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Executive Producers Talk ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon hope to keep building momentum


Executive producers of ABC’s hit superhero drama “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” are teasing how they’re building upon Marvel’s expansive universe in the upcoming season.

Returning for Season 2 on Sept. 23, the series earned ABC its best drama performance in four years with its debut last year. While ratings slipped after the premiere, it remained Tuesday’s top show among men 18–49 and enjoyed robust DVR numbers. Now executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon are hoping to position the series to surpass Season 1.

“Creatively, we’re on the same path that we were on from the outset,” Tancharoen recently told Comic Book Resources. “Of course, being last season, it was the first-season learning curve and we had a few bumps in the road. And I do believe we got to a nice sort of happy place between story and the Marvel factor. … So now, diving into Season 2, which we very much had in our minds as we were creating Season 1, we’re diving into a new paradigm, just as far as the way the world perceives S.H.I.E.L.D. and how we have to operate and how Coulson has to rebuild it.”

“In terms of a learning curve, one of the things was keeping that levity,” Whedon added. “We tried at the end. We had a lot of dire things happening and a lot of urgency and a lot of momentum. We were curious about how to balance … the humor and the lightness with the dire things that were happening. And finding that balance is one of the things that we’re proud of in the back half of the season. We’re definitely trying to continue that in the early part of the second season, keeping that momentum and keeping a sort of a wry look at things while things are dire.”

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise and centers on Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, “Ironman”), who serves as a lead agent for a secret organization — known as Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division — that confronts rogue superheroes, aliens and other supernatural-like phenomena.

By the end of Season 1, the storyline carried threads from the film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” that saw S.H.I.E.L.D. infiltrated by enemy agents.

“Season 2 will be … answering a lot of questions that we queued up through the season and at the end of Season 1,” Tancharoen said. “We’re all aware of the limitations of a TV schedule and budget, but I do think we found a really nice sort of balance of everything and a system to adhere to when it came to how we basically produced all these episodes, and we’re very much going into the season with that formula in mind and maybe even attempt to do more.”

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will follow Coulson’s attempt to rebuild the secret organization, and it will feature an expanding cast, including Kyle MacLachlan (Agent Skye’s father), Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), Lucy Lawless (Agent Isabelle Hartley), Reed Diamond (Daniel Whitehall), Nick Blood (Lance Hunter) and Henry Simmons (Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie). They join series regulars Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge.

See more of Tancharoen and Whedon’s interview at comicbookresources.com.

Spearheaded by Marvel Television, Mutant Enemy and ABC Studios, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” is also executive produced by “The Avengers” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” mastermind Joss Whedon.

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