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“An ant has no quarrel with a boot,” said Loki to Nick Fury towards the beginning of “The Avengers.”
In a lot of ways, the films of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe are about the boots, those larger-than-life heroes who could squash us without a second thought.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” then, is about the ants. As a companion piece to the films, the show hopes to capture the human perspective in a world populated by gods and monsters. And who better to lead this merry band then the proverbial ant of “The Avengers,” Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg)?
Spoiler alert, true believers: Coulson does indeed live in the pilot to this highly anticipated show. Exactly how, no one knows. We’ll find out over the course of the season.
In the meantime, Coulson is recruiting special agents who will deal with superhero-related cases in a world set after “The Avengers”. Think “CSI” mixed with “Fringe” and the “X-Files,” and that’s basically the set-up.
While the show itself has potential, the pilot doesn’t exactly live up to expectations. With the reputation of it being a Joss Whedon produced Marvel show, the hype was huge to begin with.
The pilot does have many Whedon traits, from snappy dialogue to a quirky ensemble cast. This could easily turn into the next “Buffy” or “Firefly.”
However, not all of the Whedon-like humor hits the mark; the action is very sparse, and the characters still need some development.
Several new agents are introduced, from a combat specialist to a computer hacker to a pair of British scientists. None of them really stand out, and some are either too annoying or too underdeveloped to come across as real characters.
Gregg’s Coulson shines as always, but he can’t carry an ensemble on his own. The real standout is Mike Peterson (J. August Richards), an original superhero created for the show, who becomes the team’s first case. His story was fun and engaging, which shows the true promise of this series.
There’s a lot to like in this pilot, but if “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” wants to last past a season, it needs a lot of fine-tuning. This could be a great companion to the films, but more characterization is needed for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” to really work.

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