The (alleged) casting-call descriptions for Joss Whedon's new Marvel Universe television show have appeared online.
There is no way to confirm if they are real, and even finding the original poster is proving difficult, so I'd approach these as rumor for now, but these descriptions for the five primary characters of S.H.I.E.L.D. seem to confirm that there will be no super humans among the protagonists.
SKYE – This late-20s woman sounds like a dream: fun, smart, caring and confident – with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm.
AGENT GRANT WARD – Quite the physical specimen and “cool under fire,” he sometimes botches interpersonal relations. He’s a quiet one with a bit of a temper, but he’s the kind of guy that grows on you.
AGENT ALTHEA RICE – Also known as “The Calvary,” this hard-core soldier has crazy skills when it comes to weapons and being a pilot. But her experiences have left her very quiet and a little damaged.
AGENT LEO FITZ and AGENT JEMMA SIMMONS – These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other’s company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies – she deals with biology and chemistry, he’s a whiz at the technical side of weaponry.
I'm not sure what "sounds like a dream" is supposed to mean, and I'm 99% certain that "Calvary" is a misspelling, but the rest of it makes sense in a 'casting-call language' sort of way. It sounds like a group of characters that would show up in a Whedon program, right along the lines of the cast of Buffy, Dollhouse, or Firefly.
I was honestly expecting to find at least one superhuman in a primary role, but I suppose they've been relegated to background events. They surely exist in the world, but the primary action will be in response to things super human's are doing. Of course, character concepts could change a bit between now and the pilot, even if this is accurate.
There are a lot of neat directions that this show could take, but I'm imagining that it will most likely be a villain-of-the-week style plot, with these characters having to track down and capture a differnt super villain each week, normal folk dealing with supernatural threats is a classic theme, and goes over well most of the time.
They could even start the series with a massive breakout from one or more of the super villain prisons that S.H.I.E.L.D. operates around the world.
Ironically, it's the third 'human detectives in a world with superhumans' show idea to come along just in the time since Michael Bendis' Powers show was put on hold, though the other two have also failed to materialize.
I think it's a niche that could use filling. I really love stories about the way normal people would have to operate in a world where superheroes are real. There have been a few good comic books, and fiction anthologies covering this topic, but television has never been able to quite do it right before. Whedon seems like a good person to give the responsibility to, after his great success with The Avengers helm - and his general good sense about producing genre television.
Despite being a DC Fanboy at heart, I'm looking forward to this show a lot more than The CW's Arrow, which is looking more and more like a terrible idea.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently in development, and if it stays on track, we might see a pilot in Fall of 2013.