Okay, so we all know by now that “Agents of SHIELD” will bow on ABC this fall, 8 p.m. Tuesdays. The Marvel/Disney movie is set in the post-“Avengers” universe and features the still-unexplained return of Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who’s recruiting a team of young agents to search for superheroes and unexplained phenomena. Along the way they meet up with a character who might be Luke Cage or might be someone else, played by J. August Richards.
So what do we want – no, need – to see in a “SHIELD” series?
SHIELD agents making contact with superheroes. Since this is the premise of the series, this isn’t much of a stretch. A lot of online joking has spoofed the idea of trying to do “Avengers” action on a TV budget and without big stars, leading to moments where Tony Stark or Bruce Banner just stepped out. But we want to see SHIELD agents meeting and dealing with superheroes. If they’re familiar characters from the comics who we haven’t met on-screen yet, that’s fine.
Lots of inside references. There’s a half-century of Marvel Comics and SHIELD storylines and characters out there and we need to see a lot of nods toward them. If “Arrow” can make reference to Blue Beetle without even knowing if the character will ever show up or set scenes in Bludhaven, Nightwing’s stomping ground, without having the rights to the “Batman” characters, then we can see plenty of Marvel characters introduced and references, by golly.
Seeds sewn for future Marvel movies. Why not introduce plot lines and characters planned for “Ant-Man” or even “Avengers 2?” Marvel Comics have, for the aforementioned 5o years, tossed characters and conflicts and stories into the mix to introduce them before they became familiar characters and plots later. Remember how the character later familiar as Warlock was introduced as “Him” in Fantastic Four?
Cameos for the big names. Yes, they could give us CGI recreations of Iron Man and the Hulk in “SHIELD.” But wouldn’t it be fun to see Robert Downey Jr. or Mark Ruffalo show up during sweeps weeks?
We want AIM and HYDRA. The uber-criminal organizations, introduced in “Iron Man 3” and “Captain America” respectively, are the traditional counterparts to SHIELD in the comics. They should be a background – and sometimes foreground – presence in the TV series. And what about AIM’s big-domed leader, MODOK?
Life Model Decoys! Tony Stark joked about them in “The Avengers.” They’ve been a SHIELD staple since the 1960s. These robotic doubles for our main characters are kind of cheesy, but it would be a fun acknowledgment of the show’s roots.
I’m sure there are other “must see” characters and plots out there, right?