Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk: None of these characters are present in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” television show on ABC, despite taking place in the same cinematic universe.
Created for television by Joss Whedon—director of “The Avengers,” “Firefly,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and much more—Maurissa Tanchareon and Jed Whedon, the pilot was both written and directed by Joss Whedon after he finished directing “The Avengers” movie back in the summer of 2012.
The show was given the green light and filmed between late 2012 and early 2013, taking place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe following Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) as he assembles a special team to keep the weirdness of the universe from ever reaching the public while the superheroes take on the bigger baddies.
There have only been two episodes so far, and right off the bat it feels like the old NBC show “Heroes” only with a bigger budget and better special effects.
“Heroes” didn’t have already established and beloved characters like “Agents” does, but just because “Agents” has household names doesn’t immediately make it a success.
The pull for the show is the return of Agent Coulson who was presumed dead in “The Avengers” when he was stabbed in the back by Loki’s Asgardian scepter.
According to the pilot, he survived Loki’s attack and pretended to stay dead to unite the Avengers, all the while recovering in magical Tahiti.
There’s a bigger secret of what really happened to Agent Coulson, however, due the constant mentioning of magical Tahiti and how S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) apparently knows something that even he doesn’t know about himself.
Because of this secret, there has been much speculation online of who/what Agent Coulson really is and how his role in the show will impact the future Marvel movies.
Some of the more popular theories suggest that either Agent Coulson is a Life Model Decoy—an android decoy used constantly by Nick Fury in the comics—or was brought back to life someplace magical, like Asgard, or by someone magical, like Doctor Strange.
Until the big secret is revealed, Agent Coulson is traveling across the world intercepting alien artifacts and dangerous technology with the help of his new handpicked team.
So far only two episodes have aired and in both episodes technology from the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been used.
In the pilot, stolen Extremis technology seen in “Iron Man 3” was used on human guniea pigs.
In the second episode, Tesseract fueled technology commissioned by the renegade Nazi scientific branch HYDRA seen in “Captain America: The First Avenger” appears in an ancient Peruvian temple.
While the show still has kinks such as clunky dialogue and a cheesy love story forming between the nerdy girl and the serious field agent, it’s still fun for both fans of the comics and the movies with action-packed fights and the same light-hearted humor from the films.
Maria Hill and Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) are the only two characters from the cinematic universe to make cameos so far, but chances are slim for some of the bigger characters such as Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to grace the smaller screen.
A-list actors cost a pretty penny and since the special effects are pretty topnotch so far, surely the producers know where that money can be better spent in the long run.
Whedon is best known for his prestigious, albeit usually short-lived television shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dollhouse” and “Firefly,” so he knows a winning formula when it comes to television.
Given the resources and creative freedom on a show like “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the final product could be something astonishing.