‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Ratings Drop 34% to 8.4 Million Viewers

Published 2 years ago by

SHIELD agent coulson Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Drop 34% to 8.4 Million Viewers

The bad news first: after Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made history with its premiere episode – pulling in nearly 12 million viewers total – the series’ second episode didn’t fair as well. With a total audience of 8.4 million viewers, the show dropped 34%, which is a significant loss for any network or program, even those not tied to movie universes.

As shocking as that decline in viewers may seem, it’s worth pointing out that TV shows almost always drop viewers after the premiere episode, and Disney’s heavy marketing of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. meant that there would likely be more fans tuning in for the premiere than would actually be hooked. Even so, this could be the start of a perilous trend for Joss Whedon’s latest project, meaning ABC, Disney and Marvel may need to realign their plans if they intend to make the show a long-term success.

The drop in ratings will undoubtedly lead many to proclaim that ‘DC rules’ and that this is evidence of just how ‘terrible’ the show is from top to bottom. Of course, using the amount of people who made the decision to tune in to an episode as a gauge for its quality is a dangerous science. Yet even if fans of Joss Whedon choose to overlook the show’s lukewarm start and embrace it wholeheartedly, we retain our stance that the show has some serious improvements to make.

agents shield tv show joss whedon Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Drop 34% to 8.4 Million Viewers

Although it’s hard to categorize a show with over 8 million viewers tuning in as a “failure,” neither Disney nor Marvel are in this for a modest success. One of the biggest questions about the proposed S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series was whether the same amount of fans who helped The Avengers cross the $1 billion mark would tune in, despite the show lacking the talents of Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor. And a 34% drop in ratings – even with a special appearance from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – won’t be calming those fears.

(Then again, people didn’t exactly know Sam Jackson would be showing up. Maybe next time the producers will put him in the previews.)

Compared to the premiere episode, the writing did succeed in showing a bit more of each character. However, the characters seem to be where the showrunners are placing the heaviest load, not necessarily the show’s connections to the larger Marvel universe. Since the show is the brainchild of Joss and Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen (the minds behind Dollhouse), that’s no surprise. But with slipping viewership, we’d predict that Samuel L. Jackson’s cameo is only the beginning of recognizable faces or names being dropped left and right.

samuel l jackson nick fury shield avengers Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Drop 34% to 8.4 Million Viewers

Does this ratings slip mean the future of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is suddenly in peril? Probably not. After all, the shockingly successful head of Marvel Kevin Feige was the one who convinced Joss Whedon to direct The Avengers, seeing talent where others saw a bad bet. After proving himself with The Avengers, Whedon accepted a position as the head of all things Marvel, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With all that in mind, it seems that not only is Whedon in the driver’s seat, but he has better odds than ever of getting enough time to grow the show in the direction he wishes.

Only time will tell if the show finds a massive fanbase, or a strongly vocal and devoted one (which is usually the case for Whedon’s camp). But if the show’s writers start placing more of an emphasis on larger issues, like exactly how Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is still alive, success will be easier to come by.

What do you make of this ratings drop? Is the show done for, merely stabilizing, or still a success by your estimation? Give us your thoughts in the comments.


Catch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. every Tuesday @8pm on ABC.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: EW

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. I like the show and seeing Nick Fury at the end was nice. I think they did lose a lot of viewers because of placing it against Ziva’s last episode of NCIS. I would like to see a little better character development. But I’m willing to give it a chance for a few more episodes

  2. Consider myself a Marvel fanboy, and tuned in to catch episode 2. Fell asleep halfway through (missing Jackson’s cameo). Not a good sign. This show is too much Disney and not enough Marvel.

    • Me too I missed the cameo because I turned the channel it’s getting boring

  3. I feel like, When I tune into marvel I would love to see some superheroes too and not just ranodom alien artifacts and stuff it gets really old quick.

  4. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that this came from the same guy who was in charge of Firefly. The characters are so cookie-cutter conventional! And the dialogue, which was another one of the big successes of Firefly, is rather lacking as well, especially in the second episode. The show shouldn’t have to rely on celebrity cameos to prop up the ratings…

    • Maybe that’s because he was actually in charge of Firefly while, aside from the Pilot, this one is more his brother and sister-in-law. They are the showrunners while Joss is pretty much an executive producer who doubles as one of those people you hear about in the writing room who may pen an episode here and there. People are assuming that because his name is attached that he is the driving creative force and they speak as if he is; it doesn’t help that every time you see an article it’s written to give that perception.

      Being “involved” in the shows “development” is not the same as running or being in control of it.

  5. So what exactly is this show trying to be? Warehouse 13 set in the MCU? If so that’s a pretty lame premise.

  6. It’s great how Screen Rant pours gas all over the MARVEL vs DC flame war, throws a match and then sits back and collects hit after hit on the site. Screen Rant is both the cause and the benefactor of the DC & MARVEL bashing on this site. It’s not hard to see how this site became the number one movie news site; basic war profiteering. Good job. I really think the majority of the posts on this site are from Screen Rant themselves just egging others on.

    If anybody wants an unbiased, non-provoking look at the SHIELD show and ratings, go to SUPERHEROHYPE.COM.

    • I think you hit the nailed it.

      What’s even the point of the sentence:
      “The drop in ratings will undoubtedly lead many to proclaim that ‘DC rules’ and that this is evidence of just how ‘terrible’ the show is from top to bottom.”
      if not to start a Forum war of DC vs Marvel.

      C’mon Screenrant. We expect better than this. DC didn’t have to be mentioned at all in this article.

    • Would not have it any other way. Who wants to read milktoast mousy opinions?

    • Feel free to leave any time.

      • +1

        • Wow thats a great way to build a website community. Good job guys! Anyone who who holds a different opinion from you should just leave! Am I right guys?!

          • No, just anyone who thinks the site he’s visiting is crap. If I don’t like a certain food I don’t eat it and don’t stuff it into me to complain about it. That’s insanity.

          • @FH
            Tim McCoy’s comment not only bashed this website, it asked the scranters to congregate at a different location. I think the Lost Winchester gave a valid option. If Tim’s opinion is that this website is biased and provoking a flame war between fans, then perhaps he should go somewhere where he fits in.

    • Only comic book fan boys play into that Marvel vs. DC idea. If people want to be accurate it is actual big media company Disney vs. big media company Time-Warner.

  7. My take on SHIELD: it is like having a show based around fighter pilots and watching the behind the scenes crew and support staff gabble on about nothing and never seeing a plane or a dogfight. This premise will wear thin and get old fast. This show has cancelled written all over it.

  8. little more super hero and super villian less art facts more marvel comic less disney world, come on you can do it get right so i can keep watching it,.

  9. Well, this is the best way to show that people who saw both The Avengers and IM3 are not real followers or fans of the Marvel Universe.

    Studios should not panic. Instead they should already have an average number of people who will see a film balancing the potential revenues with the money they will spend on marketing, salaries and stuff like that. If in the end there were more sales on tickets, then that extra money becomes a plus.

    Of course if studios get greedy they will want to take that plus as part of the revenue.

  10. the shield show so far is amounting really to nothing interesting, my 6 year was very engaged in the show and i almost fell asleep halfway through the show. a couple of us saw this coming so no surprise. thats why shield never had a long running comic book of its own, if heros or villians were not involved no one was interested in reading them, same with cartoons.

  11. I think the bean counters need to give the show time to catch its rhythm. That’s problem with TV today. Nothing is given a growth period. It’s ‘Take off like a rocket or you’re done!’.

    From Seinfeld, to Cheers, to All in the Family, that actors all say the same thing, ‘Our show would have tanked if it came out now.’. Cheer went on for 10 season (with Frasier going on for another 10 years) and Cheers was at the bottom of the ratings for their first 3 seasons.

    Impatience is cost us better programing IMO.

  12. It feels like it’s way too predictable and kind of a series made for kids. I mean I know they are trying to pull up some fun moments in the movie, but at the moment they all realise that 084 is some kind of hydra weapon and they all step back, it’s kind of WTF?! I mean if it’s gonna explode it’s gonna wipe the plane away. They should go more mature in this series! Else they are gonna lose even more viewers. But that’s just my opinion :)

    • *This*. I agree that it is way too childish. It’s like watching the fricken A-Team or GI-Joe where everybody is shooting an no one gets shot. I wanted to like this but its Too simplistic and cookie-cutter.

      “We can’t expose ourselves to the real super hero’s because agent Coleslaw is supposed to be dead.” Major lame sauce. It’s just an excuse to keep the costs down.

      And what was up with that stupid hole in the plane on the second episode? The air pressure drop would only have been for a few moments. The rubber raft to plug the hole was pure 50′s sci-fi TV stupidity. And if they were at a high altitude they would have all suffocated or suffered from hypothermia. Major science fail!

      The Tomorrow People is so much better. The plots so far have been so much deeper and mature.

  13. People are bashing this show even though it’s two episodes in…

    I thought the second episode was great. The easter eggs make it even better. I’d rather be teased about the MCU movies then have Tony, Thor, etc. showing up every few episodes. The shows CGI is impressive for a television show, enough to make it feel like I’m watching a MCU film. Feel like falling asleep isn’t a valid reason for a show to not be good either. Just saying though.

  14. I actually love the show.I think Whedon and co will Iron out the kinks given time.I just hope they eventually feature some heroes, at least in the background. Hell, how cool would it be to have an episode featuring the punisher or daredevil

  15. I actually liked the 1st episode a lot better than the 2nd. By the 2nd ep, I was expecting Firefly-like banter and dark humor. I think the lack of such dialogue and engagement is a result of a Disney-run Whedon project. Whedon was able to get away with so much more when he was calling most of the shots. Now his hands are obviously tied to the belly of the mouse. =/

  16. That’s because it kind of sucked…hard.

  17. Second episode was a major improvement from the first one. I think the ratings drop can be directly associated with the mistakes in the pilot. For instance, the opening scene by the toy shop looked way too staged and the scenery looked unfinished or like it was fresh off the backlot tour at Disney. Also, most of the actors haven’t settled into their roles yet and some of the acting in that episode was just terrible. If improvement continues with each episode, viewers might come back but it’s going to be an uphill battle because of that first impression being sub-par and especially when it’s up against some other new shows like the blacklist or sleepy hollow (which looked like an absolutely ridiculous and stupid premise that turned out to be an awesome show from the first episode). Plus there’s the DC hater squad that wants to see anything Marvel does fail for some reason and I think a lot of the less useful criticism is coming from that group than anywhere else. I’ll keep tuning in though but it needs some work if it expects to keep the general audience beyond the first 4 or 5 episodes.
    I loved the Samuel Jackson/Fury cameo. I wish Marvel would make a show about his origin and the Howling Commandos. That would be my s***. Maybe we’ll get a glimpse of that with the Agent Carter show if that happens.

    • Agree , but please not with disney !
      Anything tgat comes out from there will never be cool or awesome as its family friendly and waterwd down !
      Same we can expect from the new star wars show. Not mature and dumbed down for kids or what wver !

  18. The first step in making this a better show would be to wake up the guy who plays agent caulson(?). He seems to be heavily drugged.

    The second step would be to make it interesting to watch.
    Then get rid of the two scientific magpies with their constant chattering and lame attemps to be cutesy poo.

    Thats all I got.

    • Completely agree. Their geek is chic and the sinister undertone of them busting into a Glee song is unwatchable.

  19. Kill the campiness, the schtick, the cuteness,
    the Schwarzeneggerisms(one liners), the non-essential subplots
    …then I shall tune in.

  20. Heck Vaporware, all that stuff is the whole show right now !

  21. Skye needs to go. J. August needs to be regular.



  22. I guarantee that an inflatable raft does not plug a hole that size in fuselage.

    Mythbusters get on that.

    • Neither would it plug it the hole, nor would it be necessary. Once the explosive decompression has taken place, which takes a second or so, the pressure is equalized and no one gets sucked/blown out of the hole anymore. There would only be a bit of a strong wind. The real danger at that point is hypoxia due to the lack of oxygen at cruising altitude. Something they completely negelected to acknowledge on that episode.

      • So….they wouldn’t be enjoying a cocktail?

  23. Yeah the show has a chance if you’re pirating it here. Mug

    • LOL!

  24. The demo drop was thirty percent from a 4.7 to a 3.3 which is alarming.However if it stabilizes close to a 3 in the demo (and it doesn’t matter what its total viewers are. I say its a lock for renewal.In my opinion this episode was much better than the pilot.

  25. Show Needs to be more like Heroes & less like Gossip Girls/ One Tree Hill/ any other drama out there marketed to teen girls.

  26. Arrow is an engaging show also and Im by no means a DC fanboy…but WB seriously is better at Superhero TV shows…smallville, Arrow, Loise & clark etc. they understand what the fans desire.

    • Lois and Clark was broadcast on ABC. I’m not sure what WB’s involvement was with it. I’m sure they had some say in the production though.

      Your comparison is strange since Marvel only has had one live-action TV show since the late 70s….Blade. And now this. However, I loved Bill Bixby’s version of Bruce Banner on the Incredible Hulk TV show.

  27. Ok last thing Is I think if this was a superhero procedural show it should have been somewhere between Criminal Minds & CSI with the tone of Heroes….save the cheerleader, save the world.

    • Heroes was Tim Kring’s style…which worked for Heroes, but this show is Joss Whedon’s style. And so far, it seems like most of his other TV series (young actresses) combined with a whole lot of Firefly set pieces.

      They are flying and the new girl is given her own bunk…reminds me of the Serenity. They land and get into a scuffle with the locals and Captain Mal is the last one to escape back onto the ship….I mean Agent Coulson is the last on the plane.

      I’m still unsure about this, but I’ll give it another whirl.

  28. Aw man! Good thing I set my phone alarm for the next episode!

    Sorry for tuning in late, guys! I lost track of time, and only got to see half of the episode.

    I think people missing the show and not being used to it could be a factor.

  29. A month ago who would have thought Sleepy Hollow and Brooklyn Nine Nine would be a better shows than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.