In a few short months SHIELD will hit the small screen, and Joss Whedon will examine the lives of SHIELD organization members who support the superheroes of The Avengers. If the prospect of this show doesn’t somehow excite you, then here are a few reasons you may want to change your mind.
Joss Whedon made a name for himself during his early career by creating remarkable television with a relatively small budget. Recently (as The Avengers proved), when given a blank check, Whedon can create a masterpiece which quickly became the new standard for the superhero genre. The good folks at ABC recognize his ability and are highly unlikely to try and alter Whedon’s vision on the small screen. Despite the success of The Avengers and my hope that Whedon will continue to direct on the silver screen, his true calling is TV. SHIELD gives his audience the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of a world where men who can punch through buildings are commonplace. I for one can think of no better man to take us on that journey than Joss Whedon.
More money? more…Avengers? The budget required to produce a show tied to The Avengers will be staggering in comparison to most television shows. Special effects, while important in the action/adventure genre, become essential to the success of a show of this caliber. Also, as the franchise is already tightly linked to a highly expensive movie series, we can expect cameos from some of our favorite heroes, which rarely come cheap. ABC’s initial investment in this endeavor will be heavy; however the returns will more than make the expense worthwhile.
One of Whedon’s most praised traits is the ability to craft a believable universe in his narrative. Considering that his two most noted shows dealt with magical high school girls fighting off hordes of vampires and roving bands of space cowboys/pirates respectively, his ability to make the extraordinary feel commonplace sets him apart from the crowd. SHIELD gives Whedon the opportunity to explore an already made comic-book world and turn it into a universe fit for television. Given Whedon’s skillset and his passion for this franchise, I expect the universe of SHIELD to feel as natural as our own.
That is not to say that Whedon’s TV presence is flawless. His biggest weakness: ratings. Low ratings have forced Whedon’s shows off of the air and onto the forum posts and Facebook statuses of fans unwilling to accept their untimely demise. Shows helmed by Whedon suffer from poor initial ratings yet gain a strong following after their cancellation. Firefly, for instance was canned before completion of the first season. It soon gained a cult status which resulted in Whedon getting the green light on a feature film to tie together the shows plotlines. While it was not the six seasons and a movie that most would hope for, it did provide some catharsis for the show’s enthusiastic fan base. However, low ratings won’t be a problem for SHIELD. After the critical and commercial success of The Avengers, SHIELD will have a rabid fan base waiting eagerly for its premiere and, given Whedon’s ability to hold fans once he brings them in, they won’t be going anywhere soon.
One of the most important facets of an action adventure show is its villains. Fortunately for those excited about SHIELD, villains are one of Whedon’s specialties. From Nathan Fillion’s menacing southern minister in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the enigmatic Hands of Blue and psychopathic Adelai Niska of Firefly, Whedon does not forget to create terrifying and compelling bad guys. Now that he will have the entire menagerie of Marvel villains to influence, I almost find myself more excited for the evil characters than the protagonists.
Whedon is one of the few directors who can produce a show like SHIELD. His love for somewhat nerdish fandoms and his excellence in writing amusing yet deeply moving plotlines make him the ideal writer/director for this franchise. With his vision and the excitement already created by the various superhero movies this show will connect, I foresee a long life full of superb content for SHEILD.