Through Hulu's terribly commercialized interface, I was finally able to see the Agents of Shield pilot. (I work Tuesday nights and missed it.) I tried to go in with very few expectations, and for the most part, that strategy paid off. I was pleasantly surprised when unexpected references were made, or this or that actor showed up (happiest surprise=Ron Glass, who I hope isn't just making a cameo here.)
What I liked:
Fitz & Simmons: These two characters were having the most fun, and I think the actors must like each other very much, because their banter was believable and funny, very true to life and not at all nerdish stereotype. They also had the most personality of any of the characters, although the others all had HINTS dropped about background information that will no doubt come to light soon enough.
J. August Richards: The character and the actor were both fantastic. Richards is such a good actor, and it was a joy to see him on my TV screen again. ( Spoilers regarding who he played: )
Union Station: Yay for a real L.A. location! I love that station and have often felt it would be a perfect setting for a movie or show, and it did not disappoint. I was trying to guess from the lighting what time of day the crew was shooting during, and I think it was relatively early morning, judging from the brightness of the light.
Lola = Ha ha ha, excellent! :)
What I did not like:
Grant Ward: I hate to judge a character so quickly because he does have all season to evolve, but if this is the character the audience is supposed to identify with the most, then AUGH/BARF. I don't care that he has Issues, or that he's the Best Espionage Agent Since Romanov (oh hell no), I think he's an arrogant, insufferable douchebag, and I was pleased as punch when ( spoilers happened. )
If he's going to continue as the central hero, then I hope he loses his arrogant B.S. really fast.
What I am "meh" about:
There was something about this pilot that felt... kind of mechanical. With other Whedon shows, especially Buffy and the first few seasons of Angel, I had the distinct impression that no one was telling anyone on the staff of the show what to do, that as long as they didn't go completely over the top, they were left alone to construct plot arcs as they liked. But this show has so many factors leading into it, and so many people producing and executive producing. It seemed a bit forced in parts, and even though Clark Gregg had a great time lamp-shading some of those forced bits of plot and/or character make-up, they were still there. I hope this feeling will go away with a few more episodes, but this sort of problem is often the thing that makes me break up with TV shows.