You know a show is truly awesome when the only complaint you have about it is its title. Why all those periods, ABC?!
In all seriousness, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is far and away our favorite new series of the 2013 fall TV season and trust us, we were dubious. It's Marvel's first foray into the world of television since establishing its superhero dominance with hit films such as The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America and we were nervous about the production value. Could a Marvel series work without any actual superheroes? And there's no way the show could live up to the massive hype, right? Plus, there's that bitter Joss Whedon fan in us who is still mourning the early deaths of Firefly and Dollhouse.
Alas, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the television event of the year; giving you everything you look for from a TV show: action, laughs, a touch of mystery, great writing and acting, and, most importantly, it's the most entertaining new offering this season. Seriously, we dare you not to smile while you watch the series premiere.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition:NCIS(CBS), The Originals (The CW), Dads/Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker
Status: We've seen the pilot episode...only once as ABC and Marvel are keeping this one super-classified
1. In Joss We Trust: Quippy one-liners? Check. Badass female characters? You betcha. Perfect blend of action and heart? Why, of course. Seriously, S.H.I.E.L.D. is classic Joss Whedon just on a mainstream stage. Longtime fans of the writer-director will see shades of Buffy and Firefly, while Joss newbies who discovered his sheer awesomeness thanks to The Avengers will also get their weekly dose of the irresistible energy he brought to the massive hit.
2. Coulson Lives and We All Win: Seriously, Marvel and ABC are just spoiling us with the gift of having the charming Clark Gregg on our TV screens each and every week as the male lead. Even better? Keeping his miraculous return from death a season-long mystery, with some intriguing bread crumbs sprinkled throughout the pilot.
"He lives and he thinks he knows why he's there and he thinks he knows the whole story," Gregg teases. "Then we find out maybe there's more to the story."
3. Subtle Ties to Franchise: While none of the Avengers pop up during the pilot, there are several nods to the franchise, including a sizable cameo from Cobie Smulders as Agent Marie Hill, who will recur throughout the first season, and major synergy with a storyline from Iron Man 3. Your homework? Watch Iron Man 3 and The Avengers prior to watching S.H.I.E.L.D. Oh, and there is potential for some of the big superheroes to pop up eventually. "What's cool about that world is anybody could show up at any time," Gregg hints. Chloe Bennet is hoping for an appearance from Chris Hemsworth as Thor, telling us, "His arms are really great!" Amen, sister!
4. Band of Misfits: In classic Whedon fashion, a group of unlikely allies comes together to form Coulson's team. You've got Grant Ward (Dalton), the cocky up-and-comer with the skills to back up his smart mouth; Melinda May (Wen), the seasoned badass-pilot with a troubled past we can't wait to learn about, Skye (Bennet), the gorgeous and witty hacker/superhero aficionado recruited to join the team, and sure-to-be fan favorite duo "Fitzsimmons," aka Jemma Simmons (Henstridge) and Leo Fitz (de Caestacker). They're British. They're smart. They're adorable. Think Buffy's Willow meets Dollhouse's Topher.
Together they form the 2013 fall TV season's most dysfunctionally awesome family you wish you were a part of.
5. Money Well Spent: Nervous that a lot of the action and special effects would come off cheesy given that TV shows generally have much smaller budgets than movies? Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief as S.H.I.E.L.D. looks daaamn good and as some of the best production value we've ever seen on television. Hype, consider yourself more than lived up to.
Our Review in .GIF Form:
Verdict: Watch it. Live it. Love it.
Take our poll below and tell us if you'll be watching, DVR-ing or passing on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.