Winter TCA press tour is going on, it’s a gathering of the Television Critics Association and most of the major networks where they are locked in a room for the better part of a week and do panel interviews. ABC’s presentation has been going on and it was recently announced that Jamie Alexander or Lady Sif from the Thor franchise will be appearing in an episode of Agents of SHIELD (currently finishing off the back half of season 1 production).
My initial reaction was, that sounds like a great idea....if I had any hope that this show would do "tie-ins" well. The Thor: the Dark Worldtie-in “The Well” was kind fun especially because it opened with them literally cleaning the mess and then delved into Asgardians being on Earth for longer than previously thought.
This kind of announcement, however, reinforces how Agents of SHIELD markets its tie-ins poorly. They send out a press release and scream to the high heavens that “X” is showing up! When really the question should be asked: Dose “X” really matter to the story being told and would it be better if they kept it under wraps. Why are they calling out a Stan Lee cameo for the next episode, "T.R.A.C.K.S."? It goes against all the past Stan Lee cameos. This kind of “shouting” about continuity ties never fits right, they have moved off constantly talking about The Avengers and Battle of New York but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. In general this kind of marketing is a tad insulting to me as a viewer, it patronizes me and makes it feel like ABC is coddling the dumb viewers so much – a stable of Network TV perception.
Doing a MCU TV series that is so directly tied to a post-Avengers timeline wasn't going to be easy in the first place it would walk a fine line between being apart but still tied into something greater. That said it isn't an impossible task and Agents of SHIELD has gone about being apart but tethered entirely the wrong way. They say Battle of New York this, Asgard that. Arrow says Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Shadows and it fits. Arrow gives the hints of a expanded universe, SHIELD keeps trying to remind you it’s in one.
In other possible Marvel TV news, the much rumored Agent Carter TV series starring Haley Atwell may have showrunners in the form of Reaper creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas who will executive produce and write, according to a report from Deadline. The idea that something involving Agent Carter being in some stage of development isn’t crazy, if it isn’t now that would be crazy.
The series would likely air on ABC and that might be the best move for the network and Agents of SHIELD. SHIELD is a critical disappointment, it is still a consistently good enough performer ratings on a tough night in the worst spot next to 8 p.m. Thursdays. On top of being asked to anchor an entire night of freshmen programming. The stacked was decked against it from the start. ABC has had a terrible 2013-14 season thus far with Tuesday nights being a mix of good enough and disaster. A Tuesday night comedy block of freshmen comedies hasn’t worked, only The Goldbergs is likely to be renewed. Pairing Agents of SHIELD with Agent Carter would shore up a night of programming; give Disney corporate synergy – they could call it “Marvel Night” – and best of all: Carter is on the surface far more in line with ABC’s typical demo of women.
Do I think Agent Carter could make a good TV show? Yes. Than again, that’s the same hope and dream Agents of SHIELD has squandered.