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The Shield - Season 1

The first season of the American television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D., follows Phil Coulson and his team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on several dangerous cases revolving around Project Centipede and Coulson's mysterious resurrection following his death in the film The Avengers (2012). The season is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and acknowledges the continuity of the franchise's films. It was produced by ABC Studios, Marvel Television, and Mutant Enemy Productions, with Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jeffrey Bell serving as showrunners.

The Shield - Season 1

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Clark Gregg reprises his role as Coulson from the film series, and is joined by series regulars Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was picked up for a full season by ABC in May 2013, and filming took place primarily in Los Angeles. The main recurring setting of the season is the Bus, a retrofitted Boeing C-17 Globemaster III plane that was designed by visual effects company FuseFX, and created with CGI. Some episodes of the season directly crossover with the films Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), with the latter causing a major retooling of the season for its final six episodes. Several other actors also reprise their MCU roles in the season for guest appearances.

The season aired on ABC from September 24, 2013, to May 13, 2014, and consists of 22 episodes. Its pilot episode was watched by 12.12 million viewers, the highest ratings received by the first episode of a drama series since 2009, but ratings decreased as the season progressed. The critical reception was initially mixed, but grew more positive in the second half of the season and particularly after the crossover with The Winter Soldier. The series was renewed for a second season in May 2014.[1]

In July 2013, Tancharoen revealed that alongside Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Jeff Bell, and herself, the writers for the season would include Paul Zbyszewski, Monica Owusu-Breen, Brent Fletcher, Lauren LeFranc, Rafe Judkins, and Shalisha Francis.[48]

On whether it was Marvel's idea or the showrunner's to have Coulson promoted to Director and tasked with rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of the season, Jed Whedon said "They're one in [sic] the same. They have plans for films, and we have plans to intermingle with them, and it's the name of our show. The second to last episode is called "Ragtag", and that's a term we've used; we wanted to create this ragtag group, but within this giant organization with billions of dollars and support all over the globe and satellite feeds on their luxurious plane. Now we have a chance to start them over and figure out what it's like to really be a secret again."[50]

The main cast for the season includes Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, reprising his role from the film series, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, and Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons.[24][53]

In April 2013, J. August Richards, one of the stars of the earlier Joss Whedon series Angel, was cast in the pilot in an unspecified role,[54] later revealed to be Mike Peterson,[53] the first live-action portrayal of Deathlok and a recurring character throughout the season.[55] Nicholas Brendon, another Whedon collaborator, was also reportedly considered for Richards' role.[56] In December, two recurring characters were set to be added to the series with the episode "T.A.H.I.T.I." They were described as "an African-American agent who specializes in combat/weapons, and a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/munitions expert who has past ties to both Coulson and Ward."[57] In January 2014, Bill Paxton was cast as Agent John Garrett, "a rough-and-tumble former cohort of Agent Coulson with a little bit of attitude and cigar-smoking swagger", for at least four episodes of the season.[58] Jed Whedon said that "We actually discussed Bill Paxton in the room, when we were talking about the character ... Then when he came up as an actual possibility, we couldn't believe it."[59] The next month, B. J. Britt was cast as Agent Antoine Triplett, an associate of Garrett.[34] Other recurring guests in the season include Saffron Burrows as Victoria Hand,[60] David Conrad as Ian Quinn,[61] and Ruth Negga as Raina.[31][62]

In January 2013, Cobie Smulders, who played agent Maria Hill in The Avengers, said that her character may make an appearance in the show and that her commitment to How I Met Your Mother would not prevent her from participating.[63] Smulders reprised the role of Hill in the pilot, with Joss Whedon saying, "I wanted very much to have Cobie in the pilot because as much as anyone else, she is S.H.I.E.L.D."[35] Smulders returned once again in the episode "Nothing Personal".[64] In June 2013, Samuel L. Jackson expressed interest in guest starring as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury,[65] and subsequently appeared in the second episode "0-8-4".[36] Jackson makes a second appearance in the season finale.[66] During the episode "The Well", Chris Hemsworth appears as Thor via archival footage from Thor: The Dark World.[67][68] Maximiliano Hernández and Jaimie Alexander also reprise their film roles, Jasper Sitwell and Sif, respectively.[38][39] Titus Welliver reprises the role of Felix Blake from the Marvel One-Shots short films.[37]

Storyboards were used throughout the season, to "put the director, stunts, camera, FX and the crew on the same page", though Joss Whedon did not use them for the pilot. One of the storyboard artists, Warren Drummond, noted the process was different to that on films, because there was limited time to complete the work, and because the storyboard artists were often working with different directors for each episode. Most of the sequences storyboarded were action or science fiction sequences.[69]

The stunt coordinator for the season was Tanner Gill.[76] In September 2013, Ming-Na Wen talked about stunts and action scenes on the series, saying "I have great stunt coordinators and choreographers to help me through every step and with the magic of filmmaking and editing, it all brings about her skills, to another level. That has to be very believable ... I think the hardest part is doing the actual stunts, the stunt-fighting. That's a whole other thing. I'm not really punching out the stunt guy, nor are they hitting me, so it's learning this dance, really, within the fight. It's how to pull back, how to take a hit and make it look real.[77]

The visual effects supervisor for the season was Mark Kolpack,[74] with Los Angeles-based visual effects company FuseFX the main visual effects vendor. Kevin Lingenfelser started the season focused on 2D supervising, but took over as lead in-house visual effects supervisor after episode eight from David Altenau. Two separate production management and creative teams were established to work on the show, with most of the episodes being worked on concurrently, either two or three at a time.[79]

Ultimately, the season featured several tie-in episodes with Marvel Cinematic Universe films: the episode "The Well" takes place directly after the events of Thor: The Dark World;[91] the episode "T.A.H.I.T.I." introduces the alien race the Kree to the MCU (confirmed as such in the second season), members of which play a significant role in Guardians of the Galaxy;[92][93] and the episodes "End of the Beginning" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" revolve around the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.[94][95] Due to Captain America: The Winter Soldier revealing that Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. with sleeper agents, the season sees a retooling for the final six episodes. Regarding the synergy the show has with addressing events from the films, Loeb said "It's an extremely unique experience that doesn't exist anywhere else out there in the entertainment business". The characters simultaneously face Hydra and a power struggle within S.H.I.E.L.D., and trust issues with each other. Jed Whedon added that that Hydra sleeper agents, which the show could not address until after the release of The Winter Soldier, was an attempt to address the lack of characters from the comics, a complaint fans had throughout the season.[96]

Three episodes were screened before their initial air dates: "Pilot" at San Diego Comic-Con International on July 19, 2013,[97] "Eye Spy" at New York Comic Con on October 12, 2013,[98] and "End of the Beginning" at Marvel's PaleyFest panel for the series on March 23, 2014.[99] Beginning with "T.A.H.I.T.I.", all episodes leading up to The Winter Soldier crossover were marketed as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Uprising.[100] On March 18, 2014, ABC aired a one-hour television special titled Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe in the place of an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. The special included promotional footage for then unaired episodes of the season.[101]

For the final six episodes, Marvel began the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Art of Level Seven" initiative, in which a different image was released each Thursday before a new episode, depicting a first look at a key event from the upcoming episode. Bell stated that the initiative was a way to tie the series back to its comics roots, and was thought of at the beginning of the season. The production team tried to pair specific artists to the teaser posters based on their previous work and how it connected to the themes and emotion of the intended episode.[102] The art also appeared as variant covers to select titles published by Marvel Comics in August 2014. Jeph Loeb stated, "It's exciting to bring this art to life once more, exclusively at comic book stores, and to give fans a chance to own the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. art in a different format."[103] 041b061a72


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