Joss Whedon fans found something intriguing buried in ABC’s website for advertisers: A page touting its heavily buzzed pilot S.H.I.E.L.D. revealing a new title and a more detailed description (below).
The title: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A network representative tells EW that this title is not yet official. Keep in mind that titles often change during the development process (remember how Fox’s The Mindy Project was originally called It’s Messy?). At the very least, however, this title made it through enough layers of network approval to get previewed to Madison Avenue, and we hear this is what Marvel and the producers are currently calling the project as well.
Personally, I prefer S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s one of the simplest and strongest pilot titles in contention for fall. Sure it has six periods — us TV bloggers haven’t been so burdened since CBS unleashed $#*! My Dad Says. But as a title, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a clean M*A*S*H-like impact.
The issue could be the title’s similarity to FX’s former cop series The Shield. Perhaps all those periods aren’t enough to distinguish S.H.I.E.L.D. from The Shield, either from a legal or marketing perspective.
If this is the new title, I hope ABC considers ditching the Marvel shout-out. Last year, The Avengers was officially called Marvel’s The Avengers (most media outlets simply opted to call it The Avengers). In that case, too, there was the possibility for confusion with another TV show — the 1961 series The Avengers. But if ABC goes with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s no need for the intrusive studio branding of “Marvel,” too. You don’t see Sony’s Justified and Warner Bros.’ Big Bang Theory on the schedule. The play is the thing.
If greenlit to series — and we’re pretty confident M.A.O.S. will be greenlit — the official title will be unveiled in May when ABC presents its fall schedule to advertisers. Frankly, ABC can call this project The Joss Whedon Superhero Action Variety Hour and we’ll still watch.
Here’s the new description. This is also not “official” but…