Hello everyone. So, there's going to be a SHIELD TV show. Joss Whedon's writing the pilot, his younger brother and Maurissa Tancharoen will act as show runners (a fact that should make fans of Doctor Horrible and Spartacus very happy) and the elder Whedon (Whedon Prime? Vector Whedon?) will, apparently, pop in and “take credit” from time to time. No Fury. No Hill. No Helicarrier. But all SHIELD all the time.
Let's stop and take a look at that shall we; three of the best writers working in genre TV and movies today, are writing a SHIELD TV show. How about we talk about that? So put your good suit on, check to make sure your name tag does not say “Coulson” and prepare for answers to the following question:
What would you like to see from the SHIELD TV show?
Steven ELLIS: Agent Phil Coulson. I don't care that he died in The Avengers . I miss him. I want him back. Maybe they could do an origins of SHIELD story as part of the series and have him feature in that. It would also be great if you could get the A-lister from the films to pop up for an occasional cameo.
As for what the show should be about as a general theme, how about have it be about the normal everyday members of SHIELD? The guys who go in and clean up the mess and deal with the aftermath when the big names go home after battles like the one in the Avengers film. Some sort of focus on some of the most un-super aspects of the superhero business could be interesting if done correctly. The Item 47 short on the Blu-ray touches on that kind of thing so I guess we'll see how that goes.
Laura McConnell: Well, first off, I just don't see Cap, Iron Man and Thor transitioning well to the small screen right now. Sure, the occasional cameo or a costumed hero in the background might work, but I don't think this show can pull off being about the big heroes for two reasons. One is logistics. It's too hard and too expensive to get Chris Hemsworth, RDJ, Chris Evans, etc. Two, those characters will be covered in the films. Marvel won't want to mess with the cash cows.
Therefore, I think this show needs to focus on the smaller players. Maria Hill is a great character in the comics, but she will likely suffer the same fate as the others in that Cobie Smulders is unlikely to be available. Recasting is a possibility, but I'm not sure I like that idea. So, I'd like to make this show about the countless other SHIELD agents out there and the myriad other superheroes they interact with. You don't need Nick Fury, either, as much as we'd all love to have him in some way. SHIELD is a global network. There are more bosses out there.
That said, this is a tall order to pull off well. The general public doesn't know any other SHIELD characters and why would they watch when they don't know who those people are? So this will need to be a smart, well-written, and perfectly-paced show in order for it to work without the big guys, but I have faith it can do it. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
John Cooper: Oh the possibilities! Joss Whedon taking on a SHIELD telly programme is a hand-in-glove fit it is for his talents. It'll be interesting seeing how they give the show its own identity on a budget, as surely there will have to be superheroes in it with a certain degree of regularity, but at the same time avoid it looking like cheaper telly friendly knock-off of the Avengers . Good plan, then, to run with SHIELD as the premise, with the whole Marvel universe to cherry pick from the tricky part won't be pleasing the fans with a guest star of the week, but maintaining a focus on what the show should be about.
There's surely room for comedy snarking, often Whedon at his most verbally pleasing. Hopefully Marvel is trusting enough to poke fun at its less successful z-list bad guys. Maybe a team-up of The Orb and Ruby Thursday? Or a mirror universe/evil twin episode where the team meet alternate versions of themselves, led by a eye-patch wearing, cigar-chomping ’70s-style Nick Fury played by Ron Perlman.
But who should be in it? It would make sense for main protagonists to be regular human SHIELD agents, but what of the other ensemble characters? Looking at previous Whedon shows eclecticism is key, so if I were to suggest five(ish) characters I'd love to see floating around the sky solving crime in a big helicarrier it would be these guys:
• Doc Samson – Brains and brawn with a handsome face, closely linked to the Hulk and gamma irradiated, he's helped SHIELD in the past.
• Vision or Machine Man – The android outsider. I love Machine Man and Vision was pretty cool, though they both cover similar ground, on telly it would be easy for them to be too familiar to Data from Star Trek . Saying that, Vision has loads of history, and is a much more mature and distant.
• Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung Fu – Basically he's a well-hard kung-fu bloke who took down Fu Manchu and knocked about with a bloke called Black Jack Tarr, a stiff upper-lipped English bloke with a curly moustache and turtleneck sweater. Add them both.
• Moondragon – Badass psychic bald woman. Nuff' said.
• Quasar – Finally, something a bit cosmic. We got to see a tiny sliver of the “bigger universe” of Marvel in Avengers Assemble ; it would be good have a character providing a mouthpiece for that bigger picture. Confined to Earth perhaps, and a little egotistical, coming out with all manner of space-based anecdotes like a blond captain Jack Harkness with a penchant for giant shiny cufflinks.
Matt Risley: Wow. Where to begin…? The easiest win would be to get Cobie Smulders to reprise her Avengers role as Maria Hill – not only is the character a major part of the comics’ SHIELD universe, but it'd give her a chance to flesh out one of the few characters in Whedon's mega-juggling act who didn't really get enough time in the spotlight.
Plot-wise, as much as I've enjoyed their “getting the gang together” role in the cinematic Marvel Universe, it's not the most exciting property or character set to get excited about. Recruit some fairly generic supporting cast to give the show an identity of its own (one not too beholden to a big corporate parent) and then indulge on weekly globe-trotting adventures with plentiful cameos from an array of Marvel's C-List superheroes and supervillains (let's face it – they're not going to have Robert Downey Jr popping in on a weekly basis).
So, in short: comic cameos, a fun and fresh cast, and lots of beautifully shot action-type stuff.
Will Salmon: First and foremost, I want it to be a Joss Whedon show. I loved Avengers Assemble , and appreciated that to a certain extent he reigned in his signature tone of voice (a tone of voice I adore). That was necessary for the film. But in a TV show, with lots of room to breath, I'd like to see him dazzle us again with all the witty banter, brilliant characterisation, shock deaths, emotional trauma, moral ambiguity and outright comedy that characterised Buffy and Firefly .
And hey, it'd be nice to have episodes written by Tim Minear and Jane Espenson too...
Above all, though, I just hope it's a good show that takes a few dramatic risks, and goes to places the big summer films wouldn't.
Alasdair Stuart: I think we may have met one of the leads in Whedon's show already Titus Welliver is starring in Item 47 , the short movie on the Avengers Blu-ray, as a SHIELD agent. Welliver is also one of the most consistent, interesting and fun TV character actors working today. Chances are you've seen him in The Good Wife or Lost . He's the sort of actor you build a show around, and I think he's going to be central to Whedon's show. Plus, Welliver can snark like very few people on Earth and let's face it, that's a pretty necessary skill where the Whedons are concerned.
As for what I'd like to see? Oh that's easy. I'd like to see a show focussing on a SHIELD bureau office in New York. As well as the characters from Item 47 we're introduced to the other field office staff including chief Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough is another serial TV actor and his work on Boomtown alone would mean he'd be great in this role), Wakandan technical specialist N'Gomi (Played by David Oyelowo), Ant-Man tech expert Eric O'Grady (played by Wil Wheaton because let's face it, it's past time he and Whedon worked together) and Valerie Jessup Toomes, the daughter of supervillain The Vulture and the office’s chief profiler (played by Paget Brewster formerly of Criminal Minds ). Along with a conveniently disposable staff of technicians and other agents, they CSI: SHIELD their way through a city which is in shock, but recovering.
The SHIELD New York agents are run ragged chasing down abandoned Chitauri tech (See Item 47 ), mopping up pockets of resistance and trying to find out the truth behind rumours of a single buyer grabbing up all the abandoned Chitauri tech. For most of the season there are strong hints this is either Hydra, or AIM (who, rumour has it, will be introduced in Iron Man 3 ) and we see the agents face down everything from rogue SHIELD War Machine tech to a group of pacifistic Chitauri who ask for asylum. The whole time, they're frantically trying to track down this buyer and in the final episode of the season, they do. The entire team storms the New York docks, intent on bringing the buyer to justice once and for all and finds...
Special Agent Abigail Brand of SWORD. Played by Felicia Day. The last words of the season finale are spoken by her: “We are in so much trouble.”
Night turns to day over New York as something awful rips a hole in the sky. We fade to black and agonised geeks the world over scream as they realize how long they have to wait.
Also, they use flying cars. Lots.
I know, I know, Brand cameo is a lot to ask but she is a Whedon creation and I am a SWORD fan so it's possible. Fingers crossed.
So there you go, the SHIELD show, rich with possibilities and chances are, horrible violent death of the characters we love. Which let's face it is just how we like it.
OR DO WE?
Join us next week as Blogbusters pulls the little know, seldom-used Cher manoeuvre and sets out to turn back time when we answer this question:
If you could reverse one death in all of genre fiction, what would it be?
Prepare the resurrection potions, and we'll see you here again soon.