Agents of Humanity

Agents of Humanity

It seems that anything Joss Whedon touches these days turns to gold (or something even more valuable). This makes it no surprise that, with the success of The Avengers, Marvel has tapped him to be the overseer of their universe for the foreseeable future. It’s this involvement that will give us the next “fan-awaited” Whedon TV series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While shooting of the pilot episode of the series is wrapping, ABC has finally taken the time to put out its description for new shows, including the new S.H.I.E.L.D series. Though the subject matter is one that most viewers and fans won’t be too familiar with, I believe we will all recognize some themes that are often the backbone of the Whedon-verse.

Joss Whedon shows us not all heroes are super with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Fresh from his role in the summer’s box office smash, Marvel’s The Avengers, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) returns to the worldwide law enforcement organization S.H.I.E.L.D. He puts together a small, highly trained, team of Agents to tackle the cases that haven’t been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown. That team consists of straight arrow Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), an expert in combat and espionage; pilot and martial artist Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen); and brilliant if socially awkward scientists Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). They’ll be joined by civilian new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).

Prepare for an epic adventure that showcases the hope and wonder of the human spirit. This is a world of Super Heroes, aliens and the unusual – of action, spectacle and world spanning stories. The show will speak to the human condition through the lens of our very human, non-powered S.H.I.E.L.D agents – that together we are greater than we are apart, and that we can make a difference in the world.

Executive Produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen (“Dollhouse,” “Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”), Jeffrey Bell (“Angel,” “Alias”) and Jeph Loeb (“Smallville,” “Lost,” “Heroes”) comes Marvel’s first live-action TV series, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

-ABC Development Description

What is not to like in that description; “not all heroes are super,” “hope and wonder of the human spirit,” A look at the human condition from a non-superhero vantage point? This sounds like lots of the things that we love about previous Whedon shows. We learned how to deal with power and loss through very human characters in a supernatural world in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. In Firefly we explored how much greater communities of people are than they are apart. And in Dollhouse we watched as it was possible for individuals to make big differences in the world. We know what we can expect from Whedon’s amazing ability to confront humanity in very real, and often raw, ways.

Engaging these topics is why, time and time again, Whedon doesn’t just create a show with prescribed jokes or a forced emotional moment, but content that compels us as viewers to examine something that is very important to all of us — our humanity. Coming face-to-face with our humanity stirs in us questions about purpose, life, and community. It’s why we often sit back and ask ourselves why we absolutely love the “created family” of the Serenity crew in Firefly, or why, even though we love super hero movies, we end up rooting for the “average Joes” in Buffy. Regardless of where you are in life, you can always relate to sometimes feeling… human.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)

We love Joss Whedon’s creations (and likely will love his new series about S.H.I.E.L.D) because he directly and indirectly reminds us that humans were made for community. Though we were all created uniquely, we were not created in a vacuum. We need others. We need encouragement. In a world of obstacles and hardships, it is often the reminder that we are not alone, neither from above or here on Earth, that encourages us to strive and often overcome. We are not alone. That is what we need to know. That is the longing that is waiting to be fulfilled. That is why, in the end, though no one has actually seen this Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it is certain to succeed. It is being built to resonate with its audience — to really explore the humanness in all of us.

…it also doesn’t hurt that it is being launched on the tails of a movie that made one and a half billion dollars worldwide.

3 comments

I don’t know if I’m predisposed to like Whedon’s creations. Largely I don’t buy into his world that much.

I apparently really need to see Cabin in the Woods which I may do this week but as far as everything else? I never got into Buffy (and thus no Angel for me). I will be honest (unlike some people I know) and say that I saw Serenity before I even knew what Firefly was; however, I fell in love with Firefly and Serenity. I was miffed as to why such a wonderful thing would not be continued, it was SO WELL PRODUCED and written, and directed, and… and…. it just reminded me of other disappointing times, such as when the TV show ‘Space: Above and Beyond’ got canceled. A gem, a great piece of TV that just happened to be sci-fi, ripped away.

I don’t KNOW Joss Whedon like other fans of Whedon. I guess I’m not a Whedon fan at all, just like some of his work. Will I like Agents of SHIELD? Eh, maybe. Enough to watch it religiously? Probably not. It is hard enough to get me to watch serialized TV shows as it is. I personally didn’t find The Avengers to be all that great of a movie. Honestly, I’ll throw it down in the ranks with The Dark Night Rises, I just can’t willingly bring my self to watch it unless someone says; “Hey, let’s watch this!” Then I would reluctantly say; “Ok……. fine.”

I don’t know what Whedon and his people are doing with these movies or TV shows and why they’re so great to others, I don’t get it. I think if you watch it enough you become predisposed like you said but I just haven’t been caught up like that.

I think the finest work he’s done was Firefly and Serenity. If not that same story, why not something else like it? It was bloody original. Agents of SHIELD is based on preexisting stuff and even if they make up new characters and stories which they will, it will still be tainted by preexisting this and preexisting that.

Whedon needs something original, something epic, like Firefly, like Serenity. I don’t know. I guess I’m saying I’m just not predisposed..
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when it comes to “not the same story,” i would disagree and say that there is “nothing new under the sun,” but i do like to see things repackaged and the same situations or topics approached from a different angle. It makes me wonder if you ever saw Dollhouse. It was an “original” IP.

I also don’t think everyone HAS to like Whedon’s stuff (though i don’t know why they wouldn’t, hehe), but from the box office response to The Avengers, it certainly seems like people are ready to gobble up anything he spins off.

I did not see Dollhouse. I have heard of it but didn’t know it was in the Whedon Universe.

Sure, everything is repackaged ideas – space western for example – well that’s the Star Trek original series… and Firefly. But Firefly was fresh, new, different, at least enough to give me a reason to thoroughly enjoy it.

And no, not everyone has to like his stuff but I think unless you just don’t watch any of it, there has to be legitimate reasons for liking and disliking his stuff. I’m interested in what those things are. I don’t think I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument as to why The Avengers was as great as it has been made out to be.

Anyway, did Agents of SHIELD show last night? How was it?

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