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In Movies & TV Commentary

Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders and Jennifer Grey appear at the world premiere of "The Avengers" at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood last year. (PHOTO:

"Avengers" world coming to small screen

Blockbusters are known for taking an audience on an adventure. Sometimes, those adventures open the doors to a greater possibility and an entertainment universe is born.

Walt Disney knew the power in telling stories with beloved characters. Now, company heads do their best to navigate multiple cable outlets, over-the-air broadcast, TV and film productions and theme parks.

When the entertainment firm bought Marvel, the comic book and entertainment outlet for close to $1 billion, some winced at the investment. When last year's "The Avengers" broke multiple box office records on the big screen, those doubters were quieted.

The film's director Joss Whedon is now working on a small screen effort, bringing that Marvel universe to ABC with a show being called, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." The title is unofficial at the moment, but according to a release Monday, the series will introduce larger audiences to a place filled with superheroes, aliens and things out of the ordinary.

Actor Clark Gregg will reprise his role from "The Avengers," "Thor" and the "Iron Man" movies as agent Phil Coulsen, who we last saw wounded in the film. Comic book geeks will be the first to point out that no one really dies in comic books. The same will hold true for this lead character that will lead a team of agents investigating and working on cases.

"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," the release said.

The release is mentioning this effort as Marvel's first live action TV series. They must be ignoring when the comic book company licensed out its characters for other shows. Most notable are when TV veteran Bill Bixby played "The Incredible Hulk" and a disaster failed pilot when David Hasslehoff of "Knight Rider" fame was set to play Nick Fury in a TV show. In this latest film effort, that role has been portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. And I'll forget about the time someone tried to do a "Captain America" TV show that got reduced to a pair of made-for-TV movies. I'm thinking Disney wants us to forget that, too.

ON THE AIR: Luella and the Sun, a Nashville-based band, is being featured this week on "World Café" that airs locally on WYMS-FM 88.9 Radio Milwaukee. Milwaukee's Melissa Mathes is the lead vocalist for the blues and soul group.

MOUSKETEER: The most popular Mouseketeer ever, Annette Funicello, died this week at the age of 70. Best known for her work with Disney, and her run of popular beach films, the actress succumbed to multiple sclerosis.

Most younger readers may not know Funicello compared to 1990s Mousketeer reboot alumni Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake, but if you bothered to watch early Disney Channel reruns in the 1980s, you may be familiar with her work. Because of the advancing onset of MS, she pared back her working schedule and hasn't been in the public eye since touring with Frankie Avalon in the late '80s and early '90s.


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