If I haven’t made it abundantly clear by now, I love the shit out of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I love the kick-ass women and the badass nerds. I even love Grant Ward, who made a fantastic, wholly original and ever-evolving villain for a long time. Sure, the show was often hamstrung by its close-but-not-TOO-close relationship with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — it’s been a good long while since Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury dropped in for a chat, for example — but over the years, the series was able to flesh out its own little corner of the MCU and start having fun.
The fourth season, especially, is where the series seemed to come into its own. The season was split into smaller arcs, but they introduced Life Model Decoys and fucking Ghost Rider — and told compelling stories with them! So it was somewhat surprising to read this offhand tidbit at the bottom of a Variety article about the struggles at ABC:
“Inhumans” has not been the only source of friction between ABC and Marvel. Earlier this year, the mandate came down from Disney for ABC to renew its other Marvel drama, “Agents of SHIELD,” despite the desire by some at the network to end the series after four seasons.
The fact that the show is shifting to Fridays this season was already a good indication that Agents was no real priority for the Alphabet Network. And frankly, as a fan, I’ve always waited each season with my fingers crossed, checking the trades and hoping to find that the series had been renewed once again. But it’s another thing to hear that Disney, which owns both ABC and Marvel, is very clearly prioritizing one over the other — against the wishes of a network that probably knows what it’s doing (the American Idol reboot notwithstanding).
Now, I could understand if ABC decided to hold onto their little toehold in the MCU as long as they could afford it. But considering how distant the show is from the rest of the MCU — seemingly because that’s how the Marvel honchos want it — it’s interesting that Disney would step in and protect a show that neither ABC nor Marvel seems to really care about. It’s not even like it’s gonna bring in those big merchandising bucks, or awards, or whatever.
But you know what? I’ll say it. Thank you, Disney. Because if that shit got cancelled with Coulson stuck in goddamn space THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN OUTRAGE.* Instead we’ll get to see what space-S.H.I.E.L.D. is all about (pleasebeS.W.O.R.DpleasebeS.W.O.R.D), and apparently Lance Hunter is coming back this season, and I’m sure it’ll finally be the ratings juggernaut it always should have been and will singlehandedly transform the Friday night death-slot into Must See TV. A girl can dream.
*The outrage would have been mine, and would have been expressed in probably, like, a single ranty Facebook post. But that doesn’t diminish the actual emotional turmoil.