Marvel Television has enjoyed a lot of success on Netflix. An original 65-episode order for one season each of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders turned into multi-season orders for all except The Defenders (so far) and a spinoff series in The Punisher. That success has not carried over to ABC where multiple series have been launched, but only Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. remains. That will be the case for the balance of this television season and, at best, the next.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the original Marvel Television production of the modern era. The series is now enjoying its fifth season after debuting in September 2015. The back half of each season has been met with questions as to whether or not the show would continue and that is once again the case this year. While speaking at a TCA executive session this week, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey gave an update on the status of the show.
“Creatively, this season I honestly think is the strongest that it’s ever been, and we’ve been really excited about what the producers are talking about for the second half of the season.”
Despite being happy with the creative on the show, Dungey did not promise a renewal for a sixth season. She will be waiting to hear the pitch for next season from producers and seeing how this current season continues to perform before making a decision. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has already produced enough episodes to net ABC a coveted syndication deal, so now the series has to at least maintain its current ratings and, ideally, improve them.
The only other Marvel show on ABC this season was Inhumans. The series suffered from poor ratings and even worse reviews. Everyone expects the series to be cancelled, but according to Dungey, that decision has not been made yet.
“It didn’t perform for us at the level that we would have wanted. We haven’t made any official decisions yet but I will say the numbers were less exciting for us as we hoped they would be.”
That really just sounds like a nice way of pretending Inhumans is getting much more serious renewal consideration than it actually is. The show was laughed at by fans before it even debuted after trailers that left much to be desired and its eventual debut did nothing to turn the conversation around. Inhumans will not return on ABC.
ABC is still developing Marvel projects, but nothing is ready to move forward. Dungey gave an update on developmental series that doesn’t bode well for next fall.
“We developed a couple things this season that we don’t think are going to end up going forward, so we’re going to look really carefully about what we do next.”
Whatever projects Marvel and ABC were working on, they must have gone the way of Marvel’s Most Wanted and whatever Marvel series John Ridley has been trying to get off the ground since 2015. There just doesn’t appear to be very much Marvel in the cards for ABC in the foreseeable future. There won’t be any at all if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t get renewed.
The good news is that Marvel Television continues to find success outside of ABC. In addition to a slew of renewals on Netflix, Marvel also got second season orders for Runaways on Hulu and The Gifted on Fox. Marvel’s Legion has a second season coming on FX as well. Expanding their productions beyond their initial home network has certainly paid off and will keep Marvel going even if they are no longer getting much of a look from ABC.