaking in his usual political agenda. (Note the mural behind JAR as he speaks...) Which is fine with me. I rather hope that Whedon gradually shows us that Coulson and Fury are the ones pushing SHIELD to be better, rather than just an ubiquitous-spy-organization.
OK. Rewatched it on Hulu. The sound was perfect and I could understand them! They must have fixed it. I do see that Skye did say she was living in her van. Hmmm...
I thought it was great. I had my doubts before hand but the pilot just bowled me over. So it's my favourite new show.

...their miraculous appearance at Union Station with the uber-tranquilizer rifle was a tad too contrived

I don't understand what you mean by this. Do you mean because they showed us the Night-Night Gun at the beginning?

The One True b!X | September 26, 07:04 CET

A little bit yes and a little bit no, b!X...I know, clear as mud.

But what I meant was that I got a whole "forced" Chekov's Gun impression on the Night-Night Gun being introduced and then used as the deus ex machina to stop Mike from a-splodin' at Union Station at the episode climax. Like it was either:

1) to have the dramatic tension threat of Ward with a regular sniper rifle at the ready to kill Mike and the last second switcharoo to the NNG to throw in a plot twist (but someone realized "Ah...shit...Checkov's Gun! Fans will go nuts that a mysterious rifle that seems to be a tranquilizer gun just showed up! Gotta have it appear quickly in Act 1...I know! FitzSimmons!)


2) the scene where Ward arrives at the Bus's hanger, meets Fitz and Simmons after witnessing their argument over the NNG's then-current effectiveness due to needing a way to improve the sedative's effectiveness or put more in the round or make the shot's penetration effect better came first and the off-screen rifle swap and FitzSimmons arrival fitted to the Coulson vs. Peterson stare-down.

I guess I'm saying the NNG's use on Mike just didn't seem completely set up or correctly staged to me. I understand why Mike ended up be tranq'd but even a two-second scene of Fitz and Simmons rushing out of the Bus's lab or in transit would have made the whole reveal work better. But that's merely my opinion.
The second time round, I noticed the computer that says "say cheese". There is so much going on.
I saw it once on my computer, and I am excited to be able to see it again when I get home in a few days on a bigger screen. I will admit to saying at the end of when "grr arrgh" happened "I am SO in!"

I felt it hit the right tone for what the show was presented to be. I squeeed when I saw Ron Glass and JAR, like most, I do hope he gets to come back!

I liked the patter of FitzSimmons, and I agree that I think Coulson knows. When he said the second time "It is a magical place" the look in his eyes was painful.

I am very excited for this show, and am so beyond thrilled it did well. It feels like a cherry on the Vindication Sundae. :)

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