ABC President talks S.H.I.E.L.D series : Scripts, Tone, Progress, Sustainability

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As a fan of, well, everything he’s done, I’m excited that “Buffy”, “Angel” and “Dollhouse” alum Joss Whedon has managed to find some time to venture back to the small screen this year. In addition to juggling his cinematic duties with Marvel’s big-screen universe, the “Avengers” helmer is shepherding the new spin-off series on “S.H.I.E.L.D”.

Speaking at the TCA upfronts, ABC prez Paul Lee said he’s confident not only will “S.H.I.E.L.D” go to series, but it’ll – like Whedon’s famed “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” – be on the air for years to come.

Lee, who hasn’t seen the pilot yet, told Crave Online :

”On the one hand, we have to make shows that can sustain for many, many years and we’d love to see ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ go not just from pilot but to series, and not just from series but to last a long time. We’re a long way from that. We’d love to do that and we’re able to be much more ambitious on television because of the technology available. At the same time, look, we are ambitious with the show and we’re certainly investing to the levels of ‘Once Upon a Time’ and that’s an ambitious show.”

Whedon has apparently already started work on a number of episodes in the imminent series.

“He’s already working on the scripts for the series. We will have to work. We shot it in Los Angeles to make sure that he is free to work across his feature life and his television life, but I love to see Joss who of course has made many great television shows in his day, enjoying television as much as movies. That’s flattering for us. We love that.”

The series, not surprisingly, would encompass equal parts character and action.

“The truth about Joss is he has some great relationships in it so there are a lot of really funny male/female relationships that go through it. But it’s also Joss too and there’s a lot of action. Look, what we do do, I talk about the emotion of the network, that it’s smart with heart. There is something which I talk less about, that’s very real about this network, is we have more co-viewed shows. Absolutely Marvel has the ability to bring the whole family around it.”

“S.H.I.E.L.D”, which will star Marvel Universe-staple Clark Gregg, among others, will hopefully debut later this year.