Just a week after greenlighting a thirteen-episode first season for the monster-of-the-week series, Deadline is reporting that ABC has temporarily shelved Weird Desk out of concerns that it may be too similar to Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D., the comic book adaptation being developed for the network by Joss Whedon.
It sounds as though Marvel became concerned about similarities between Whedon's plans for S.H.I.E.L.D. and rumors about the content of Weird Desk, a summer series that had been compared to The X-Files. Marvel's concern became Disney's concern, which led to corporate pressure on ABC to reconsider the show.
The move makes sense; movies based on Marvel properties have been basically a license to print money for a while now, and Marvel Studios has been aggressively pursuing opportunities in television, none of which have worked out up until now. With Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. finally getting ready to shoot a pilot, anything that stands to draw attention away from it seems like a poor strategy for ABC, which is owned by Disney (as is Marvel).
There will, of course, be some speculation as to what this means for S.H.I.E.L.D., given that a show with similar sensibilities but a different approach likely would have been a welcome companion piece. Rather, Weird Desk is being delayed, with its final fate to be determined after pilot season is over, and that seems to suggest that the similarities may really have been too close for comfort.
If that's the case, it might be interesting to know exactly what Weird Desk is supposed to be about, right? Well, your wish is our command. The official summary, as reported by Deadline:
Based on the alleged real-life mysteries from this world and beyond, it centers on the workings of a clandestine organization rumored to be named “Weird Desk.” Working above the levels of top secret and above the office of the President, the unit is the destination for mysterious intelligence rerouted from the CIA and NSA. Tasked with investigating and solving occurrences of the paranormal, supernatural and sometimes extra-terrestrial, “Weird Desk” is led by Morgan, an obstinate, socially inept and brilliant man who would now be dead if it weren’t for his special forces trained partner, Rosetta.