Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m., ABC
Co-created by geek idol Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), this hyperactive series plucked from the Marvel comic-book canon is an epilogue to Whedon’s big-screen “Avengers” adaptation, in which the U.S. government grapples with the existence of mutant superheroes and aliens.
Clark Gregg reprises his role from the big-screen “Iron Man” and “Avengers” films as the newly resurrected Agent Coulson, who assembles an international team of agents who all work for the mysterious S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, with all those annoying periods intact) whose mission is to . . . start a list, I guess? Jetting the globe in their tricked-out jet, the agents hunt for everyday people with superpowers, hoping to find them before a sinister group known as Rising Tide gets to them first.
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” launches with a plucky, adventuresome and remarkably non-pretentious pilot episode, but if you haven’t been reading Marvel Comics lately (or at all — Stan Lee first dreamed up a S.H.I.E.L.D. story line in 1965), then the show can feel somewhat exclusionary and, frankly, a little too cornball and cutesy about its own geekiness. There’s an opportunity here to riff on the contemporary issue of government intrusion and Wikileaks paranoia, but, in its first episode at least, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” seems more like a Comic-Con afterparty in which not enough people came dressed as superheroes. Grade: B-