S.H.I.E.L.D will almost certainly get a first season order. We could say that it’s obvious: Avengers is a big deal right now, and the pilot would have to be pretty terrible not to get at least one season of shows out of it.
Currently, however, only the pilot has been ordered, although we do have an unofficial confirmation from an ABC executive.
To be sure, ABC president Paul Lee recently told reporters: "[The show is] intense and epic and... funny and silly. [Joss Whedon has] just got that ability to be super-entertaining and sort of super educated. We'll certainly be investing in it. It's a big franchise for us."
To me, this sounds like he’s pretty confident that his network will be picking up the show long-term.
Second, we now know how S.H.I.E.L.D. will interact with the canon of the films. It should take place concurrently with the timeline presented in the films currently being produced. Meaning, the first season takes place immediately following the events of The Avengers.
"There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe," Lee said. "In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York."
This is a bit confusing considering that Agent Phil Coulson, who perished at the turning point of last year’s film, has been confirmed to be a character on the show, with Clark Gregg reprising the role.
I can only think that the pilot must have a prelude that begins just before the final battle, and that the character doesn’t last long into the show. If they’ve decided to resurrect the character somehow, I’ll be a bit disappointed. I expect better from Whedon.
Finally, we’ve got confirmation that the show will not be about super heroes. We already got a sense of that from the character list, which includes only normal human - though very skilled - agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Whedon confirmed it in an interview with MTV.
"You've got to bring a little bit of spectacle to it - it's gotta be bigger than your average cop show, but at the end of the day it's about the peripheral people. It's about the people on the edges of the grand adventures. There will be some people with [superpowers], there will be effects - the spectacle of science-fiction story telling - but all played on a very human/small level."
S.H.I.E.L.D., which will be directed and co-written by Joss Whedon, is currently in development. If it stays on track, we should see a pilot in Fall of 2013.