Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Ordered to Full Series

In the no-brainer decision category, ABC has ordered Marvel Studios' first TV project, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to full series.

Taking place after the events of The Avengers, and tying into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the series follows a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, led by Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who investigate "unclassified" cases. The series was developed by Marvel's current creative mastermind (and Avengers writer/director) Joss Whedon, who also directed the pilot episode. The pilot was written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

The series will also star Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge. You can see the 30 second promo for the series below:

So, that looks pretty epic. Obviously this is a no-brainer for ABC, I mean who wouldn't want to tie themselves into probably the biggest franchise going right now? And for Marvel, it's another platform for them to integrate into. Although Whedon has said that the series will focus on the periphery of the Marvel Universe, I'm sure Marvel is looking at this as a cheap way and lower risk way to introduce characters that could conceivably launch new film franchise or bolt into existing ones.

That being said, it's also got some risks to it. First, you've got to worry about diluting the brand with an inferior product. Marvel is about spectacle, and it's really hard to deliver huge spectacle on a TV series budget. If it seems too small in comparison to the big budget movie stuff, it could make it seem cheap. Whedon has said that this show is about people on the periphery of the big-time superhero stuff (and it would pretty much have to be) but will that disappoint fans or not?

Whedon's involvement infers a level of quality, which is reassuring. There are very few people out there as good at setting up and running a TV series and making it interesting (JJ Abrams is probably the only other person at that level. Maybe David Kelley). But how involved will he be going forward has yet to be seen. A lot is riding on how interesting that cast is.

Which brings me to Clark Gregg. Look, I like Clark Gregg. Whenever he has shown up in things, I have always enjoyed him. But I've never seen him in a lead role. And what I have seen him in has basically called for him to his deadpan delivery and that's about it. I think Choke, which he also directed, expanded that range, but it was still a pretty small role. Can he be the draw for a whole series? Can he anchor this? And (SPOILER) how will they handle basically bringing him back from the dead?

I'll watch this. Who are we kidding, it's Whedon and Marvel. But I can see this being a high-wire act in terms of pulling it off. You've gotta love how these people take such big risks. Let's hope they pull it off.

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