TV news lately has been a bloodbath thanks to major networks cancelling a whole bunch of series, and viewers have had to start worrying about their favorite shows that may not be breaking records in ratings or viewership. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has seemed on the verge of cancellation for years now, and there was no guarantee that it would score another season from ABC. Well, ABC now has some very good news for fans: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has officially been renewed for Season 6, although Season 6 will have a big difference from all the seasons that came before.
Season 6 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will run for 13 episodes. The first five seasons scored an order of 22 episodes each. Still, the reduced episode count doesn't mean fans should despair. The last two seasons of S.H.I.E.L.D. have broken their seasons up into arcs (or "pods") rather than spinning one story for a full season. 13 episodes is plenty of time for a full arc or perhaps even two smaller ones. There's no reason why S.H.I.E.L.D. can't tell a fantastic and full season with 13 episodes. Of course, given that S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be building to at least one huge death in this week's Season 5 finale, we can't say which of the characters will be back for Season 6.
At this point, we should probably just be happy that S.H.I.E.L.D. will be coming back at all. In Live+Same day calculations, S.H.I.E.L.D. is averaging a disappointing 0.6 rating in the key 18-49 age demographic and 2.12 million viewers, which is a drop from the 0.7 rating and 2.34 million viewers in the previous TV season. The move from Tuesdays to Fridays did mean that a drop in numbers was all but inevitable, although the cancellations of Once Upon a Time and (more recently) Inhumans could have indicated ABC wanted to move in a new direction for Fridays.
That said, TV By The Numbers reports that delayed viewing sees the Season 5 averages rise to a 1.2 in the 18-49 demo and 3.77 million viewers. While those still aren't great numbers, they were evidently enough for ABC to order another batch of episodes. A big question now is if the reduced episode count is a sign that Season 6 will be S.H.I.E.L.D.'s last.
ABC reportedly wanted to cancel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last year and Disney stepped in to save the series; perhaps the same situation unfolded this year. Then again, Marvel is breaking all kinds of records nowadays thanks to Avengers: Infinity War, so it may be in the network's best interest to keep its last remaining Marvel show on the air.
We'll have to wait and see how S.H.I.E.L.D. features more ties to the larger MCU in Season 6. The reduced episode count may mean that we're waiting longer than usual for new episodes, however. ABC could give S.H.I.E.L.D. the same deal it gave Agent Carter during its two seasons on the air and hold it for a winter premiere. Only time will tell. Be sure to tune in to ABC on Friday, May 18 at 9 p.m. ET to catch the Season 5 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We may not need to expect a cliffhanger in the finale, as the writers were preparing for a possible cancellation while putting the episode together.
Be sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV renewals and cancellations. Our rundown of network TV shows can help you stay on top of developments, and our list of big network shows that recently got cancelled is worth a look at well. Don't forget to swing by our list of TV season finale dates as well.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).