Anyone expecting an action extravaganza on par with The Avengers from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be quickly re-educated mere minutes into the show’s pilot. The opening scene is a traditional “superhero saves damsel from burning building” bit with special effects that, on the continuum from ‘60s Doctor Who to Iron Man 3 fall, appropriately enough, somewhere around Buffy (and somewhere beneath television contemporaries like Game of Thrones).
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s action sequences mostly range from “meh” to okay – it’s not just the special effects, but the necessity of framing action sequences with actors who don’t have the luxury of a Hollywood fight choreographer. The same is true of the bulk of the actual plot of the drama, which is shuffled along as quickly as possible without the writers or actors showing a great deal of interest.
So, is the show bad? Thankfully not – it’s nothing amazing (yet!), but S.H.I.E.L.D. shines whenever it gets to kick its feet back and have its cast (especially Clark Gregg) exchange snappy quips, bad jokes and charming repartee, often while lampshading the script’s plentiful clichés. At its best, S.H.I.E.L.D. is as breezy and funny as any good Whedon show, and that’ll keep me tuning in.