After a year without Agents of SHIELD, the series returns with a roar as it kicks off its sixth season. Right out of the gates, Mark Kolpack and the visual effects team take it up another notch as they craft some of the best CGI you'll see on TV. Between massive cosmic set pieces to spaceships and otherworldy goodies, the visual effects you see are akin to something you'd see in a theater rather than on network television.
Halfway through the premiere, it's evident a shorter episode order is a godsend for the series, addressing several of the show's faults within the first episode alone. It moves along at a brisk pace instead of lollygagging around for a handful of episodes, instantly creating some much-needed tension early on. In the episode we were given to review, the traditional multiple-arc SHIELD storyline has returned, allowing the show to move pretty fast -- at the very least, much more quickly than previous seasons.
For a show that's been around nearly six years, it's a pleasant surprise to see the cast performing the best they have yet. Daisy Johnson is the clear leader of the pack, and there's no denying Chloe Bennet dominates the lead role through her tenacity and no-nonsense leadership. In fact, should SHIELD go away someday, it's pretty apparent Bennet and her character are ready to make the jump to the silver screen.
And surprising few, Elizabeth Henstridge continues to steal most scenes she appears in. This time around, we see a Jemma Simmons we haven't necessarily seen before. She's less methodical, growing a bit careless, and on the verge of becoming completely unhinged, and it's a role in which Henstridge hits the mark every time.
In terms of story, it still seems as if the folks in charge don't know what to do with SHIELD itself. Technically the agency is still a public-facing entity, though marred by scandal and mishap, and the show continues to give off the vibe that it's still an underground organization. Regardless, the space-based stuff continues to be intriguing, though it somewhat straddles the line of becoming redundant. A person can only take so many bad space guys in black leather suits, after all. Fans of the fifth season and cosmic tales will continue to enjoy the show as it uses those story arcs to tie into the espionage-based plot points that attracted fans in the first place.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Agents of SHIELD returns to ABC Friday, May 10th beginning at 8/7pm CT.