Five months ago, I wrote about what I wanted to see in the new S.H.I.E.L.D. television show. At the time, I referred to it as a Wonder Woman level rumor out of general cynicism and an urge not to get my hopes up. The good news is that the show still exists! It’s started production! Though we still don’t know a lot we know some, and I thought it would be a good time (before we know more) to talk about the show so far, and how it’s shaping up in relation to my expectations.
At the time I first wrote about it there was pretty much nothing to go on, so I speculated based on what I knew about Whedon’s work, which in the past has involved strong season and series arcs and an ongoing ensemble cast. We still know very little about the plotting, though I did pull out this tweet which implies that though the story may be unclear, there’s a script!
As far as the overall story, Whedon has stated that the S.H.I.E.L.D. television show, while it takes place in the same universe as the movies, needs to be independent. I see this as a strong indicator that he wants to create stories focused on the primary characters, rather than making them turn on bigwigs that are often off-screen (i.e. “Iron Man just left, but he was totally here a minute ago.”). This is very good news.
I have mixed feelings about the cast so far (it’s great to see Agent Coulson back, even though his survival is a bit hard to swallow). My concern in fall was that we’d be stuck with one, failed season of “S.H.I.E.L.D. 90210.” Though Colson’s presence helps, I’m still a little concerned. Of the six regulars, two are older (“older” in this case just means not in their twenties), a couple look like they belong on the cover of a college catalogue, and two seem to be in the middle. My hope is that good writing and a strong sense of direction will help the show not dwell on twenty-something drama. It was fine for Buffy, less so here. I’m glad that it’s on ABC and not the CW.
One of the things that I wanted to see was political intrigue, and humans trying to assert themselves in a superhero world. In response I have this:
“Well, what does S.H.I.E.L.D. have that the other superheroes don’t? And that, to me, is that they’re not superheroes,” said Whedon. “But they live in that universe. Even though they’re a big organization, that [lack of powers] makes them underdogs, and that’s interesting to me.”
Ultimately it’s going to come down to the writing, and I have some faith that they can pull off something fun and engaging. The show premieres in fall and for those interested, you can follow its progress on Facebook and Twitter. More to come.