Is The Marvel-ous Era at ABC Facing Its End?

Coulson, Phil CoulsonLooking at the ABC schedule that was announced this week, new president Channing Dungey is letting the network keep its Marvel comic books. It may be possible it will eventually be told to grow up. 

While CBS decided to let Supergirl  fly to the CW,  ABC decided to move Agents of SHIELD to Tuesday at 10 PM after a two-hour comedy block. It decided not to give former SHIELD agents Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter their own show called Most Wanted, and to cancel Agent Carter after two low-rated seasons. Thus, we’ll never know if she married Daniel Souza, where Dottie Underwood went, and if Agent Thompson survived getting shot (and maybe if Peggy’s dead brother isn’t really dead, since some fans suspect that, too). We also won’t see Peggy open SHIELD for business.

ABC will keep The Catch, about a female P.I. and the con man she almost married, which isn’t a major ratings hit but gets a million more viewers than SHIELD. It’s also making a show about what happened after Romeo and Juliet died.

This may suggest that  if Agents of SHIELD does not have a major ratings boost next fall, season four will be its last.  ABC’s Tuesday ratings don’t compare to how CBS does with its NCIS shows or NBC’s The Voice. According to the Futon Critic, SHIELD has lost more than 30 percent of its viewers compared to last year. 

Here’s the numbers from TV Series Finale:
The season opener got a 1.72 (18-49 bracket) which was still 13 percent lower than the second-season opener. It SHIELD Bye Hunter and Morsedropped to a 1.35 by December. When the season resumed in March, it opened at a 1.14, and has not gotten close to that number since. For all of April and May, the show has stayed below a 1.0,and only reached a 1.0 for the finale. Agent Carter’s numbers stayed in the 0.7 neighborhood for most of its season.

Maybe the Inhuman presence may have played a role in the dip in ratings, but the season has had some interesting episodes, especially the Gemma-centric episode about her weeks in Maveth. That was followed by HIVE/Ward turning Daisy against the crew just after her first attempt to show how the Secret Warriors can help everyone. The biggest excitement was when Fitz and Simmons finally got together. Despite those plot twists, the show has been bested by NCIS: New Orleans and The Voice.

So will moving the show to 10 PM help the show’s fortunes in the long run? This is how TV Line describes Tuesday nights:  

TV Grid
“Some Unlucky Show” represents how ABC had a lot of problems getting success at that time slot, and maybe SHIELD could be a placeholder. It started at 8 PM, then 9 PM in season two. It could be tricky for SHIELD to keep the audience the two-hour comedy block will attract. Not only that, it will still compete with NCIS:  New Orleans on CBS and Chicago Fire on NBC.

Although SHIELD has not been the ratings bonanza ABC had hoped to be when it began after the first Avengers movie, it’s had a good run, If next year is the end,  it could include the return of Morse and Hunter after they were forced to leave SHIELD, maybe a two-part story that would lead to their return by March.

Another idea is a descendant from Agent Carter could join the crew…and that person is related to Dottie Underwood somehow. That would be a nice swerve, and how that happened would make a great story. Maybe we’ll also find out who Peggy married (and it better be Souza).

It’s also interesting that Chloe Bennet, who plays Daisy, claims Marvel doesn’t care about Agents of SHIELD as much as it should. The movies have an impact on the TV show, but we’re still waiting to see Melinda May, or even Hunter and Morse drop by for a cameo.  At least Fitz and Simmons did appear on its animated series,  Ultimate Spider-Man. Marvel should maintain a presence on ABC with Agents of SHIELD, or even suggest Agent Carter appear in two-hour movies. It sure helps promote their movies, especially with Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 in the new few months.

Some fans hope, though, maybe Peggy can find a new home at Netflix. There have been dozens of internet petitions on that. Hayley Atwell has a new legal drama on ABC called Conviction, and ABC has said Atwell could still have time to do a few Agent Carter episodes as well.  It depends on how many fans make themselves heard.

Maybe Netflix could also be the home for the proposed Most Wanted series that was supposed to feature Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki. Imagine them interacting with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Nick Cage. There would be more interest in that than seeing the Capulets and Montagues still feuding because they blame each other for Romeo and Juliet’s deaths.

Officially, Dungey says Marvel fans shouldn’t worry too much about SHIELD moving to 10 PM or Marvel’s future on ABC. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she says Marvel and ABC were in the middle of extensive talks about “a handful of projects in development”.

Still, it looks like the major networks think comic books are for kids, and it’s time to grow up. Some fans are concerned that may include ABC a year from now.

 

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Post Author: David Mello

Worked nearly eleven years at a radio station as a board operator, news reader, and assistant producer for baseball broadcasts. Have been a staff writer for Whedonopolis since July 2008