Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the first Marvel venture to hit the small screen back in 2012, and it put Marvel on the map on network TV. The show has had its ups and downs over the years, but it's settled into a pretty stellar groove in Season 4. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of people have been tuning in to watch this season. The ratings didn't get off to a great start with the Season 4 premiere, and they've only dropped in the months since. Going by the numbers alone, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be on its last legs at ABC.
That said, TV isn't always just a numbers game, and there are some big reasons why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could very well stick around for another season or two. Take a look at our breakdown of why we haven't given up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just yet.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Has Everything
Superhero shows are all the rage nowadays, and both Marvel and DC have a handful of series on the small screen. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is really the only one that has something for everyone, no matter what kind of superhero you prefer. If you like superpowers, we have Daisy and Elena and all the other Inhumans who have gone through terrigenesis. If you prefer action heroes who use skills rather than superpowers, we have May with her martial arts and Mack with his shotgun axe. If technology is more of your thing, Director Coulson has a robot arm. We even have a pair of genius scientists who use their brains to save the day, and S.H.I.E.L.D. will frequently mix and match the agents in ways that keep the show fresh and exciting.
It Can Completely Reinvent Itself
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gone through so many changes over the years that Season 4 is nearly unrecognizable from Season 1. The show not only survived having its own premise destroyed by the big screen events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier; it positively thrived when it was forced to mix up its format and push characters to their breaking points. S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't terrible when it was just the band of agents solving different mysteries every week, but the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the betrayal of Ward upped the ante magnificently. In the years since, the show has reinvented itself time and time again, and Season 4 alone has been split up into three distinct arcs. There aren't many shows that can incorporate a Spirit of Vengeance with a haunted car, a robot who gains awareness after reading a magic book, and a framework reality in a single season. S.H.I.E.L.D. is poised to pull it off in Season 4.
It's Directly Connected To The Movies
All of the Marvel shows over the past few years have existed within the Marvel Cinematic Universe that brought heroes like Iron Man and Captain America to the big screen. Still, no show has connected the MCU to TV the way that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has from the very beginning, and Marvel's empire will get a lot smaller if ABC cancels S.H.I.E.L.D. Yes, ABC has the Inhumans series in the works, but the show is set to cover the origin story of the Inhumans, and it presumably won't keep up with current events the way that S.H.I.E.L.D. does. If ABC cancels S.H.I.E.L.D., the MCU will lose its contemporary series on broadcast TV. In the grand scheme of things, it might be better for everybody involved if S.H.I.E.L.D. gets to keep on trucking along and tying to movie universe on a regular basis.
It's So Close To Syndication
Finally, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. simply hasn't hit the magic number for syndication just yet. The general rule for a network to make money by selling syndication rights is that a series needs at least 100 episodes. The 100 episode mark isn't set in stone, and S.H.I.E.L.D. will get close by the end of Season 4, but it won't hit a hundred unless a Season 5 is ordered. ABC has invested enough time and money in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to get it this far; why shouldn't the network greenlight another batch of episodes if it means the odds of syndication go up? ABC could spend a little more to potentially make an awful lot in the long run. Who knows? Maybe enough episodes to get to 100 will be enough to get people tuning in again. The end isn't nigh for S.H.I.E.L.D. just yet, so please join me in crossing my fingers and thinking happy syndicated thoughts about whatever happens next.