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November 30 2012

ABC president on S.H.I.E.L.D. - "It's very Joss Whedon". Paul Lee told TVLine "We're optimistic, because Joss is a genius and we love the idea and we love what we've seen. But it's early days, and it's a long way to go between now and a successful series. But we are very excited about it." (Spoilers for other shows at the source).

The selfish part of my personality wishes the script would leak so I could be very excited about it too. :p
Hah, am I the only one whose heart sank a little upon reading a network president saying, "It's very Joss Whedon"? I just couldn't imagine he meant it as a compliment.

Luckily, he did! Very nice little statement. I mean, they're not gonna be tearing down this pilot publicly before it's even shot, but it's still nice to hear.
A network exec (the president at that!) calling Joss Whedon a genius and loving his show before it even debuts.

Heaven. This is heaven I tell you.
Once upon a time, Fox was enthralled too. Just saying...
Fox is known for cancelling a show like Firefly.

ABC is known for commissioning the (then) most expensive pilot ever made (Lost), sticking by it and having a giant, succesful fantasy show be one of the most talked about shows on its line-up for about 6 years. If you were to ask me which network I think a Joss show might be given a fair shot, a decent budget and all the promo it needs on, it's definitely ABC. Fox doesn't often take risks and when they do they have a tendency to cancel those shows and actually facilitate that cancellation by not promoting the show enogh. NBC has been making risky moves for a while now (Smash and the upcoming Dracula to name a few), but it's not currently popular or stable enough to ensure a show like S.H.I.E.L.D. pulls in the numbers it can. CBS... Well, they don't really do a lot of serialized shows. It's pretty much all procedurals and it should never be forced on the Whedons to do procedurals. ABC, I think, is the best home for this show right now and I think, what with it being tied to a huge franchise, and Disney undoubtedly pulling rank here, they will treat it well.
Excellent! Now if only I knew what that actually means.
To be fair, in "sticking by" LOST, ABC fired the president who conceived the idea and rallied the creative people necessary to make it work, before the show had even aired.

All networks are essentially as bad as the others when it comes to cancelling shows. There does seem to be a lovely trend of letting shows finish out their runs this season, though, even after they've been cancelled. So that's something.
It really is a breath of fresh air to hear a network president praising Joss as a genius and loving the show! Excitement level rising... can't wait for more Whedony goodness on tv!
Sure Firefly, and then it was different people at Fox and they were excited about Dollhouse and Joss was excited and everything was wonderful until - scrap the pilot and Friday night time slot. Oops.

Let's see this get picked up and what time slot it lands in and how much they actually put into promoting it. Then we'll know how they really feel about the show, but up until then, why would they damage their property by talking it down? There's no incentive to do anything but hype it no matter how they feel.
That's true, Jobo, but they also pushed it to succeed. It was a huge hit. I don't doubt Firefly could have been as well, had Fox promoted the frak out of it.
It's pretty much all procedurals and it should never be forced on the Whedons to do procedurals.

You are aware that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been touted as being a procedural؟
A procedural that doesn't suck.

To be honest, ABC cancels just as many shows as other networks. In fact, many years more. It happens. It's business. This season they've already cancelled their new genre shows and it's only November.

What matters is this:

a) Is the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot creatively good?
b) Will the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot ping across the 18-49 demographic?
c) Will ABC then promote it?
d) Luck.

Joss, Jed and Maurissa are really fine writers and producers. Their minds are my kind of crazy. And the network is on board for the pilot script. It's a situation that doesn't suck for them.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-11-30 18:31 ]
Yep - as far as tv production goes, I'd say that they seem to have everything going for them at this point (which is as much as you could hope for.) Beyond that, like gossi said, luck.
"It's very Aaron Spelling" said the ABC in the darkest timeline. "Which is really weird, because we hired the Firefly guy."
I don't get it. So, when are they going to cancel the show?
Luck, yes, but it also doesn't hurt that Avengers made box office history - Lost, as successful as it was, didn't have that momentum behind it and neither did Firefly(stupid Fox).

[ edited by SignalAddict on 2012-11-30 19:16 ]
All networks cancel shows and they cancel lots of them. Fox gets a bad wrap because they greenlight shows you love in the first place. Fox should have cancelled Fringe after the first season. Instead Fox is giving us a 5th season present with a big bow on it. I'll cut them slack for decades past and future for this alone.
Fox doesn't take risks? How many cookie-cutter procedurals do they have? Jeez, they gave Dollhouse a second season despite dismal ratings, and they've stuck by Fringe for years. I'd say they are above average, risk-wise. Give them a break already.

I mean, Mitholas, you've given NBC a "risk" credit for Smash but Fox gets nothing for Glee? Nobody was making a show like Glee until Fox made it. Nobody thought it could work.
Paul Lee also praised Work It last year, so...

The networks are pretty much a crap shoot.
Back on topic, I want S.H.E.I.L.D. now please.

I'm getting excited for this.
I agree that Fox has taken a lot more risks than some people give it credit for. I didn't watch Touch, which is a supernatural drama, but Fox liked it enough to give it a second season. Fox picked up and gave an entire season to The Mindy Project, which is created, produced, and stars a minority female. Fox also aired Arrested Development, which has risen to become one of the most phenomenal comedies of all time. I think Fox takes plenty of risks. I also think Firefly, much like Arrested Development, was before its time.

Like IrrationalTV said, Fox gave Fringe a lot of credit. I disagree that it should have been canceled after the first season, but I am amazed at the latitude it has been given to do pretty much everything under the sun. If season five is as good as it looks so far, I believe that it could be a worthy successor to X-Files.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2012-11-30 20:50 ]
I'm very optimistic about SHIELD too! Television is a tough business, but IMHO, SHIELD is in a better position to succeed than 90% of new shows prepped for 2013.
the ninja report, what I meant is that based purely on financial factors (like ratings), Fringe should have been cancelled after the first season. Creatively is a different story. Every season of that show has been a big gift from Fox. No way it was ever profitable for them.
Can we talk less about cancelling old shows and more about this shiny brand new one? Because it is very shiny and so new we don't even know all the cast yet.
I still contend that ABC has more reasons to promote and enable S.H.I.E.L.D. to succeed than Fox ever did with Firefly: ABC is owned by Disney who co-own the AVENGERS franchise, and Disney would love to be able to promote the movies they are making with Marvel on a TV show that ties directly into that franchise. That is not to say that S.H.I.E.L.D. cannot fail, but I do believe it will be given better than average chances to succeed.

Of course it helps that most of the people in the US saw AVENGERS (is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but at least almost everyone knows that AVENGERS was a huge hit) so I expect it's pilot will get a lot of viewers. I totally believe this show has a great chance to be a hit even though genre shows aren't always the highest rated.

I'm VERY excited about it, can you tell?!?! LOL
@Sunfire, so true!

I don't think this quote from Joe Quesada has been linked before:

"We have incredibly high hopes for the TV show. I think Clark is obviously going to be a huge breakout star. Again, I read, I know what the show's about and I think Marvel fans are going to be absolutely over the moon with it and those people who watched "The Avengers" movie -- not many people who didn't -- are going to be incredibly happy with it and satisfied with it. Those who don't know anything about "The Avengers" or the Marvel Universe are going to love it as well because it's a very unique show that we're creating."

No one expect either ABC or Marvel people to say anything negative about it, but it's still nice to read positive things.
Oh financially, I bet half the shows on TV would be off the air and we'd just be watching reality TV. I think networks are finally realizing that quality trumps quantity every time. A show like Mad Men, that gets maybe 1.5 million viewers doesn't really make much money through ad sales alone. It has tie ins with Banana Republic and all sorts of style influence. I think with SHIELD, ABC will be cautious and I hope it keeps in mind quality over quantity.
"It's very Joss Whedon", which if taken out of context, might make someone already start a "Save S.H.I.E.L.D." campaign, which is silly, but some people might mean it.
ninja, if that were true no networks would exist. All of them, except PBS, are for profit companies. Quality or quantity, the majority of shows have to be profitable. I won't go into the boring (and extensive) details on how AMC makes its money on Mad Men but next to nothing is from Banana Republic and the like. :)

All that being said, SHIELD will get great ratings, make Disney/ABC oodles and oodles of money and last for 8 seasons and 200 episodes. Mark it down. :) I still have my fingers crossed that Summer sneaks in somewhere in the casting but I'm guessing she is already too old to fit into the character description for Skye. This makes me sad.
Brinderwalt: depends on your definition of procedural. I wouldn't call anything with strong inter-episode or seasonal archs a pocedural. Technically all of Joss's shows fall under the thing-of-the-week category. What sets them apart from a show like Bones for example, is that Joss's shows build to longer archs. A procedural, way i see it, generally neglects that. It's like the difference between Grey's Anatomy and House. Both have procedural elements and multi-episode archs. But i would only call House a procedural.

Re: Fox taking risks: they do take risks. And they subsequently have a well-documented history of neglecting to promote those shows too. I'm not saying Fox is the biggest evil here, but look at its cancelled shows and tell me they didn't facilitate it themselves to some extent. Heck, they killed off Family Guy twice only to pick it up again because the numbers it was pulling elsewhere warranted a revival. That's just bad decisionmaking on their part. They facilitated their cancellation of arrested development, firefly and dollhouse as well. I'm sure you'll find fans of other shows that aren't exactly happy with how Fox handled their favorite show either.
Yes, ABC cancelled 666PA and Last Resort, but i'm pretty sure they pushed at least Last Resort, as that was its biggest new show. The audience just isn't there, but i don't think you can chalk that up to anything the network did wrong. To be honest, i stopped watching Last Resort after the pilot too for lack of interest.
ABC is a decent network at taking risks. I remember reading about how Bryan Fuller went to ABC with Pushing Daisies specifically because of their penchant for strange, risky shows that became successful (ie Lost and Desperate Housewives). SHIELD is almost guaranteed to pull the numbers for a pickup at least, I don't think we need to be in panic mode just yet.
Brinderwalt: depends on your definition of procedural.

Alright - you'll just have to bear with me here because this is one of my favorite :) pet peeves.

Courtesy of the Wikipedia,
Procedural (genre): In television, 'procedural' specifically refers to a genre of programs in which a problem is introduced, investigated and solved all within the same episode. These shows tend to be hour-long dramas, and are often (though not always) police or crime related.

So in essence the only thing that really defines a television show as a 'procedural' is that each episode or installment is purposefully written so that it can function as a self-contained story (ie. contains something along the lines of a basic three-act structure.)

I wouldn't call anything with strong inter-episode or seasonal archs a pocedural.

And therein lies the rub - whether or not a show is written to present a complete narrative on a per-installment basis says absolutely nothing about whether or not it is also capable of sustaining a story over a broader scope (ie. serial form.) Yes, the prospect of maintaining multiple levels/scopes of storytelling in a tv show can be quite daunting (ergo why you see so many examples of writers playing it safe by resorting to just single-layer stories that, to some, the word "procedural" has itself become a derogatory term,) but there is nothing inherently exclusive about having multiple, simultaneous scopes of storytelling. Imo the best of the best in television are those shows which are written to function narratively on both the short-term 'procedural' and the long-term 'serial' levels, and also prove to be enjoyable when viewed in either context.

To put it another way, the 'serial' elements of a tv show are like the roof and walls of a house while the 'procedural' elements are like a foundation. Foundations stay around for a long time (...) but leave you cold and exposed, while a roof and walls will keep the weather at bay but tend not to last very long (...) without something under them. For a good house you need both - it's the same way with tv shows. Imo every great 'serialized' tv show is just a lonely 'procedural' taken to the next level.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2012-12-01 15:11 ]
I'm sure there will be enough standalone episodes and enough season arcs to please most of us. Personally, I'm a season arc gal, but over the years Joss & Co have given us some outstanding standalone-ish episodes. So, whatever this show is, it cannot arrive soon enough!
ABC currently has a major hit with "Once Upon a Time," which is a) pretty different from most other TV shows and b) reliant on other Disney properties. I would imagine they can see the same potential with "S.H.I.E.L.D."
I concede, Brinderwalt. I'll rephrase my statement to fit your definitions: I don't think the Whedons should ever be forced into writing a "bare" procedural, uncovered by multi-episodes or seasonal archs ('dressy' procedurals, if you will). And I doubt ABC will steer the show in that direction. ABC does well with 'dressy' procedurals (e.g. Grey's Anatomy).

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