Ask someone to describe Marvel's Netflix shows (which are still just Daredevil and Jessica Jones at this point), and you'll probably get a response addressing the upswing in dark and adult themes or the awesome fight choreography or the deeply interconnected nature. Ask the same thing about ABC's Marvel output, and you'll likely get a less exuberant reply. But could we get to the point where the broadcast network puts together a mini-Marvel universe that compares to its streaming counterpart? Here's what ABC president Channing Dungey says.
How strange is it that in the scheme of things, this is a fairly informative answer. Even though barely anything was actually confirmed there, beyond at least one conversation, Marvel is the kind of company that will sometimes not even address the fact that anyone is talking about anything. Maybe Dungey's network side allowed that tiny admission out, which confirms that the success of the streaming series is having ripple effects elsewhere.
Channing Dungey was speaking at the TCA press event (via IGN) when he was asked about ABC aiming to build a more unified selection of Marvel programming. The first show that went into development was Agent Carter, a fun caper that certainly tied into the MCU at large, but it didn't share enough direct ties with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to sustain a combined audience. On the flip side, by announcing a four-series order that would connect through a team-up miniseries, Netflix and Marvel basically guaranteed audience crossover.
Oddly enough, ABC could have had exactly that with the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff Marvel's Most Wanted, which would have seen Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter on the run while also trying to uncover a conspiracy. It would be a starkly different concept, to be sure, but would still contain characters from the flagship series in a timeline that could allow for the two shows to cross paths and people. (Hard to do that with a show set decades in the past.) But the network passed on that, with Dungey saying it wasn't a strong enough concept for them to run with.
I don't think we'll ever get to a point when ABC is allowed to show off some of the more violent situations that Daredevil and Jessica Jones put out there, and one would spend hours cackling at the horrifying ways in which a Punisher series would be castrated by DIsney execs. Even Kilgrave's mind control is probably a little too heavy for primetime audiences at large.
Here's hoping ABC and Marvel can get to the bottom of what will make the next great comic book TV show, and that they hurry the hell up with it. After all, we only have Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, Daredevil Season 3, Jessica Jones Season 2 and The Punisher to look forward to from Netflix over the next couple of years. I mean, that's barely anything, guys.
Thankfully, there's no worrying about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being hot garbage or anything, as the show is taking the action and drama to extremes in Season 4 by completely changing up the paths of its biggest characters. Not to mention bringing Ghost Rider into it. Season 4 will premiere on ABC on Tuesday, September 20, at 10 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is airing later this year, check out our fall TV schedule.