ABC greenlights pilot for Avengers spin-off show

Nick Fury - The Avengers

Can’t get enough of The Avengers? Don’t like the idea of sullying your anachronistic jock cred by reading comic books? Fortunately for you, ABC has just signed a deal with Marvel Studios to create a TV series based on the exploits of Nick Fury and the international peacekeeping force he operates. Appropriately, the show has been dubbed “S.H.I.E.L.D.” (henceforth “SHIELD” because that punctuation is annoying).

Don’t get too excited just yet, we haven’t even mentioned the best part: Joss Whedon, writer/director of The Avengers and general purpose geek demigod, has agreed to write and possibly direct the pilot.

Deadline reports:

ABC has ordered a pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D, a live-action series from The Avengers writer-directorJoss Whedon, Marvel TV and ABC Studios. The project is based on Marvel’s peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D (which stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) found in both the Marvel comic book and feature film universes, including the blockbuster 2012 movie The Avengers, in which S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury, recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to stop Thor’s adoptive brother Loki from subjugating Earth.

S.H.I.E.L.D. will be written by Whedon and frequent collaborators, his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Joss Whedon also is set to direct the pilot, schedule permitting. Production on the pilot, which marks the first live-action Marvel TV project to get a green light, will start immediately. Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Tancharoen executive produce with Jeffrey Bell and Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb.

Deadline’s report then goes on to mention that Disney recently signed an exclusive television and film deal with Whedon, a seemingly smart move in the wake of the billion-and-a-half dollars that Whedon’s Avengers movie pulled in at the box office.

While this is great news for fans of Marvel’s characters, it should be stressed that this show is unlikely to match the bombast and slick style of Whedon’s Avengers film. We doubt ABC wants to drop tens of millions of dollars on each episode just to match the movie’s CGI, and this focus on Nick Fury indicates that the show will be more “down to earth” than its theatrical source material. That said, we find it hard to believe that the show won’t have occasional cameos from Thor and Captain America, if for no other reason than it would be a huge ratings boon. Plus, with ABC and Marvel both owned by Disney it should be simple to have such appearances approved by whoever approves such things.

Though we’re collectively excited by this project, we have one major concern: the cast. We have to assume that ABC doesn’t have the money to hire Samuel L. Jackson to portray the lead spy in their show, and given Jackson’s willingness to appear in all kinds of terrible projects he seems like the most likely “get” for this show. If we had to guess we’d expect ABC to announce a cast of lookalike actors, possibly mostly unknowns, who will attempt to ape the characterization seen in the past decade of Marvel Studios movies. Normally we’d see that as a death knell for this project even before it gets off the ground, but Whedon has done this kind of thing before. His Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show featured none of the actors from the film on which it was based and it went on to be a cult success (for the purposes of this argument we’re going to ignore the half-dozen rapidly-canceled TV shows in Whedon’s wake).

Sadly, that’s only the first major hurdle this show has to jump. Will SHIELD interact with the Marvel comic book series of the same name? Will it serve to set up future Marvel Studios films? Will Agent Coulson ever return to the helicarrier? With no estimated release date yet available for SHIELD, we may be waiting a while for answers.

Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Stan Lee has died: Marvel Comics icon and legendary creator dead at 95

Stan Lee, one of the world's most important and iconic comic-book authors, has died at the age of 95. Creator of some of the most famous and beloved superheroes and villains of all time, Lee leaves behind an indelible legacy.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Music

The best movie soundtracks of all time, from 'Star Wars' to 'E.T.'

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled popular music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' will seem muddled to mere muggles

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brings magizoologist Newt Scamander back for more adventures, but the sequel to 2016's Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes a very deep dive into Potter-verse lore.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Movies & TV

Is the end near for Pied Piper? ‘Silicon Valley’ season 6 delayed, might be the last

Season 6 of Silicon Valley might not premiere until 2020, as HBO has delayed production on the season until summer 2019 due to showrunner Alec Berg's work on another HBO series, Barry. Season 6 could be the final one for the show.
Movies & TV

How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

The NFL's 2018 season is here, and we know you don't want to miss a moment of the action. Our comprehensive streaming guide will show you all the best options to watch the games online so you can make the right choice.
Movies & TV

More cast members join Jordan Peele’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ reboot

Get Out writer and director Jordan Peele is developing and hosting a reboot of the classic sci-fi anthology series The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access, and the cast for the first season is filling out with some familiar faces.
Movies & TV

‘Moonlight’ film studio A24 to produce movies for Apple

Indie movie studio A24 has entered into an agreement to produce films for Apple. The studio is best known for bringing Oscar-winning drama Moonlight to audiences, as well as Room and Ex Machina.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (December 2018)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in November and December 2018, from new original series to classic films.