Let me preface this article by saying that I enjoy the current “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” series, even if I don’t care for some of the directions they have taken with story and characters, particularly as demanded(?) by events in the big-screen films. I understand that the films are the big moneymakers, so they take precedence. The TV/Netflix series, beginning with MAoS, must follow their lead. I get that.
So, when the powers-that-be in charge of the Avengers (and many related properties) decided to introduce and interpret S.H.I.E.L.D. the way they did and then blew it apart — physically, organizationally, metaphorically, etc. — with the HYDRA infiltration, that basically set the parameters for a lot of subsequent stories and eliminated the ability to tell others. If it isn’t obvious by now, I think they did a fine job, but I personally would have preferred that they not virtually destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. — at least, not so soon. In fact, if I had my druthers, S.H.I.E.L.D. would have been handled much differently and hewed more closely to the “classic” look and feel of the comics from the 1970s-2000s.
I would have established the agency as an international peacekeeping organization, possibly with U.N. oversight, and gone back to the original name of “Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-enforcement Division” or “Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate”. But, then I’d have kept it more in the background of the movies and less prominently involved in all the Avengers’ and other hoopla. Though, with an alien invasion, I guess they would have had to be involved to some degree. But, generally speaking, there wouldn’t have been so much focus on them. Of course, this also means that I probably would not have gone the “Ultimate” route, with Nick Fury being the one to pull the heroes together to form the Avengers.
With those changes as a backdrop, what would my S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series look like? To begin with, it would feel much more like the classic spy movies and shows that inspired it — e.g., James Bond and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” — but without the ’60s & ’70s campiness. There would be a mix of Bond-like superspy stuff, counterterrorism ops, high-tech espionage, superhero/villain interaction, and dealing with extraterrestrial threats. There would be both overt activity (e.g., when working with local LEOs/military and publicly-known superheroes to apprehend supervillains and fight off alien invasions) and covert missions. There would be occasional turf clashes with national security and law-enforcement agencies, both foreign and domestic, as well as with Interpol. And, of course, I would demonstrate the bureaucratic, diplomatic, logistical, and financial nightmares of being and running a huge, international, UN-supervised organization (assuming this is the case).
I would split story arcs between an assault team and intelligence operatives, with a couple op tech support people. There would be occasional appearances by classic S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (e.g., Clay Quartermain, Jasper Sitwell, the Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Dum-Dum Dugan and other surviving members of the Howlin’ Commandos, etc.). In fact, one or more of them might be regulars. There would also be occasional cameos by superheroes and other adventurers. Our main protagonists would be based on a heli-carrier, or at least have one heavily involved. It would probably be assigned to a particular sector in the U.S. but would occasionally, temporarily move to another location for a major operation.
I like some of the tech being developed and used by FitzSimmons in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”. But, in my version of the show, there would be more of it. I’d like to see more use of flying cars, jetpacks, laser(?) blasters, and various other weapons and equipment of the spy trade. And we must bring back the Life Model Decoy (LMD)! (Before they finally revealed how Agent Coulson survived his seemingly-fatal injury from the Avengers movie, I was so sure that the Coulson in the TV show was an LMD….) Finally, for normal, day-to-day operations, both on-base and in the field, I would bring back the navy blue S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms with white belt, boots, straps, and shoulder holsters. Those were snazzy!
OK, that about exhausts my fantasies for a real S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, as always faithful to the comics they sprang from. What do you think?