Pilot Episode Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Are Present, But Where's Nick Fury?


I liked Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, but I didn’t love it. Being enamored could take time. Agents premiered to a big audience with 4.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic, making it the highest-rated scripted show of the night. In Joss Whedon’s latest bonanza, where is head honcho himself, Nick Fury? Nick Fury’s absent from Iron Man 3 so I held a tiny glimmer of hope he’d be even mentioned.

UPDATE: Agents have answered my question with a funny 67-second sequence at the end of “0-8-4.”

The pilot episode re-established Phil Coulson, whose true reason for being back from the dead left a mystery. His new group includes the capable and efficient Melinda May, the British duo Fitz & Simmons, newbie ex-black ops Grant Ward, and Skye, who’s unbelievable. She has the obligatory Hollywood beauty, but Chloe Bennet isn’t convincing playing an underground techno-whiz. Cobie Smulder’s Maria Hill is a welcome presence.

Watch the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 trailer below:

What could’ve been? How about Nick Fury having some involvement in the pilot somehow. It would’ve been cool seeing Nick Fury talk down Michael Peterson at Union Station. Part of me, as a Black guy, wanted that compelling imagery. Alas, Mr. Peterson is likely too low a priority for Nick Fury to do something.

Even with Nick Fury and the Avengers absent, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. balanced talky drama with action. For a TV show, its special effects are nowhere near gratuitous as Mockingbird Lane. Unlike that failed Munsters reboot, Agents gives Marvel Cinematic Universe fans modest expectations of super-powered action that won’t blow the budget.

Michael Peterson’s “origin story” is fraught with frustration. He’s desperate to get his factory job back thanks to his enhanced strength. He wants a good life for his son. Though he gets a moment in the spotlight as the “Hooded Hero,” Michael Peterson is more angry than noble. He’s not a hero, but someone I could relate to. I found the Michael Peterson stuff more compelling than the S.H.I.E.L.D./cloak-and-dagger (not THAT Cloak & Dagger) stuff.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. scenes viewers had to go through had snappier dialogue than standard TV fare about secret government agencies, but not much else. I’m tiring of watching government organizations in shows like Prison Break, Flash Forward, and so many others. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the product of the trustworthy Joss Whedon, but I want to verify if the show’s worth watching.

With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in place along with the upcoming movies and the Disney XD animated shows Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is in high gear. I hope that Agents won’t be my first major letdown.

See also: Nick Fury co-creator Jim Steranko’s thoughts on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot.

NEXT EPISODE: The Agents investigate object “0-8-4” in Peru. Coulson’s rewarded with a scolding from Nick Fury.

Author: Clarence

Webmaster, editor, writer of Red-Headed Mule. RHM was founded in 2011. Currently is liking British TV better than U.S. TV, mayhaps.

2 thoughts on “Pilot Episode Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Are Present, But Where's Nick Fury?”

  1. As a black guy, how do you feel that you’re not represented on the team? I said on Twitter that they could’ve had an Agent Rodriguez or Agent Jenkins. Does the team really need 2 Europeans? I doubt their budget could handle Sam Jackson, so a black member of the team would’ve gone a long way for me.

    1. Hmm. I don’t want to think too much about having a “token” Black member as an empty gesture. That said, Agents Simmons could’ve been played by someone like Freema Agyeman or Gugu Mbatha-Raw, or any female Black Britons. Even Simmons being South Asian would be cool. The weirdest thing is that Nick Fury wasn’t even mentioned, unless I’m really missing something. What’s the point of having a S.H.I.E.L.D. show if Nick Fury, the dude who came up with the Avengers Initiative, doesn’t seem to exist?

      Thanks for commenting, William.

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