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Year after year, millions of moviegoers around the world stand in line to check out the newest installment in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Admit it, even if you’re not one of those folks who’s there at the midnight showings on opening day, you still look forward to finding out what’s going on with Cap and Tony Stark (at least on DVD). If you’re like most of us and you’re increasingly irritated with the long wait between super-powered adventures, and the DC Universe doesn’t quite scratch that itch (and why would it?), then you might find a little something to love in Marvel’s Agent’s of SHIELD, a fun spy series that takes a human approach to the larger Marvel Universe.

1. Phil Coulson’s Second Life

If you’re not familiar with ABC’s ode to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then here’s a quick rundown: The series follows Phil Coulson (who definitely didn’t die in The Avengers — surprise!) as he reassembles the covert government organization: the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division. Backed by his motley team of exemplary people, Coulson operates in the shadows of a world that’s dominated by Iron Man, Thor, and all those other guys.

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2. There’s a Tie-In With the Larger MCU

Thanks to the series’ very famous older brother, SHIELD is always influenced by whatever is going on in the larger Universe. Sometimes the connection is subtle, as in season four when SHIELD turned to a paranormal guest star, Ghost Rider, just in time to coincide with the premier of Dr. Strange. In previous seasons, the link has been far more pronounced. For example, when Nick Fury shows up with a fleet of air ships at the end of Age of Ultron, SHIELD had spent several episodes setting up the preparation and release of those ships. It’s a neat bit of fan service that flows very naturally throughout the series.

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