There can be no doubt that Marvel have a plan. Following the steamroller of their cinematic universe, with four characters launched in their own films and their sequels – Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America – before linking together to form The Avengers and further adventures already lined up, the next step in domination was the formation of Marvel Television. With several shows in development, the first to be greenlit for full production is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With the first footage now released, the writers of Geek Chocolate have viewed the offering and expressed their opinions and expectations.
Les Anderson – The cast photo suggests it’s going to be CSI: S.H.I.E.L.D. but the trailer promises far more. Fantastic production values in the trailer but we’ll see how long those last once the series gets into its run. Good to see Agent Coulson back and although the younger cast look impossibly gorgeous like every other US cast these days there is some genuine talent in there including wur ain Iain de Caestecker – good to see him hitting the big time. I’m also impressed by how closely it looks like the Avengers film.
Michael Flett – I want to be excited about this, but I’m really not feeling it – I’ve never been a superhero fan, never really read comics, seen most of the recent films once and no more, and have even been picky about the ones I saw at all. It’s just not my thing.
What would sell it for me is a new Joss Whedon show, but I don’t know how much ongoing involvement he’s going to have, and while I enjoyed the film of The Avengers, I’m not sure how it will work on an ongoing basis – it will have to be smaller, because they can’t have that kind of crisis twenty times a season.
I understand the reasons for bringing back Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson as he’s a known quantity and he was popular, but one of the reasons I don’t read comics is that I find the constant backtracking and rewriting of continuity to be tiresome. It’s good to see that it will have a sense of humour, and an awareness of how ridiculous the premise is, even down to how shoehorned in the actual title of the organisation is. Oh, and look, they have their own jet with their logo painted on top.
I’m also aware that this is selling spectacle but not actually telling me any part of a story. I’m sure Joss has one, and I’m sure his ensemble will be great together, and he’s got Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen on board for the pilot, so presumably they if not Joss himself will be in the writers room, but it will have to aim high to hit the level of expectation and not become just another show.
I’m also wondering about guest appearances. During the run of Star Trek The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, it was stated that the refit Enterprise would never appear on screen – all we ever saw was a portion of the secondary hull and the arboretum in the Wolf 359 wreckage in The Best of Both Worlds – as it was the province of the movies and the producers felt showing it on television would cheapen it, and I think the same might apply here – will seeing Iron Man and Thor on television make them less impressive on the silver screen? Televisions are much bigger now than in the nineties, maybe they feel they can put cameos in without losing impact.
Matthew Rutland – The trailer seems to show the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pick up in the direct aftermath of the New York incident of Avengers Assemble, and looks to follow a Heroes style storyline of mankind discovering there are people with superpowers and the agents locating them to see whose side they are on, good or bad.
There will be a lot of initial hype, and a lot of people will be watching this looking for cameos from the movies and how it may intertwine with the events of The Avengers, and the standalone Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thormovies. It will be interesting to see if they can keep the momentum from the success of the first Avengers film and if they delve into the expanded universe whilst keeping the show interesting enough in its own rights to maintain ratings.
It is good to see J August Richards back on screen, but I have reservations about Elizabeth Henstridge from Hollyoaks fame, but the real question will be longevity. After the initial hype wears off, like any intial attraction, will there be enough of a foundation there to build upon? I hope so, as too many shows have been cancelled prematurely following a mid-season slump, but with Whedon’s wit and writing, we can but hope.
Adam Dworak – I never liked Avengers Assemble, and you know what? I don’t like this either. It’s a cheap spinoff of a horrible movie. It feels generic, anotherX-Men or Heroes, a secret organisation on the edge of legality recruiting mutants to protect or fight for humanity, and it’s been done before.
Joss Whedon knows how to put a film together, but he has a very specific style, particularly in the dialogue, and I find it very tiresome. I couldn’t stand Firefly or Dollhouse. It’s not even dialogue, it’s just a string of people firing off lines trying to be funny. The only thing which saved The Cabin in the Woods was the unusual story behind it, but this looks to be too derivative.
The only superhero films I ever liked were Tim Burton’s two Batmans, because they were set in a fantastical world. If you try to transpose them to the real world, wearing capes just becomes ridiculous. At least Kick-Ass recognised that and played it for laughs. Comic books can’t work in the real world, and Burton was the only person who successfully translated that surreal feel balanced with the live action performance without it descending into the kitsch of the Schumacher films.
Glenn Jones – I am so hyped for this show. First Marvel gave us individual s
olo hero movies before uniting them into a single team, now it’s giving us a television show that runs parallel to the movie franchise, with great potential to build upon the televised Marvel universe. Hopefully it’ll give us some of those heroes and villains that wouldnt normally make it into a movie, from the trailer it looks like we’ve got the characters Luke Cage and Jessica Jones lined up to appear and I’m excited to see what they’ll do with them!
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will debut later in year on ABC in America; no UK broadcast has been confirmed