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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may not be the mega-hit the network hoped it would be, but it carries more than enough name recognition and actual audiences to merit a full season on the air. Deadline reports that ABC has picked up the series for a full season, guaranteeing 22 episodes about the adventures of Agent Coulson and his ragtag team in charge of keeping the superhero world in order.

After a long summer of heavy promotion and rallying the troops at Comic-Con, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered in September with massive ratings-- more than 20 million people wound up watching the pilot episode after factoring in DVRs and online viewing. The second episode teetered a bit in the ratings, but we noticed that the cast seemed to be settling into a recognizable team dynamic, which was a promising sign of what it could become with a little more time on the air. It also helps, of course, that the show can always bring in big-gun cameos from members of the not-so-distant cinematic universe:

With Lucky 7 already canceled ABC has all the motivation in the world to bank on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as their big new drama, and the full season pickup wasn't exactly a surprise. What will be more interesting, though, is to see where the show goes from here, and how heavily they rely on connections to the greater Marvel universe to drum up interest. I would bet pretty much anyone $10 that, closer to the release of Thor: The Dark World, Chris Hemsworth or Natalie Portman-- or at the very least Tom Hiddleston, who seems to carry his costume everywhere-- will be harangued into a guest appearance. And somewhere at Marvel Studios, there is a very large board and some very frustrated interns trying to keep track of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. timeline and how it relates to the Marvel cinematic universe. It all has the potential to get very complicated, but also very multi-platform and very profitable, which was really the whole goal to begin with.

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