'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.': A Primer of Joss Whedon's New Fall TV Series
You saw one (or more) of the "Iron Man" movies because of Robert Downey Jr. You saw "The Avengers" because, well, everyone did. You think you are ready for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," the new Marvel-spawned fall TV series premiering Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC. You are wrong. You are so not ready. Yet.
Here's what you need to know to watch "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.":
The show, in brief: In the wake of "The Avengers," aka the "Battle of New York," buttoned-down Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) leads a crackerjack crew of specialists in the worldwide fight against comic-book-y crime for the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D. for short.
Where you've seen Coulson before: "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "The Avengers," and a couple of shorts, known as Marvel One-Shots, that were made for the Blu-ray releases of "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger." Suffice it to say, the fake Coulson's very real IMDb.com page is longer than the average actor's.
Where you've seen Coulson, well, die before: "The Avengers." The 2012 monster hit was co-written and directed by the same Joss Whedon who co-wrote and directed the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, so, yes, the man is well-aware he has some explaining to do. (Spoiler alert: Slash Film purports to have the goods on how Coulson makes it back from his apparent demise. Don't click here if you don't want to know what reportedly goes down in the pilot.)
Meet the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.":
The Samuel L. Jackson connection, or not: In the Marvel movies that involve S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson is an underling of Jackson's eye-patch-wearing commander, Nick Fury. Jackson has said he'd like to be a part of the new series: "I'd be, you know, Charlie's voice on 'Charlie's Angels.'" But Whedon hasn't taken Jackson up on his offer — that we know of. A Marvel rep declined to comment on Jackson's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." status, if any.
The superhero factor, or not: While superheroes exist in the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." universe, they don't exist in Coulson's team. At the same time, however, ABC has teased that the pilot concerns Coulson and friends trying to "track down an ordinary man who has gained extraordinary powers."