Look guys, I’m gonna be real with you. I am struggling with what to write about. I know John was supposed to write about True Blood – but he is on a date because he and Jonah are actually IN THE SAME TOWN during the school year, for the first time, and deserve to take advantage of that fact. I was originally going to write about The Newsroom, but realized that my feelings are WAY too conflicted to make any kind of sense. And then I was going to write about the importance of writing characters with interesting, compelling, believable motivations, but it just turned into an epically long rant against The Walking Dead. [But seriously, no one on that show does anything for interesting, compelling OR believable reasons. Actually, no one on that show does ANYTHING.] So what do we do now?
WE TALK ABOUT THE NEW S.H.I.E.L.D. SHOW DUH!!
That’s right suckahs, ABC just announced that their new show set in the Avengers-verse helmed by Joss Whedon himself would be about S.H.I.E.L.D.! And I am beyond excited about the possibilities.
I mean, there are a couple other Marvel properties I would have loved: Runaways – the story of a bunch of teenagers who discover that their parents are supervillains – and perhaps even more: Young Avengers – a group of super-powered fan-boys and fan-girls who decide to become unlicensed and unofficial super heroes – and kind of suck at it at first. Both of these properties would have been super witty, self-aware, tons of fun, and skewed young. That being said, they could have also come across as too super-hero-y for mainstream TV. And so S.H.I.E.L.D. is pretty much perfect.
For those of you who don’t know, S.H.I.E.L.D. is the international organization in the Marvel Universe dedicated to dealing with super human threats. They are led by Nick Fury – a consummate Badass, and Maria Hill – played by Cobie Smulders and sa-mokin’ hott. This show could go a LOT of different ways, so here is what I want to see happen.
1. Give the villains powers, but not the heroes
For whatever reason, shows with super-powered protagonists seem to struggle on mainstream cable. Personally I blame Heroes. The first season was incredibly well-planned and plotted, and was just really compelling television. But later seasons got sloppy and silly and just plain dumb. Ever since then, similar shows have been poorly-received and short-lived. Remember that show about a super hero family? Yeah me either. Or The Cape? Or even Awake – which didn’t feature a “super-power” per se, but switching between universes is pretty dang close. Audiences seem to have a hard time buying into the central conceit of such shows – that super powers exist – and as such don’t watch. That being said, there might be hope. With Grimm and Once Upon a Time both on the air, there seems to be a certain returning tolerance for shows with stranger premises. AND, since this show would exist in the same universe as the THIRD best-selling movie of ALL TIME, audiences have pretty much already bought in.
That being said, I think it would be vastly more entertaining to watch normal people try to fight the crazies. At least at first. I mean sure, we could start with the Secret Warriors – which could actually be pretty cool now that I think about it… – but at some point that will probably just degrade into an all-CGI battle scene week after week. There wouldn’t be innovation or strategy so much as just punching and blasting. I would rather see normal people having to rely on their wits, their teammates, and some crazy technology to try to stop… I don’t know Kang the Conquerer from assassinating George Washington or something. I think this approach would be a good way to balance a grounded, believable cast with an interesting and powerful threat.
2. Make it like ALIAS, but make more sense
It has been well documented how much I love ALIAS. All three seasons. Yes. I am SO GLAD they only did three seasons. Because if they had gone onto say, five seasons, they probably would have brought in a terrible long-lost sister. Or they would have “killed off” Vaughn. Or Sydney’s mom would have randomly peaced out because her actress got bored. Or Jennifer Garner would have gotten pregnant. Gosh. Aren’t we glad they quit when they were ahead?
Anyway, just as the CIA had an evil counterpart in SD-6, so does S.H.I.E.L.D. have an evil counterpart in HYDRA – the Nazi organization from Captain America. This would be familiar for the audience, and could provide for a seasons-long villain in the vein of Arvin Sloane or the Smoking Man. And much like in ALIAS, there could be a double agent working for both organizations. Naturally, the perfect character for this would be Spider-Woman – who actually has been a double agent for both these groups in the comics – although I’m not sure whether Disney has the rights to her or not. But honestly, anyone could play such a role, which I think could be really interesting.
3. Bring on Sharon Carter, Mockingbird, and all kinds of random
Sharon Carter is a major love interest of Captain America. As IGN pointed out, this would be a great way to make her a strong, independent character BEFORE introducing her to the Captain. Then she might not feel so shoehorned into other movies, and would be a great addition with backstory and characterization – thus saving time in the movies. Mockingbird is the eventual wife (and then ex-wife) of Hawkeye, so we could do the same with her. Both these ladies are BADASS despite having no powers, and have fought alongside the biggest heavyweights in the Marvel Universe. These are both great characters in their own right, and given Whedon’s skill and preference for writing strong female characters, they seem like the perfect fit.
As far as “the random” is concerned, bring it on. The team can deal with Brother Voodoo and Dormammu, A.I.M., HYDRA, Dark Elves, The Runaways, the Young Avengers, Heroes for Hire, and whatever they want! Marvel has a HUGE cast of both heroes and villains, so we might as well explore them. I don’t want the show to feel too “fan-service-y” by bringing in fan favorites just for the lulz (like Smallville), but then again that show lasted TEN YEARS PEOPLE.
Ultimately, this show could go a LOT of ways, and I’m sure as more details are revealed, I will have more thoughts on the matter. But the fact is that I have loved everything Joss Whedon since I was ten years old, and the Marvel Universe for even longer than that. I absolutely adored the Avengers movie, and I am looking forward to this show more than ANY new show for this coming season. I hope it’s fun and weird and sassy and everything else I look for in my shows. Please God, just don’t let it suck.