I am more interested in the dark, edgy, and implausible world that seems to invade the world of basic and pay cable, as opposed to the industrial cookie-cutter procedural that seems to dominate most network show. But on occasionally, a network drama will burst through these borders with a spark of, dare I say it, fun.
It helps if the series is helmed by ubergeek Joss Whedon, who for nearly fifteen years redefined what a cult-series could do, in his legendary Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. He tried to do the same thing with Firefly and Dollhouse but couldn't create mainstream success, much to the horror of those shows fans. Then this comic book geek was handed The Avengers. Suddenly, the networks couldn't wait to do business with him. The winner (other than the viewing public) was ABC, which landed the series MARVEL's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Set in the world after the events of The Avengers, the most famous normal person in the Marvel Universe, Agent Phil Coulson, (Clark Gregg) was handed control of an elite team to investigate the brave new world of superhuman events that followed the alien invasion of New York. This is particularly remarkable, considering that during that invasion, Coulson was killed, and now can't remember what happened in the interim. The team he has chosen is completely human, but anyone who knows the world of Joss Whedon knows that doesn't make them ordinary.
There's Matilda May (Ming-Na), an agent who has spent the last few years as a bureaucrat, now called back as a pilot. She was known in her field days as 'the cavalry'; we very quickly found out why. There's field Agent Grant Ward, lone wolf, who is now being forced to work with others, a role he doesn't relish. There's Fitz/ Simmons, two lab geeks who specialize in the technobabble, and get to play with almost every marvel-ous toy in the science division. And there's cyber hacker Skye (Chloe Bennett) part of an anarchist group known as the Rising Tide, just recruited, we learned that she's very likely a double agent. They fly around a world investigating the brave new world of superheroes and alien technology, and in a airplane so massive and high tech, it makes Air Force One look like the Spruce Goose.
Now, everybody who's been a fan of the Marvel movies and comic books will be astounded at the amount of easter eggs that the actors throw around, and given the fact that Samuel L. Jackson made a cameo at the end of the last episode as Nick Fury, one can bet there's a better than even chance that more members of that universe will be popping up everywhere. But even if you're only the most casual observer of these films, you should watch this series anyway. What pervades this series is the immense amount of wonder at this brave new world, and how the writers who have worked in the Whedon-verse for the last few year give this series so much rapid-fire dialogue, brilliant action, and overall enjoyment that so many series go to an immense amount of trouble to bury. The TV world needs Whedon based shows far more than those helmed by Jerry Bruckheimer, who with each new series seems to strain the joy and color out of them. People like me know what Joss is capable of; now it's time for the rest of the world to get used to it. Good news is, looks like they're hungry for it.