Strong women? Self-aware dialogue? We ID the geek auteur's signature moves to look for in ''Agents of SHIELD''
It's easy to forget that Whedon originally rose to prominence in the salad days of The WB, when the network was filled with teenagers who all talked like hyper-articulate twentysomethings. Self-aware dialogue ran rampant throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer but unlike on, say, Dawson's Creek, the self-awareness helped to humanize the characters, who seemed to be reacting to the show's fantastical creatures with the same disbelieving skepticism as the audience.
Self-awareness has basically become the lingua franca of popular geek culture, and Whedon has led the charge: One of the hallmark lines of the Avengers trailer came when Tony Stark nonchalantly tells Loki ''We have a Hulk,'' as if the word ''hulk'' is just something two guys say. And when Whedon started a run on Astonishing X-Men, he had Cyclops deliver a mission statement for the writer's back-to-basics approach: ''Superheroes wear costumes. And quite frankly, all that black leather was making people nervous.'' And Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. begins with a lead character explaining the mouthful acronym Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division with a meta-gag: ''Somebody really wanted to spell S.H.I.E.L.D.''
Image Credit: Zade Rosenthal