Did 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' get a new title?

shotJoss Whedon fans found something intriguing buried in ABC’s website for advertisers: A page touting its heavily buzzed pilot S.H.I.E.L.D. revealing a new title and a more detailed description (below).

The title: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A network representative tells EW that this title is not yet official. Keep in mind that titles often change during the development process (remember how Fox’s The Mindy Project was originally called It’s Messy?). At the very least, however, this title made it through enough layers of network approval to get previewed to Madison Avenue, and we hear this is what Marvel and the producers are currently calling the project as well.

Personally, I prefer S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s one of the simplest and strongest pilot titles in contention for fall. Sure it has six periods — us TV bloggers haven’t been so burdened since CBS unleashed $#*! My Dad Says. But as a title, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a clean M*A*S*H-like impact.

The issue could be the title’s similarity to FX’s former cop series The Shield. Perhaps all those periods aren’t enough to distinguish S.H.I.E.L.D. from The Shield, either from a legal or marketing perspective.

If this is the new title, I hope ABC considers ditching the Marvel shout-out. Last year, The Avengers was officially called Marvel’s The Avengers (most media outlets simply opted to call it The Avengers). In that case, too, there was the possibility for confusion with another TV show — the 1961 series The Avengers. But if ABC goes with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s no need for the intrusive studio branding of “Marvel,” too. You don’t see Sony’s Justified and Warner Bros.’ Big Bang Theory on the schedule. The play is the thing.

If greenlit to series — and we’re pretty confident M.A.O.S. will be greenlit — the official title will be unveiled in May when ABC presents its fall schedule to advertisers. Frankly, ABC can call this project The Joss Whedon Superhero Action Variety Hour and we’ll still watch.

Here’s the new description. This is also not “official” but…

Joss Whedon (MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) shows us not all heroes are super with MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fresh from his role in the summer’s box office smash, MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) returns to the worldwide law enforcement organization S.H.I.E.L.D. He puts together a small, highly trained, team of Agents to tackle the cases that haven’t been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown. That team consists of straight arrow Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), an expert in combat and espionage; pilot and martial artist Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen); and brilliant if socially awkward scientists Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). They’ll be joined by civilian new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).

Prepare for an epic adventure that showcases the hope and wonder of the human spirit. This is a world of Super Heroes, aliens and the unusual – of action, spectacle and world spanning stories. The show will speak to the human condition through the lens of our very human, non-powered S.H.I.E.L.D agents – that together we are greater than we are apart, and that we can make a difference in the world.

Executive Produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse, Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), Jeffrey Bell (Angel, Alias) and Jeph Loeb (Smallville, Lost, Heroes) comes Marvel’s first live-action TV series, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

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