Marvel comes to TV
The most anticipated new show of the fall TV season arrives at 7 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.
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"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." follows the secret organization that recruited Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Thor of Asgard and Capt. Steve Rogers to be The Avengers. Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulson, the unflappable man in black who first caught the attention of Robert Downey Jr.'s brash industrialist in 2008's "Iron Man." (But wait -- didn't Coulson die in "The Avengers"?)
Coulson and a new group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including TV veteran Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, will "tackle the cases that haven't been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown," according to an ABC press release. Sounds like a superhero version of "The X-Files" to me.
Will Coulson's super friends show up in the series? I wouldn't count on it. But you can expect to see "Avengers" supporting player Agent Maria Hill, played by "How I Met Your Mother" star Cobie Smulders, in at least the first episode; hopefully Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will show up at some point.
"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." has quite a behind-the-scenes pedigree, beginning with "Avengers" writer/director and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon. He's an executive producer, along with brother Jed and Maurissa Tancharoen -- that trio previously worked on "Dollhouse" and "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog." Writers from "Alias," "Angel," "Heroes," "Lost" and "Smallville" are also on board.
Netflix subscribers can spend the whole weekend preparing for Tuesday's premiere.
"The Avengers," "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Thor" are all available for streaming, and fans of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk can sift through the 52 episodes of the "Iron Man: Armored Adventures" animated series or four seasons of the classic "Incredible Hulk" TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.
But wait, there's more
Tuesday also brings us the Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD and VOD rental release of Marvel's most recent cinematic adventure, "Iron Man 3."
Co-writer/director Shane Black delivered a very funny and genuinely exciting blockbuster that managed to gross more than a billion dollars despite its blatant divergence from the source material. (I didn't mind the movie's big twist, but plenty of hardcore comic book fans sure did.)
The "Iron Man 3" Blu-ray is jam-packed with bells and whistles, including a new short film starring Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers' wartime girlfriend in "Captain America: The First Avenger." Many of the Blu-ray's special features, including the short film, are also available to those who buy the film digitally via vudu.
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald copy editor, a tireless consumer of pop culture, and a hopeless nerd. Follow him on Twitter @SeanStanglandDH.