Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the non-nerd (With a lot of nerd stuff thrown in!)

Is there a show that you’ve jumped into?  Is there something that you binge watch on ye olde Netflix?  Did you get LOST for 24 hours with a  bunch of MAD MEN in some kind of AMERICAN HORROR STORY with the SONS OF ANARCHY while your friend DEXTER was BREAKING BAD habits?

"Don't forget about my show...what was it called?  Are we even on the air still?"

“Don’t forget about my show…what was it called? Are we even on the air still?”

Well, get ready for a new show to add to your binge watching list.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D!

The new show is a spin off of the current Marvel Studio films and the season will expand upon the Marvel cinematic universe.  S.H.I.E.L.D is a clandestine government agency that deals with big picture threats to the United States and the world.  In the films and the television show, the acronym stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.  In the comics the acronym originally stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division (Debuting in 1965 in Strange Tales # 135, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) for no apparent reason, the name was changed in the 1990s to Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.    No matter what the name means, the show is taking a very logical step by bringing popular characters from the Marvel Studio Films and putting them on a weekly action show.  Before I delve to deep into the show and its history, I would be committing a crime against humanity if I didn’t note that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sadly, not the first time the comic book agency was given life on the small screen….

"Co-Starring Pamela Anderson as the Red Skull filmed entirely in slow motion!"

“Co-Starring Pamela Anderson as the Red Skull filmed entirely in slow motion!”

Yes, in 1998, the same year internet geniuses gave us Google, the evil geniuses at Fox gave us Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD starring David Hassellhoff in the title role.  Nick Fury is the head of SHIELD, in the comic books.  He created the idea of an all encompassing agency that would protect the world from major threats, but scrapped the idea….only to find that some U.N. type organization took his premise, created the agency and appointed him the Director.   So, some executive thought it would be great to see the guy who played Michael Knight as the not so tough head of a global defense agency.  Great casting!  Well, it went straight to television and was widely ignored.  Although, I’m sure it was huge in Germany.

"Let us all eat bratwurst, drink craft beer and watch Baywatch!"

“Let us all eat bratwurst, drink craft beer and watch Baywatch!  I’m not even German!”

Years later, Marvel comics created a new line of comics to reach a younger audience.  They ditched the decades of history and created an alternate universe that was streamlined to be more like a widescreen action movie.  This ULTIMATE UNIVERSE existed alongside the traditional Marvel Universe, so readers could choose which take on the characters they want to read about.  Of course, the company wouldn’t be mad if you bought every book they ever published.  Including the Adventures of Squirrel Girl.  (She’s a real character…and she fought and defeated Dr. Doom.  Don’t ask.  EVER.)  The first books were Ultimate Spiderman (A younger, just starting out version of Spiderman) and Ultimate X-Men (A darker, more cinematic version of the X-Men with plenty of twists on the original stories…Like Wolverine being a founding member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Colossus being a closeted homosexual.)  Ultimate Nick Fury debuted in the pages of Ultimate X-Men.  His look was rather different from what it would soon become…

This Fury looked more like Sonny Spoon (Mario Van Peebles) than Samuel L. Jackson.

This Fury looked more like Sonny Spoon (Mario Van Peebles) than Samuel L. Jackson

It wasn’t until the Ultimates (The Ultimate Universe version of the Avengers) that Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch reinvented the Nick Fury Character and made him look just like Samuel L. Jackson, however the creators didn’t ask Jackson for his permission to use his likeness.  So in an attempt to keep from being sued by the highest grossing actor in the world…when Marvel Studios began planning the Marvel Cinematic Universe that would eventually give us the Avengers…they asked Samuel L. Jackson if he would like to play Fury.  He agreed and the character first appeared to almost everyone’s surprise at the end of Iron Man.  Of course, throughout the film, S.H.I.E.L.D was represented by Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg.

Coulson's first SHEILD mission was to infiltrate a sub par Julia Louis-Dreyfus sit-com.

Coulson’s first SHIELD mission was to infiltrate a sub par Julia Louis-Dreyfus sit-com.

Coulson became a fan favorite, appearing in almost all of the Marvel films, eventually gaining a larger role in the Avengers….Until he was killed by Loki, the god of moving the story along.  This brings us to the show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D where Agent Coulson is revealed to be alive and well, despite being stabbed through the heart by Thor’s evil bro.   Not-Dead Coulson assembles his crew of Level Seven agents to tackle unusual comic book-ish threats that have arisen since the Super Heroes came on to the scene.    If the show left you scratching your head and wondering….”What the hell is an Extemis?” here’s your handy dandy nerd guide.

Why is Robin from How I met your Mother on this show?

The very Canadian actress, Cobie Smulders (Who does play Robin on How I Met Your Mother) played Maria Hill in the Avengers and reprised her role for a brief cameo on the Pilot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  In the comic book world, Maria Hill is a top level S.H.I.E.L.D agent and answers only to Nick Fury himself….and probably his bosses….maybe even to the Pope, heck I don’t know.  Nick Fury is presumed dead and Maria Hill is appointed his successor.  A lot happens in between then and the current Marvel stories (Including SHIELD being run by Iron Man, dismantled by the Green Goblin and replaced with his HAMMER organization), but now Maria Hill is back in command of SHIELD.

I hear all this babble about LMD what the heck is that, a delicious new snack at McDonalds?

No, an LMD is not a snack.  Rather than standing for Lettuce, Meat and Doritos (Coming soon to Taco Bell!) LMD actually means Life Model Decoy.  Basically its an android that looks like a specific person, keeping that person out of harm.  Read onward for why this nerd factoid matters.  (Does any of this really matter?)

Is Coulson Alive or Dead?

Okay, so we saw Phil Coulson die in the Avengers, but in Agents, he’s bouncing around with witty one liners and being all pervy toward Maria Hill.  His story is that he recovered in Tahiti for a while and his death was just a story used to motivate the Avengers into…Avenging.  The second the show was teased and Clark Gregg hit the convention circuit, fans speculated that the Coulson killed in the Avengers was an LMD.  However…when a SHIELD medical officer is chatting with Maria Hill about Coulson he says:  “He doesn’t Know?” and Maria Hill says:  “He can never Know.”  Now, this leads to a lot of speculation and mystery as to what that means.  Maybe Coulson did die after all and this Coulson is an LMD who doesn’t know he’s not the real deal.  Perhaps he’s a clone.  Who knows, maybe he is the smoke monster from Lost.

What is an EXTREMIS?  Is there an ointment for that?

In 2005, comic book writer Warren Ellis and artist Adi Granov created the Extremis storyline.  In this six part story, we learn about a computer code like virus which can be placed in the mind of a human and take over the healing part of the brain.  This in effect upgrades the user, allowing him to adapt to anything that comes his way.  Tony Stark injects himself with the Extremis virus and modifies the virus, allowing him to use it to interface with technology.  The movie Iron Man 3 first introduces Extremis to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  it is essentially the same thing, upgrading its users to be super soldiers.  However, these soldiers are unstable and if they get too angry and worked up can turn to human bombs.  The “Hooded Hero” in Agents of SHIELD is revealed to be a test subject of something called Centipede which uses an insect like device to interface with the Extremis virus.

Will Nick Fury appear in the show?

Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson wants to be on the show!  However, according to various interviews he gave, Jackson claims that Disney/Marvel Films can’t hire him for the show due to contract problems…blah, blah, blah.  Samuel L. Jackson says that if he was on the show, he’d love to appear like Charlie on Charlie’s Angels and just play a voice role.  Maybe he could be represented as a hologram message.  Either way, I’d love to see him on the show…he is the head of SHIELD after all!

Will there be other Marvel Heroes on the Show?

It’s hard to tell yet.  I think the Hooded Hero in episode one was a teaser and we are going to be treated to actually established Marvel Heroes and villains.  However, there are some people on the web making there wish lists of characters they want to see on the show…and they include X-Men and Spider-Man related characters.  Due to the film rights, Marvel Studios can’t use Spider-Man characters or X-Men characters. Ghost Rider, Blade, and the Fantastic Four are also off limits.  Here are some heroes that can (but probably won’t appear): Namor (The king of Atlantis and a real jerk), Dr. Strange (The mystic Sorcerer Supreme), The Punisher (Ex-Navy seal whose family was murdered and he began a one man war on crime), Shang Chi (A character based on Bruce Lee, appeared in the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu…awesome) Luke Cage (Formerly Power-Man, a street level, invulnerable hero for hire)  Iron Fist (Luke Cage’s partner, Danny Rand, a mystic fighter) Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers is caught in an explosion of an alien device and is given super powers)

Why Should I watch this crazy show?

Because it’s not crazy, it’s got great potential and you could be watching this….

 

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