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TV Series Review

Things changed that day when an army of mechanized aliens burst through a rip in the sky and invaded New York City. That day—at least in the Marvel universe where the Avengers reside—people realized they were surrounded by near-incomprehensible forces and powers, things that we mere mortals have very little control over.

The agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. inhabit that smaller world filled with larger-than-life characters—liaisons between Avenger wannabes and the rest of us. "It means we're the line between the world and a much weirder world," says Agent Grant Ward in the first season. "We protect people from the news they're not ready to hear. And when we can't do that, we keep them safe." But what if S.H.I.E.L.D. can't protect itself from itself?

Marvel-ous Complications

Agent Ward—who turned out to be secretly an agent for the evil org Hydra—is now dead but apparently still working for the enemy, his body possessed by a great evil. The agency itself has been officially disbanded and discredited. But Director Phil Coulson and his loyal cadre of agents continue to fight the good fight, and you can bet they won't stop crusading for the cause of truth and justice until all the world's calamities have been cleansed. (Or until ABC cancels the show, whichever comes first.)

In the third season, the line between the "world and a much weirder world" is blurring. Regular folks—even some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents—are becoming "inhuman" as they're blessed (or cursed) with supersize powers. There's a showdown brewing between the nefarious business magnate Gideon Malick (who seems bent on ushering in an alien power too great to be withstood) and Coulson's cadre of good guys.

Coulson's bright, flawed team includes Daisy "Skye" Johnson, a one-time computer hacker who realizes that she's now able to manipulate the earth's natural vibrations to produce powerful shockwaves; Melinda May, who reluctantly offers up her near-lethal abilities; Lance Hunter, Bobbi Morse and Mack Mackenzie, who provide some battle-savvy brawn; and the tech duo of Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern-like pairing that collectively answers to the moniker FitzSimmons. And they're gathering more agents, particularly inhuman ones, as they go.

While big-screen plot points from Avenger members' various escapades impact the program's direction, don't expect Thor to make many cameos here. Bedazzled superheroes might look just fine on the larger-than-life movie screen, but the more episodic confines of television demand a bit more subtlety (if only a bit). While the latest season has taken on the trappings of a more traditional superhero world, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is as much X-Files and A-Team as it is Avengers, and cosmic superpowers often take a backseat to nifty gadgetry, agent interplay and ground-bound adventuring.

No S.H.I.E.L.D. From Problems

Superhero stories have proven to be an effective conduit to poke at some profound questions. What is good and evil? What makes us heroic? What makes us human? And with Agents being the brainchild of Avengers director Joss Whedon (who's also known for having done some serious thematic probing with television's Buffy the Vampire Slayer), this show tries to follow suit.

For all that promise, though, Agents has some sizable problems. These agents can do some positively gritty things, and their surroundings have gotten progressively darker. Their story is an inherently violent one—filled with fights and shootouts and occasionally grotesque corpses. Sexually charged double entendres can fly more than the superheroes do. And foul language can be an issue.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. makes an effort to try to do the right things, and that's important. But just like the agency itself, the television show has been infiltrated by a few nefarious elements.


Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Mar. 8, 2016: "Bouncing Back"
Agents-of-SHIELD: 11-18-2014
Agents-of-SHIELD: 4-1-2014
Agents-of-SHIELD: 9-24-2013



Readability Age Range



Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson; Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May; Brett Dalton as Grant Ward; Chloe Bennet as Skye; Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz; Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons; Nick Blood as Lance Hunter; B.J. Britt as Antoine Triplett; Reed Diamond as Daniel Whitehall; Kyle McLachlan as The Doctor; Luke Mitchell as Lincoln Campbell; Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Elena 'Yo-Yo' Rodriguez; Powers Boothe as Gideon Malick






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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