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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Trailer – Daytime Trash or Fun Weekly Bash?

The trailer for Marvel’s first foray into the realm of the TV series for many years just aired: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” isn’t just Marvel’s long-expected return to television, it’s also a return to the format by veteran Joss Whedon.

First things first: Whedon-wit is all over the place. Over his twenty-plus year career, all the guy has done is refine his sharp tongue in ink.

‘What does S.H.I.E.L.D. stand for? ‘… Someone really wanted our initials to spell out ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’”

In an interrogation: ‘There are two ways we can do this.’ ‘Oh, is one of them the easy way?’ ‘No.’

Let’s hope that this level of banter is maintained scene-to-scene. Hopefully the show doesn’t end up derivative or tacky like the lame jokes of so many daytime-TV shows, but that might be the biggest pitfall for this show: while the story looks fairly compelling (it’s basically X-Files in the Marvel Universe), some of the production has the over-lit and under-detailed quality which we see in TV shows that make the relatively quick drop to daytime slots. The acting looks decent, but not show-stealing.

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I’m also not convinced Agent Coulson is a character who can carry a whole show. In Marvel’s The Avengers, which was totally awesome in my opinion, he played a perfect middle-man character (not unlike The MiddleMan himself, which is another show that definitely died too soon.) He slid in-between the volatile and intense main characters. He gelled situations with his air of official duty. Which is probably why everyone lamented the death of the practical, genuine secondary character.

How exactly did he survive Loki’s wrath in The Avengers to live on here? I hope the show answers this amply.

Still, perhaps I’m being too hard on a less-than-three-minute trailer. Whedon is definitely a professional when it comes to television- Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a guilty pleasure of mine, as it is one of my favourite shows. Firefly’s up there, too.

However, the most promising thing about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is its tagline — taglines being something which I typically hate:

“Not all heroes are super.”

This suggests that the show may explore what it’s like to live in the world of superheroes, or as it’s usually put, to live under them. This is a topic explored in many a great comic. One great example is Gotham Central, the comic where the reader is treated to the daily lives of G.C.P.D. cops who work under the thumb of Batman.

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But the tagline doesn’t come until the end of the trailer, so what else is on show? We get some footage of Manhattan creeping up on us in the opening, and it looks like the city is from the era of Thunderbirds. We get a lot of stuff about conspiracies, theories surrounding the “Battle of New York,” and the events at the end of The Avengers. Again, it feels like a high-energy, comedy-thrillseeking X-Files.

Some of the special effects don’t look too great. There are explosions, shiny arm-attaching-things, people getting thrown around in a slightly unconvincing fashion, and your typical really bad super-sprint effect. But at the same time, there are strong moments: the high-tech stuff looks cool, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. ship looks totally sweet. And some models look great or convincingly green-screened, like when a woman with a really bad English accent says “It’s not of this Earth,” while holding up a gross, alien morsel.

This could be a big draw for many comics fans: a contemporary, high-budget comic series with some strong writing behind it. Such a thing barely exists outside of Doctor Who. I refuse to acknowledge SyFy shows in general, so the fact that the show is on ABC’s network is promising. Considering Whedon’s pedigree, and the fact that Marvel’s The Avengers somehow totally captured the spirit of an Avengers comic, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely a show I’m going to tune into this Fall.



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