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Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD – Season 1 (DVD Review)

Agents-Of-Shield-S1As a part of Marvel’s Phase II, they decided to take the small screen with a series in support of their theatrical features and One-Shots.  That show would be Agents Of SHIELD, following SHIELD agents going around the country stopping baddies and discovering new people with superheros and supernatural artifacts.  It was also promised to be linked to the cinematic universes and sometimes would cross over with the events of movies and maybe a (realistic, sorry fanboys, Tony Stark is never coming to TV) character or two would show up on in an episode.  Another bombshell, the show would be led by Agent Coulson, back from the dead after being impaled by Loki in The Avengers.

Agents Of SHIELD

Season 

Believed to be dead, Agent Phil Coulson is quite the opposite, living and breathing and forming a new team within SHIELD.  He reveals himself to agent Grant Ward as he receives a higher clearance level.  Week to week, this rag tag bunch investigates new heroes, villains and artifacts while hunting, searching and learning about a new villain called “The Clairvoyant” who seems to know their every step.  Also at hand, what really happened to Coulson and why is he still alive after clearly being dead.

This was supposed to be THE big show last fall for Marvel fans and, well, let’s face it, anybody who goes to the movies.  It was going to give us some extra adventures and maybe and inside joke or two for us faithful who watched every week and went to all the movies.  Agents Of SHIELD was going to be less superhero focused and more street level, giving us possibly a cool spy show in the Marvel universe.  And, to boot, Joss Whedon was going to direct the pilot and oversee the thing.  He may have made a dynamite film in that of The Avengers, but TV has always been where Joss excelled.

SHIELD turned out to be a pretty poor effort for the first 3/4 of the season.  Crossovers were yawn inducing.  The show’s week to week episodes were incredibly generic and nothing special at all.  It annoyingly would name drop Avengers characters at least 3 times an episode as if that was “so cool”.  For being one of the most expensive shows on television, it looks cheap as hell.  There was an episode early in the season that took place on a beach that did not look far off from an episode of The A-Team.  As a matter of fact, that’s kinda exactly what this show was, in its stories and feel.  And the crossover it had with Thor: The Dark World was super SUPER lame.  Had this show not had its ties to Marvel, I would have been less kind to it and probably stopped easily after 5-6 episodes.  But for some reason, I stuck with it because I like to torture myself or I’m just weak.

The characters on the show were all super vanilla and super lame aside from Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen, but even Coulson started to grow tired as they kept from telling us his “secret” (which turned out to be pretty dumb) for the longest amount of time stretching it paper thin.  Highlighting the worst of it was Skye, an incredibly pointless character that serves pretty much no purpose other than being an “exposition machine” and the audience’s “in” with SHIELD.  It doesn’t help either that Chloe Bennett isn’t capable of handling the role as her hacker and spy ways are incredibly unbelievable and she doesn’t sell it well.  They had a chance to be bold and sever ties with that character later in the season, but chickened out.  I’m really hoping she and the writers can repair or fix Skye for season 2 because she stands as one of the top things bad about it.

Sticking did bring about a re’Ward’ing experience in the end however (Skye still sucked though) following Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The show suddenly had a drive, focus, character evolution and some solid cliffhangers and suspense (AND Patton Oswalt!).  Was this the problem all along?  Was Agents Of SHIELD stuck with being a procrastination and waiting game for The Winter Soldier to drop so it could truly hit the marks of what it wanted to be?  After leaving the theater from Winter Soldier opening weekend, I was actually looking forward to seeing what would happen on Agents Of SHIELD Tuesday Night.  And this was the point where I was beyond broken with the show.  They actually followed up the movie and finished out the show with a stronger final 6 episodes.  I think it was too much too late though as a lot of people had already given up on the show, and I’m not sure this brought them back.

Agents Of SHIELD isn’t my favorite show on television and to be quite honest, the majority of the first season was pretty horrible.  But, it seemed to find its stride toward the end and looks like it has an idea of what it truly is.  Plus, they’ve had a whole first season of feedback (that they’ve shown they listen to.  And if you’re still listening, please kill off Skye 🙂 ), so it may be able to swing its back into favor.  If you’ve not seen Season 1, I recommend skimming around the first 16 episodes (hitting the pilot and “Eye Spy” for sure) and then getting serious and marching to the end with Episode 17 on.  Marvel’s learning TV, and they may have been a bit overconfident on this show out the gate, and a lot of television’s greatest shows of all time have had “meh” first seasons.

Agents of SHIELD

Episodes

Pilot

0-8-4

The Asset

Eye Spy

The Girl In The Flower Dress

F.Z.Z.T.

The Hub

The Well

Repairs

The Bridge

The Magical Place

Seeds

T.R.A.C.K.S.

T.A.H.I.T.I.

Yes Me

End Of The Beginning

Turn, Turn, Turn

Providence

The Only Light In The Darkness 

Nothing Personal

Ragtag

Beginning Of The End

Agents Of SHIELD 3

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is going to sound bizarre, but I think the picture quality of this DVD actually helps the show’s look.  I watched every episode on ABC HD as it aired and I mentioned it looked like a cheap A-Team episode.  Here on the DVD edition, it actually looks a little more cinematic and not so cheap.  Detail is still pretty good, and some of the best you could ask for in a DVD.  But, the best thing is that the show doesn’t look so crummy anymore.

Depth:  Depth is average, and this is a DVD we’re talking about so its more flat than if you’re checking out a Blu-ray.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich.  Some crushing and masking of detail does occur but it is minimal.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are solid and pronounced.  Blue is the color leaned on the most.

Flesh Tones:  Flesh tones are lifelike and consistent.  Maybe a little more on the white end of the spectrum.

Noise/Artifacts:  None aside from normal DVD picture issues.

Agents Of SHIELD 4

Audio 

Audio Format(s):  English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai

Dynamics:  This is a solid all around Dolby Digital track.  Features plenty of well rounded effects and a good variation of effects, dialog and music.  Its pretty much the best you’re going to get for DVD quality.

Low Frequency Extension:  Gun shots, engines, explosions, thumping among other things get some subwoofer action.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Some good ambient noise allows you to feel like you’re on the plane.  The rear speakers are used strategically during battle scenes and there is plenty of right and left channel interplay.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear, loud and front heavy.

Agents Of SHIELD 2

Extras 

I was only sent the bare discs, so I’m not sure if this comes with any coupons or digital copies.

Disc 1

Commentaries

  • “FZZT” – Co-executive Producer/Writer Paul Zbyszewski and Actors Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge

Disc 3

Commentaries

  • “The Magical Place” – Supervising Producer/Writer Brent Fletcher and Actors Clark Gregg and Chloe Bennett
  • “T.R.A.C.K.S.” – Co-producers/Writers Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc and Actors Ming-Na Wen and J August Richards

Disc 4

Marvel Studios: Assembling A Universe (SD, 43:05) – A mini documentary covering the cinematic history of The Avengers leading up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy, featuring cast and crew interviews as well as Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave’s Tom Morello and Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan.

Disc 5

Journey Into SDCC (SD, 13:14) – Follows the cast through their big debut at San Diego Comic Con, which includes a troubled bus breakdown issue on the way to the convention.

Field Reports – These little featurettes highlight a big special effects or shooting of a specific scene in a given episode.

  • Field Report 105B “The Malibu Jump” (SD, 2:54) 
  • Field Report 110 “The Bridge” (SD, 3:39) 
  • Filed Report 115 “Asgardian Bar Fight” (SD, 3:08)
  • Field Report 117 “Classified” (SD, 4:17)
  • Field Report 119 “Cello Duet” (SD, 3:46)

VFX Progressions – Displays before, after and during the process shots of effects all on the screen together.

  • Lola Takes Flight (SD, 1:09)
  • Free Falling (SD, 1:36) 

Bloopers Of SHIELD (SD, 6:32)

Deleted Scenes (SD, 6:56)

Sneak Peak – Guardians Of The Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, ABC Television

Agents Of SHIELD 3

Summary 

Agents of SHIELD’s first season comes in a pretty solid set.  Its got top of the line audio and video for a DVD, complimented by some nice bonus material.  However, I’d just recommend you go with the Blu-ray edition if you’re gonna go out and spend some solid money on this show.  The first season is largely uninteresting, but did pick things up in its final 6 episode run that leaves viewers hopeful for the second season.  Which, that season starts soon, so if you’re wanting to catch up or brush up, you better get started soon!

Agents-Of-Shield-S1-DVD

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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