As Marvel Studios heads towards its MCU-culminating Avengers: Infinity War on the big screen next year, Marvel’s flagship small-screen effort will also be sticking around. Indeed, ABC has announced that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been renewed for Season 5 despite the show’s recent struggle in the ratings. The show has dropped each season ratings-wise, but was hitting some lows in Season 4 as it hovered around 2-2.5 million viewers. At the same time, those that had stuck with the series have praised the show’s creative upswing, with this most recent season following the Gotham route and breaking its story into three distinct chapters: Ghost Rider, LMD, and Agents of Hydra. This allowed the series to move away from a traditional “Big Bad” arc and focus on more contained stories that didn’t necessitate a lot of wheel-spinning.
And while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. only averaged 2.4 million weekly viewers and a 0.7 demo rating this season, it has enjoyed a 129% boost on DVR playback and still ranks solidly amongst some other ABC dramas.
The series was created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen as Marvel’s first major foray into TV in the MCU era. Joss helped get the series off the ground, but Jed and Maurissa have been the show’s day-to-day showrunners ever since that debut season. And while Marvel Movies and Marvel TV have now been somewhat split from a corporate level, Marvel TV—under the tutelage of Jeph Loeb—has been expanding its slate considerably over the last couple of years.
After Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they attempted a prequel series Agent Carter on ABC that only lasted two seasons. But Marvel TV found greater success on Netflix with an interconnected, self-contained series of shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage that are all leading up to The Defenders. Marvel TV has also been teaming up with 20th Century Fox on the ambitious X-Men series Legion on FX as well as the upcoming, more traditional Fox X-Men series The Gifted, which just got picked up to series. And then this fall, ABC has its high-profile debut of the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff series Inhumans, which will first premiere in IMAX theaters.
In short, the superhero TV show business is a-boomin’, and ABC has ensured that the foundational series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be sticking around for at least one more year.