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2 Things to Look For in the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Debut Tonight

Source: Marvel Entertainment.

Finally, the day has come. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuts tonight on ABC.

I'm a huge fan of the Marvel comics and movies, so you can expect me to be glued to the set when the show airs at 7 p.m. here in the Rocky Mountains. Millions of others will no doubt join me.

However, I'll be tuning in more as an investor in Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) than as a fan. Why? I've already seen the pilot episode. Creator Joss Whedon graciously gave those of us who attended the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel discussion at San Diego Comic-Con an advance screening.

Thus, I have the benefit of teasing a couple of things to watch for in tonight's pilot without giving away any plot points. Specifically:

1. Tie-ins: Look for references to the movies. There are at least two big ones that I can remember: one from Iron Man 3 and the other from Marvel's The Avengers. Whedon appears to be playing with ways to expand the Marvel universe while also appealing to the sort of TV viewer who watches the USA Network's Covert Affairs or who in years past might have watched another ABC hit, Alias, which helped establish J.J. Abrams' bona fides more than a decade ago.

2. Unanswered questions: Subplots and parallel storylines not only make for great TV, they also allow for franchise building. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. features a huge subplot that could take multiple seasons to unwind. That's a great setup, and suggests Whedon has Marvel and Disney thinking of the show as much more than a platform for introducing new characters.

Will you be watching tonight? How well you do you expect the show to fare in the ratings war with CBS' (NYSE: CBS  ) hit drama NCIS? Mark Harmon's team of Navy investigators generally draw 19 million to 21 million viewers per episode. Leave your predictions or thoughts in the comments box below.

Sources: ABC, Marvel.

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Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (5)

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  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 4:59 PM, aehmaNY10 wrote:

    The studios are KILLING me this season!!! Would love to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but have, have HAVE to watch NCIS. Been addicted to that show so no matter how much I love Marvel and want to see this, it stinks its going up against NCIS. (and BTW, they're doing the same thing on Monday nights...after all this investment of time do they seriously think I can stop watching Castle now no matter how good these new shows look???!!!) Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 5:10 PM, arthurmarcellino wrote:

    I wonder if there is a real sheild agency thats protects the people from evil forces.I cant wait till the debut

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 5:13 PM, arthurmarcellino wrote:

    Im sick of reality and dont do drugs and feel this will be a healthy compromise.NCIS is to real and BTW is in a class of its own.Marvel take me away

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 6:00 PM, roc97007 wrote:

    A story arc over multiple seasons, probably not. Whedon typically has a major arc per season, and several minor arcs throughout the season. The show *premise* can morph and grow over the seasons, but that's different from having a multiseason story arc.

    Sometimes there's a "fake" season arc, teased in the previous season, that's resolved quickly at the start of the new season before the real story arc starts, serving to keep things from being too formulaic.

    Whedon typically knows where he's going before he starts. His series tend to be internally self-consistent. You don't get the feeling that the writers are pulling plot points out of their arse to be abandoned later, like, say, Lost. Or Heroes. Or BSG.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 6:07 PM, hef37087 wrote:

    I have been waiting for this show since they announced it. Just realized a few min ago that it goes up against NCIS. How can ABC be so stupid? Guess CBS wins this one for me.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 6:16 PM, slothropT wrote:

    First the good: it's Joss Whedon, who does teams very very well. No Nathan FIllion in this one but that's okay, I think Joss will survive without him, at least for now.

    Now the bad: for Pete's sake Tim, this isn't the Second Coming, it's a comic book TV show! It's about a team of youngsters, mostly unknown, with specialties! Ever heard that one before? If this didn't have the Sacred Marvel Imprimatur on it, would you even notice??? You act like Marvel suddenly has gone 24-carat gold, and it's the New Millenium! So what, is McD's haut cuisine to you? Do you salivate at the thought of shopping at Wal-Mart? Is Micheal Bay your favorite director (outside of Joss of course). Do you revel in mediocrity? Sure sounds like it.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 8:56 PM, Ponusjoe wrote:

    Joss Whedon is an acquired taste (“Doll House”, anyone?). “Buffy” and “Angel” were cable hits, not network television. At it's peak, “Buffy” had 5,6000,000 viewers. “Angel” performed about the same. In contrast, “S.H.I E.L.D.” will be going up against “NCSI” which pulls in about 20,000,000 viewers. I can't that many jumping ship. If “S.H.I E.L.D.” pulls in 10,000,000 that would be impressive, depending on the demographics. Good numbers for cable but not so great for network television.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 9:14 PM, HodgesArt wrote:

    having already seen it, I will be watching again (They omitted the Post Credit scene at SDCC and D23). NCIS is old and played out. As for Whedon's Network woes... that was with FOX. I expect this to be serious competition with NCIS, whose key demo isn't the Comic Book crowd.

    The series, right from the get go, attaches itself to the Film Universe.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 9:49 PM, joeuser23 wrote:

    Apparently a skin color darker than porcelain won't be one of those things...

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 10:30 PM, Cliffhanger77 wrote:

    Ha ha - I've never been the least bit interested in NCIS, which is typical lowest-common-denominator procedural television (i.e. why it's the top-rated drama on TV -- no serious thinking involved! Although all respect to viewers who love the characters - THAT's what serial dramas need to learn. If viewers buy into the characters and come to think of them as a little family of familiar faces they can comfortably tune into every week, you've got yourself a long-running drama.) That said, I will definitely be watching "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." I surrendered to Joss Whedon's "Avengers" less than an hour into the movie, after making cracks about the only character I really cared about being Tony Stark. Little did I know that Joss would make me care about EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM, including Agent Coulson and even Loki, in a little more than two hours of complete movie magic. Yes, Tony still got most of the best scenes and the funniest lines, but Whedon pulled off a minor miracle in that movie, and I have long since given up my heart to anything Avengers-connected. "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," here i come.

  • Report this Comment On September 25, 2013, at 10:37 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    So, what did you think? Did you enjoy the show? Do you plan to watch more?

    Weigh in!

    Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

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