Not bad. A lot of fun lines, though I need more time for the characters to grow on me. I'm still not sold on the actors other than Gregg and Wen, and Bennet's delivery annoys me when she's being smug or sarcastic, but I like them better than I did from the clips alone. (Although it feels like I've already seen half of this in previews.)
Mainly I'm struck by how upbeat this all is, and what a generally nice, well-meaning bunch of people these are. It's quite a reversal from the overall arc of Whedon's career, in which each of his shows has gotten progressively further from conventional ideas of good and evil, with a tendency to feature protagonists who were criminals or monsters or otherwise questionable people. My concern is that the premise may be a little too bland to really bring out the best writing in Whedon and his team.
Although there are clearly some secrets in the characters' pasts, notably Coulson's. His explanation of his resurrection is just what I've always thought it would be, but evidently it's not the whole truth, or not the truth at all, judging from the exchange between Maria Hill and Shepherd Book (or whatever he's calling himself these days). I really, really hope he's not a Life Model Decoy. This needs to be the genuine Phil Coulson. I mean, the whole show is a star vehicle for him. How can it not even be him? Besides, they did "lead character finds out he's a robot" on Power Rangers Operation Overdrive
, which was not one of their best seasons.
There were a lot of Marvel Universe nods, including one that puzzled me -- did they say the guy Ward took the Chitauri tech from in Paris was called Longshot? Isn't that the X-Men member from Mojoworld? But some of the nods were not very well-handled. Like when Coulson saw the reconstruction of the guy blowing up, he just said "Extremis, it's new" and that was the only explanation we got. The script just assumed that we'd seen Iron Man 3
and thus didn't bother to provide exposition on its own. That's sloppy writing; a story should always be understandable on its own even if it does draw on ideas from other stories.
But the use of Extremis does suggest that A.I.M. is behind the mystery. That could be cool. And it would make sense to use them as villains for this show, since they're not superpowered, they're just evil scientists. Well, except for MODOK, but who knows if they'd dare try to bring him to live action?
One thing of note, one of the "abilities" of the decoy is that it has enhanced agility. Note how Coulson bends over backwards/Neos on his heels to avoid the explosion. It's maybe that Coulson *is* a LMD and maybe the "real" Coulson is in a coma/rendered quadriplegic somewhere in a hospital unaware he's "living" through a LMD.
Oh, that's an interesting thought.
I did notice that he seemed to reflexively say "It's a magical place" about Tahiti every time it was mentioned. That suggests some kind of conditioned response.