I don’t think anyone was expecting “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” to get picked up for a sixth season, especially after “Infinity War”.
Spoilers for the latest Marvel movie, by the way. I’ll keep things light on the “S.H.I.E.L.D.” spoilers if only because, in all honesty, I’m not quite caught up with season five myself.
Somebody at ABC must be a big fan of Clark Gregg. Either that, or the Whedon brothers have some dirt on a network executive.
An Unexpected Renewal
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” feels like the Marvel show that just won’t die, having outlived arguably (far) superior shows like “Agent Carter”, and somehow going from an incredibly weak start, to grow into the best of the current offerings of superhero television.
Or, at least, the best Marvel show. I’m not interested in doing the whole Marvel vs DC thing here today.
In spite of its generally solid storytelling and engaging characters, the show is one of ABC’s worst-performing primetime offerings. Audiences really don’t seem to care, and similarly unpopular shows like “Once Upon a Time” aren’t granted the continued freedom that “S.H.I.E.L.D.” gets.
So, preparing for the season five finale, most people, myself included, figured that this would be it for Agent Coulson and his team. Five seasons is a good run, and the story seems to have reached the biggest, boldest possible scenario, so it makes sense to end on a high note.
Plus, then there is “Infinity War”. If half the population of the universe suddenly disappear, it’s logical that half the regular cast of the show will go too. That’s just not something that gets done on television – you can’t fire half your actors on an arbitrary story beat.
Or, at least, that’s what I thought. Yet, in spite of that, it’s now been announced that “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” season six will happen, and it’ll be set post-Thanos’ magic finger snap.
Fittingly, approximately half of the season has literally disappeared – we’ll be getting just 13 episodes instead of over twenty. I kind of like this, even if it does likely show that plenty of people at ABC want this thing gone.
The Infinity Fallout
I suspect that “Agents” is more valuable from a marketing perspective than it is as an actual TV show. The series keeps ABC’s name floating around, and it’s a good show to advertise the kind of content that the network produces.
This is big name, Hollywood fare that connects directly to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even if the show isn’t bringing in phenomenal ratings, it’s nice to have on the docket from a branding perspective.
This all leaves us in a fascinating situation, where the show’s cast will have to be instantly halved. Unless, of course, the showrunners find a way to teleport everyone back to the future in order to avoid the destruction.
That would be fun.
It’d also save the other big issue that “Agents” is going to run into. The show can’t give us too much of a glimpse into what will happen in “Avengers 4”. We don’t know whether that movie will take place immediately after “Infinity War”, or if time will have passed in-universe. “Agents” can’t progress beyond the movie timeline, as it’d give us spoilers.
Whatever happens, this is going to make “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” an unmissable show next year.
The point where the series initially became watchable came when the plot had to tie into the events of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”.
S.H.I.E.L.D. literally blows up in that movie. The show had to very quickly adjust to this brand new paradigm as its entire premise caught fire, and somehow, what came out of it was far more exciting and entertaining than anything we had before.
I’m confident that the same can happen again with season six. Necessity is the mother of invention, and I’m interested to see how the show deals with the fallout from Thanos’ visit to Earth.
I’d really like to see the show go whole hog and kill off either Fitz or Simmons, either Mac or YoYo, either Phil or May. Something tells me I shouldn’t hold my breath for this, but it’d be really bold for a TV show, and I’d love to see how this is handled.
Whatever happens, I’m on board. Excuse me while I binge-watch the rest of season five.