What do Dollhouse and Firefly have in common? They were both created by Joss Whedon, and they were both cancelled before their time.
Hot off the success of The Avengers, Whedon’s next venture into television will be with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, about the exploits of, you guessed it, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel does not have a good track record when it comes to live action TV shows. Their most recent show, Blade was cancelled after just one season. Guillermo del Toro’s The Incredible Hulk seems to be stuck in development hell, while their last attempt to make a series based on S.H.I.E.L.D. ended up being nothing more than an abandoned pilot called Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. starring David Hasselhoff.
So things may not be looking good for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., although it has a very strong chance of being the first truly successful live-action Marvel TV show. Hopefully it will achieve the same level of success as Whedon’s most well know shows, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. So here’s five things that Whedon and ABC must do the make sure the show doesn’t fall prey to Whedon’s cancellation curse:
5. Play Up The Fact That It Is Set In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is set in the same universe as the third highest grossing film of all time. Need I say more? In order for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to survive, Whedon needs to play up on this. That includes references to the events of the films, and appearances from the cast of the films, which may introduce some huge star power to the series if the big stars agree to it. With Iron Man 3 breaking the records set by The Avengers at the box office, and Robert Downey Jr. now being a hugely bankable star, the show is extremely unlikely to be abruptly cancelled if he agrees to make cameo appearances. And why shouldn’t he? After all, he now seems to be afraid to appear in anything where he plays a character other than Tony Stark.
On the topic of referencing events in the films, how awesome would it be if a subplot or plot twist was introduced in one of the movies and then continued in the TV series? Or if the series explains what happens in-between the movies, like the short films “A Funny Thing Happened on The Way To Thor’s Hammer” or “The Consultant”. Audiences will watch the films, be left hungry for more, and therefore, watch the show. How many other shows take place in the same universe as one of the most profitable film franchises in history? Apart from The Clone Wars (which is now cancelled…), none.
And of course, with it being set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Phil Coulson will appear.