I've kept track of the Fall television lineups for many years now. I'm always interested in what stories I will continue to see and new shows that catch my interest. I've paid special attention the last few years because it always seems like my favorite shows are on the bubble (I'm looking at you, NBC [specifically when it comes to Hannibal next year]).
This year, there was something that has indeed caught my interest. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (from Marvel). Forgive me if I refer to it as SHIELD from now on - too many periods and the whole title is not that impressive.
Anyway, this show has not only caught my interest, it's already among my favorite shows on television. Meaning when it starts, there's a good chance it will jump to the top of my list. This predisposition to love SHIELD is by no means unfounded, and are a few reasons why.
I geek out over a lot of things (Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Batman, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, a plethora of TV shows, etc.), but none more than Joss Whedon's creations. Buffy, Angel, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, Cabin in the Woods, Avengers, Firefly, Serenity, Dollhouse, Toy Story, Astonishing X-Men, Fray... plus more that I haven't had a chance to get in to yet (such as Runaways, the Angel comics, and the Firefly comics).
In my mind, this man can do no wrong. If he ever did, I'd be too blinded by my fangirling that I wouldn't notice. Really, if he made a crappy movie or wrote a crappy comic, I'd still love it (although that would never happen). I feel like I can have civilized conversations with people who disagree with me on just about any subject, but not Joss Whedon things. Dollhouse is not well-loved in the feminist community and even Buffy has been subject to scrutiny of late, even though it was created specifically to be a feminist show. If I weren't a blind fan, I would probably see their arguments as at least somewhat valid. As it is, whenever I read or hear some criticism, I get into a huff and say something along the lines of, "No, you're a misguided and overrated writer who hides misogyny in shallow feminism!"
An Ensemble Cast
Ensemble casts are my favorite casts. Buffy, Community, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, Spaced, Downton Abbey, Firefly... I could go on. Game of Thrones, Party Down, okay, I'll stop now. I enjoy the occasional show in which there are only a couple main characters, but I often lose interest in those shows or get frustrated with the lack of recurring characters. Ensembles keep it interesting. There's more than a single story to follow and because there are more people involved, you know there's a bigger chance at least one will get killed off and replaced at some point. With a show like Supernatural, for instance, you know the two main characters are safe. Even if they die or get sent to Hell, you know they'll be back because watching one guy drive across the country killing demons on his own is just boring. Honestly, I'd put money on at least one of the pictured characters above dying in the first season. Unless Disney has a heavy influence in the show. Ugh, I really hope that doesn't happen.
And as a side note, I like it when characters aren't safe. Joss Whedon hates that he has the reputation as "that guy who kills characters" and I don't blame him. He doesn't just kill characters - he writes interesting stories that keep you on your toes. Part of that is people dying. Get over it and realize how much more you love shows like Angel and Game of Thrones because people die.
Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen
Meet Joss Whedon's brother Jed, and his sister-in-law, Maurissa. Or as I suspect they'll become known to me: The Perfect Writing Duo. With Joss in charge of all things Marvel for the next couple of years, I suspect he'll have less of a hands-on approach and leave the majority of the writing and showrunning to Jed and Maurissa. However, with projects such as Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, Dollhouse, and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena under their belts, I'd say the show is in good hands.
To be clear, I've never seen Spartacus. I just thought I should include something that Joss wasn't involved in. But it's got an 8.7 on IMDB.
Feminism aka Awesome Women
The picture above is a shirt I have. It's called "Women of the Whedonverse." You should buy it here because it's awesome.
The guy is amazing. He doesn't just create strong women, he creates real women. Women who fight, who are brave, afraid, sometimes crazy, loving, caring, kind, spiteful, mean, and everything else people are. Cause, you know, women are people.
Buffy is the blonde in the alley and/or woods in every horror movie, only she kills the monster. She saves the day and rarely needed saving. My very favorite quote is in the second season. I may have shared this scene before, but I don't care. It's awesome and who really reads every post? Buffy is fighting her vampire ex-boyfriend. He usually has a soul, but had lost it several weeks before, hence he's evil at this point. I should also say they're sword fighting. It's awesome. Anyway, Angel (aforementioned evil vampire ex) had swashbuckled Buffy's sword out of her hand and knocked her onto the floor. She's sitting on the ground with her eyes closed, close to being beaten. Angel leans in for the kill and says, "No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away and what's left?" He then thrusts the sword towards her face. She catches the blade between her hands, opens her eyes, and says, "Me." She then proceeds to kick his ass.
Point being, Buffy is the bees knees and Joss created her. In my humble opinion, no woman is as awesome as Buffy (although had Firefly continued, River would have given her a run for her money), but each woman Joss created was awesome. Not all of them were fighters, but all of them were fantastic people. Real people. What I love about Joss Whedon's characters is they've got the good and the bad, the strong and the weak. And all the awesome.
Agent Phil Coulson
Joss is in the business of killing people more often than he resurrects them, but he has been known to resurrect people. Well, only four people (one of them twice), and they were all in the Buffyverse. To date he's killed off eleven main characters. And that doesn't include Cabin in the Woods. It's a horror movie and people are supposed to die in horror movies. Thus, it doesn't count.
Anyway, because of SHIELD, he is able to resurrect Agent Coulson. Although he probably never died in the first place. But Coulson is freaking awesome, and we get a lot more of him.
Guns and fist fights and superheros and supervillains and airplanes and martial arts and spaceships and funny jokes and impossible technology and smart people and axes and aliens and crying and zombies and betrayal and demons and death and vampires and the occasional musical number and explosions and broken hearts and running jokes and swords and resurrection and witty quips and supernatural and all things awesome. That's the beauty of the multi-genre. Now please enjoy some Action/Sci-fi/Comedy/Horror/Drama from other Whedon creations. Most of these are from Buffy. Cause I love Buffy as much as I love food. And just a little bit more than I love sleeping.
Okay, I found more not from Buffy.
So, folks, there you have it. My expectations for SHIELD are high and if they aren't met, I'm blaming Disney. Although I'll still go to the theme parks and give them a good half of my yearly movie budget.