Joss Whedon’s “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Shimmies and Shines.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

After the all con­quer­ing suc­cess of Buffy and Angel, every­one in Hol­ly­wood was des­per­ate­ly pray­ing for Joss Whe­don to fall flat on his face. And sure enough, both Fire­fly and Doll­house duly bombed.

But Amer­i­cans do it seems have sec­ond acts after all. As a mat­ter of fact, all of them do. It was just Fitzger­ald who proved to be the excep­tion. And sure enough, Whe­don bounced back com­mer­cial­ly with the spec­tac­u­lar box office smash Avengers Assem­ble — reviewed ear­li­er here. And then, on a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent scale, with the much admired Much Ado About Noth­ing – reviewed by me ear­li­er here.

The ludicrously overlooked Firefly prequel "Serenity".

The ludi­crous­ly over­looked Fire­fly pre­quel “Seren­i­ty”.

And now he’s mar­ried those twin strands and has returned to tele­vi­sion with yet anoth­er Mar­vel prod­uct from their per­pet­u­al­ly revolv­ing assem­bly line.

There was real­ly only one of two ways that this could have gone. Either it would be one more depress­ing dilu­tion of what was once an inter­est­ing idea in the nev­er-end­ing pur­suit of point­less­ly amass­ing impos­si­ble to ever spend quan­ti­ties of pieces of coloured paper with num­bers on them. Yes Star Wars, we’re look­ing at you.

Or, some­how, we’d get a series that man­aged to mar­ry the panache, wit and exu­ber­ance of Buffy to a whole new fam­i­ly of characters.

Remark­ably, actu­al­ly amaz­ing­ly, he’s giv­en us the latter.

It’s some time in the future, and in the after­math of a dis­as­trous War the world has been reduced to a pri­mor­dial strug­gle between the forces of good and evil, but a world in which the tech­no­log­i­cal advances have ren­dered that bat­tle all the more per­ilous. And fun.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy.

Sarah Michelle Gel­lar as Buffy.

Impec­ca­bly struc­tured, and plot­ted with the kind of con­fi­dence that pro­duces reg­u­lar sur­pris­es, as ever it’s the smart, fast and con­stant­ly wit­ty dia­logue that both pro­pels the action for­ward and gives the show a gloss that com­plete­ly sets it apart. You can get a good sense of all of which from the Agents Of Shield trail­er here.

Whether or not they man­age to main­tain that daz­zling qual­i­ty through­out the rest of the show that they man­aged to squeeze in to the pilot only time will tell. But the first episode was flaw­less. And if you missed the Joss Whe­don space age trip first time around, jump on board.

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