Many millions of Americans saw The Avengers last summer, making it one of the biggest domestic box office hits in history and inspiring Marvel to spin off as much as possible from it… including last night's new series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There was no way that the TV show would draw as many eyeballs as The Avengers did, even airing for free on your local ABC network, but all the same, the latest Marvel effort probably made the parent company proud. According to the early numbers at Deadline, 11.9 million people watched S.H.I.E.L.D. live, earning the show a 4.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic, the highest for a show premiere since 2009, Then again, the show with that prestigious rating 4 years ago was V, which only managed to limp to a second season before getting canceled.

Still, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a mighty force behind it in Marvel, and is the studio's flagship effort in extending the Marvel Universe beyond the giant tentpole movies, which will likely inspire them to hang on to it even if the ratings were bad. Luckily, the interest seems to be there, and if more people who enjoyed The Avengers or Iron Man 3 are willing to show up, they can have an even bigger fan base to draw on. In last night's premiere, which Eric reviewed from Comic-Con, S.H.I.E.L.D. worked to set up the parameters of this story about the non-superpowered people in this world of superheores. It also hinted at a lingering question left over from The Avengers, which may have bugged you too-- how is Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson on this show when he's supposed to be dead? Turns out, the answer is complicated, and not even something Coulson himself knows about. So there's one more mystery to hopefully keep viewers going throughout the rest of the series.

You can click hereto watch the pilot episode if you missed it, and below you can see a promo trailer for the second episode, in which we're told we'll see an unlikely team learning to come together. Can you think of another recent blockbuster in which an unlikely group of heroes had to learn to work together for a greater purpose? Nah, me neither.

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