Are We Family? How Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D May Be Joss Whedon’s New Family

This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D revealed that Agent Coulson’s hand-picked team needs some time to mesh into a good crime-agents-of-shield-abcfighting team.

For one thing, they’ve only been together for a week, including Fitz and Simmons. Ward did know about Melinda May’s reputation as an agent, but she wanted to be left alone. Ward is also a loner, but that’s how he always worked. Skye is still an enigma, maybe a spy for the Rising Tide- or the future of S.H.I.E.L.D. if she can prove that to her new teammates. It’s no coincidence The Avengers had to go through a similar process.

Joss Whedon’s shows have always included a group of friends united by a common cause and becoming a family. However, there’s always a slow transition before they become united. It also includes adding someone new to the group to change the dynamic.

Buffy castIn the case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Scooby Gang merged quickly when they realized vampires were in Sunnydale. Xander and Willow were born and raised there, and Giles had recently arrived as the high school librarian. Buffy was the new kid in town, hoping to put her Slaying past behind. She starts by befriending Xander, then Willow. When she meets Giles to get textbooks at the library, he hands her a different book with “Vampyr” on it, and she takes off. After she finds a dead body in a gym locker, she returns to ask Giles why he’s really here. While this happens, Xander is listening to the whole thing. Once Willow almost gets bitten, the Scoobies are formed with Giles as the father figure Buffy needs, and Xander and Willow as surrogate siblings. Skye’s future relationship with Coulson will be key to the success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She needs a father figure desperately, although we don’t know her story. Their relationship may be just like Buffy and Giles.

Angel cast

On Angel, the vampire with a soul is alone because he prefers it. However, a half-demon called Doyle insists that Angel reconnect with humans and help them out. He also gets a family, but it’s people he already knows: Cordelia, who’s hoping to make it big in Hollywood, and Wesley, a rogue Watcher who probably would have been the new standard. Angel’s new colleague is Charles Gunn, who started fighting demons when his sister was turned by vampires. Later on, Winifred “Fred” Burkle joins the group after escaping from Pylea. They slowly unite as a group who helps the helpess and each other. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has Ward, May and Skye, who are used to being alone but have to learn to connect with others.

When we meet the crew of Firefly, it’s already a family, but, like Buffy, that group will change with the addition of new members. Mal Reynolds had been in a family, the Browncoats, united by a common cause to keep the Alliance from taking over their frontier. However, he wanted to have a new life where no one takes the sky from him. He gathers his crew together, as we saw in “Out of Gas.” Then, in Serenity, the group gets a jolt from new members: Shepherd Book, Simon Tam, someone with a mysterious package, and River, who is the package. We soon learn they have mysterious pasts. Shepherd shows some fighting skills a man of the cloth doesn’t normally have. Simon and River, meanwhile, are on the run from the Alliance because of River’s mental and psychic skills. However, 2_firefly_casther brain had been traumatized by experiments, which makes here unstable, but sometimes brilliant. Simon proves to be a valuable doctor and ally, and River a skilled fighter, especially in Serenity. Firefly’s family shows that those who are out of power can still make a difference. That also applies to the Agents of SHIELD, where each member has skills that are valuable to their missions.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as with Joss Whedon-produced shows, are more than just the mission. It’s about people, and how they are changed by a new mission, and sometimes, how they change the mission, but benig a family of sorts. Phil Coulson chose Agent Ward and Melinda May because didn’t want them to be alone anymore. He got Fitz and Simmons for their scientific skills. He chose Skye because she can provide that intangible the others don’t have. He, of course, has Lola, nice suits, and fighting skills we never expected. That’s quite a family, and let’s hope they can grow and develop through the mission, and somehow change the mission, too.

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Post Author: David Mello

Worked nearly eleven years at a radio station as a board operator, news reader, and assistant producer for baseball broadcasts. Have been a staff writer for Whedonopolis since July 2008

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