A show set in the Marvel movie universe on our tv screens plus the return of Joss Whedon to television pretty much ensures this getting a season pass on the DVR and the top priority for recording.
But after watching the first episode, I wonder if my expectations were just a bit too high. Or if maybe the show needed another hour to have a bit of room to breath a bit more.
I’m not necessarily disappointed by the first episode of the series, but it’s not quite the home run I was hoping for.
As I said before, I think it needed a two hour running time (either as a two-hour premiere or a two-part story) to fully establish the characters. There were parts of the pilot that felt a bit rushed, almost as if Whedon and company were trying to check off a variety of things on a checklist for the series. Not only do we have to bring back Coulson but we have to introduce his team as well. Whedon is very good at shows that assemble a team of characters to confront an issue or a problem. And I’m hopeful as the series progresses we get more than development of all these characters than just the one or two personality traits we saw here.
For example, I wanted to know why Agent May is reluctant to head into the field. And I wanted to know more about Coulson’s death and the details that are apparently being covered up about it. I was less curious about why S.H.I.E.L.D. took so long to bring Sky into the fold or try to intimidate her and just what the backstory on Agent Ward is. But I’m holding out hope that in the coming weeks, we will get some more clues to allow my interest in them to grow.
Of course, the pilot wasn’t helped in that it has also has to establish the template for the show going forward. I’m going to assume that a lot of what we will see going forward is S.H.I.E.L.D. pursuing and intercepting various people with powers (better known as the monster of the week story). This could be interesting or it could be the weakest part of the show. Again, we’ll have to see just how things develop from here. I kept hoping that maybe J. August Richard’s character of Mike might be a long-term story or would stick around a bit more, but I am thinking he will be one-off, which is kind of a shame. Again, it felt like the pilot couldn’t decide where it wanted the focus to be and kept jumping around so much that I never got as invested in any of the characters as much as I would have preferred.
It’s not to say this is a bad pilot and I won’t watch again. Again, it’s Whedon so I’m pretty much going to give it a much longer leash than I would other show. But as I keep pondering this one, I find myself thinking it reminds me more of Dollhouse — that show started out with a lot of network oversight and some fairly lackluster first few episodes. Eventually Fox backed off and let Whedon do what Whedon does and the show improved a great deal. I wonder if that could or would happen here. ABC has a lot invested in this show and I can imagine that Whedon will have less of a free reign than he did on Buffy or Angel.