Fast-paced almost to a fault, and funny and expensively produced, with the handsomest high-tech sets this side of vintage Ken Adam, the 8 p.m. "family hour" premiere of Joss Whedon's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (ABC) was a good deal better than it had to be.
As one Deadline commenter noted, "S.H.I.E.L.D." was "the most predictable hit in years, if not decades," but the result was still impressive. According to "The Hollywood Reporter," the show "averaged a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49 and brought in 11.9 million viewers … it now ranks as the top network drama premiere since ABC's 'V' in 2009."
Created and run by recent EW coverboy Whedon, along with brother Jed and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen ("Dollhouse"), the show benefits from his trademark snark-casm, as exemplified particularly, in the Joss-directed pilot, by the regular-guy facetiousness of the boss, Clark Gregg's conveniently resurrected "Avengers" casualty Phil Coulson, and in the overlapping by-play of Scot Iain De Caestecker and Brit Elizabeth Henstridge as bickering techies. Ron Glass and Cobie Smulders are notable supporting players.
The show assumes a fair amount of inside Marvel knowledge on the part of its viewers, which at this point is not much of a stretch. But all the elaborate backstories being spun out don't always promote comprehension. The target audience, one suspects, will have little trouble keeping up.