Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Pilot Thoughts: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Trophy Wife
To say I was highly anticipating Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be seriousy understating it as evidenced by a post I wrote a few months back. My anticipation just grew after the pilot was screened at Comic Con over the summer and I've been counting down the days ever since. Finally, I saw the pilot last night and well... it was fine.
As the TV spin-off of the third highest grossing film ever, there was a lot riding on the first episode and while I think it was mostly successful in introducing us to its world and its characters, it was less successful in making me care about them. Most of this could be attributed to some of the cast, namely Brett Dalton and Chloe Bennett, not being quite ready to shoulder a big show like this and unfortunately in the pilot their characters served as the audience surrogates to the inner workings of SHIELD. Even Agent Coulson himself, played by the wonderful Clark Gregg, seemed a bit more overwhelmed headlining a show versus acting as a small supporting character in a movie. A part of me wishes that the episode had less to do about SHIELD and more about getting to know the people their seeking, in this case, Mike Petersen played by Whedon alum J. August Richards. It would've been great to have seen more of his struggles about the post-Avengers world everyone now find themselves inhabiting.
The show itself does feel cinematic at times, whatever that means, but by doing so also amplifies the moments when it feels like TV. The set design in the opening scene for example and subsequent scenes in that same set felt cheap and almost an afterthought especially compared to some of the on-location shots they were able to get. But I think at this point I'm bit overly nit-picky, because even with all its flaws, I know it will get better. Whedon has proven himself way too many times already for me to really worry at this early stage. I just wished I was more blown away by it. One thing I realized though, as much as I like How I Met Your Mother, I'm now counting down the days that is over so Cobie Smulders can be in this show full time. B-
I wasn't going to watch Trophy Wife, but a few positive notices from critics swayed me into checking it out and there's certainly more to the show than what its title suggests (reminds me of Cougar Town in that way). Malin Akerman plays Kate, the titular wife to Bradley Whitford's Pete, his third wife to be exact. He has been married twice previously and has three kids resulting from those prior marriages. His relationship with his ex-wives are friendly enough that he still keeps in constant contact with them. It's in this weird modern family unit that previously single and carefree Kate finds herself in. Akerman, full of innate charm and a knack of physical comedy, is my favorite part of the episode, but the whole ensemble shows a lot of promise. B-