Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season review

Marvel's smallscreen superhero spin-off struggles to take flight during its debut season

Having achieved domination of the world's cinemas, it was inevitable that Marvel Studios would also take aim at our televisions. Spinning off from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows the exploits of a special team of secret agents tasked with travelling the world and investigating reports of super-powered individuals.

With Joss Whedon serving as a showrunner, expectations were high that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be another sure-fire hit for Marvel Studios. And yet, following a solid pilot episode (directed and co-written by Whedon) the show found itself bogged down with dull villain-of-the-week stories and bland characterisation that failed to recapture that Marvel magic that has made its feature-length outings so successful.

Thankfully, this all changed towards the end of the season, when it caught up with the fallout from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Turning the series' world completely upside down is exactly what was needed to reinvigorate some of the characters and add excitement to the ongoing storyline. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can keep up this level of quality from now on, then Season Two promises to be something pretty special…

Picture: Spread across five BD50 platters, the 22 episodes feature the sort of strong hi-def visuals we've come to expect from Disney's Marvel releases. The AVC 1.78:1 1080p encodes improve noticeably on the Channel 4 HD broadcasts in the UK with increased colour saturation, more refined detailing and increased clarity in dark scenes.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: Originally produced and broadcast in 5.1, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. touches down on Blu-ray with a pleasing array of DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks. While dialogue is always prioritised, there's some tasty dynamism here, with excellent channel separation and some surprisingly booming bass effects.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: There's a middling selection of bonus bits: three episode commentaries; a TV special about the MCU; footage from Comic-Con; five brief Making of… featurettes; deleted scenes; VFX clips; and a gag reel.
Extras rating: 2.5/5

We say: This troubled series still manages to look like a hi-def hero on Blu-ray

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season, Walt Disney, All-region BD, £35 Approx