‘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. The shows crap ive wasted 2 hours i cant get back I’m thru wasting my eyes on that turdfest I’ll be watching Arrow A real CMB show

  2. No surprise. Show’s total crap.

    Uninteresting teenie-bopper characters who work in the shadows of the world’s mightiest superheroes to save the world? Yeah, right. Gimmie a break.

    Coulson is the only interesting thing about this show, and I’m not sure he’s enough to warrant its existence. Unless the stories and characters are a whole lot more compelling, there ain’t enough spectacle on the small screen to sell it. Folks go to Marvel movies for spectacle AND characterizations. If they ain’t gettin’ either one on the small screen, this thing dies.

    The end.

  3. This show is “Amazing Stories” all over again.

  4. the show isn’t great yet, but I can see potential. the second episode was better than the first, but I think the biggest problem is the time slot, ncis, and the voice are more familiar and stronger draws in my opinion.

  5. You know what they say about critics?

  6. Maybe we all should take a step back and look at the show from a different perspective.

    All to often we compare television to film and that of the comic book universe.

    After watching the first two episodes I agree with most of the comments posted. However, I took a step back and decided to ignore all that I know of the comic universe.

    Once you do that and look at the show with an open mind. Your in for a treat!

  7. Lots of pro/con valid arguments here. Fortunately I make my own decisions on what to watch. I am no fan-boy of DC or Marvel, if a show is good I’ll watch it. Episode 3 will be the turning point for me, if it’s meh, I’m done. If it lasts a whole season I’ll pick up the DVD and run through it, only if it gets decent buzz. My two cents.

    • the rule of 3? I do the same thing :)

  8. As forward as I was looking forward to this show it has yet to WOW me like Sleepy Hollow has. The bickering during the last episode and them concentrating so much on Skye was kinda annoying. It’s not a bad show by any means but it needs the time to grow and come into its own. Hopefully it will.

  9. I don’t know if anyone mentioned this or not but they put Agents of SHIELD directly against NCIS, one of TVs most popular shows and guess which show had it’s season opener this week? I’ve been watching NCIS since the start and was not going to miss the opener so I was one of the many who didn’t watch SHIELD.

    They did replay the show’s debut last Thursday which is where the show SHOULD be playing from now on.

    • Crappy time slot.. one of the things that helped doom Firefly, and Dollhouse.

      Sigh. :/

  10. I actually really like the show and hope it gets the opportunity to grow… I had no expectations going in or expect it to have the same wow factor as The Avengers. After all, it is a TV series…

  11. The major problem with this show, besides the sub-par acting and lack of likability for some major characters, is the lack of diversity. I find this especially troublesome considering this was one of the major issues addressed by the fans with the movies as well. If they replaced the main protagonist “agent” in the show that isn’t Coulson with a black actor, I would be much more inclined to watch the show.

    • Why exactly would a Mediocre Black Actor improve things in any way ? Other than being a Knee-Jerk Racist move ?
      Me, I’m sure it would be much better with a Peruvian Lead ,but thought maybe I should leave that part out.

      • I vote Deathlok.

        Or a character that will become Deathlok.

        Deathlok is a SHIELD Agent.
        Deathlok is a cyborg
        Deathlok is a soldier
        Deathlok is African American, there have been multiple versions I’ll also except Latin.

        Lets leave the convoluted time travel out.

  12. I like the first two episodes but the story has lack of intense. Chuck is more interesting agent story

  13. I have an idea, “KILL COULSON AGAIN” I think it will be interesting to the whole world

  14. The show’s pretty dang good! They lost viewers because a ton of people were simply curious to check it out and likely know little more about Marvel than the few superhero films they’ve seen. The show has no major issues other than nitpicky critics who expect way too much from a TV show.

  15. SHIELD needs to take some of the lessons JJ Abrams learned from making Alias – there needs to be an overarching main plot that drives everything. For Alias, it was 2 seasons of the SD6/CIA double agent plot, and though it lost it’s way at the end of season 3, no one can deny the staying power that Alias had for those first two seasons.

    SHIELD needs to find an anchor. Whether it’s about Coulson’s near-death experience or something else, something needs to be the central focus. I suppose [SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!] they could be trying for the whole Skye is an infiltrator but also might be conflicted angle, but she doesn’t strike me as having the acting chops to pull this off.

    All that being said, it’s two episodes. There have been really bad shows that have lasted longer than that. I think we tend to over-analyze things like this because I think most die-hards want it to be successful to justify their own view of the genre, while haters will hate regardless. The key is getting people like my parents to tune in, people that are moderately interested in the Marvel films.

    • Just watched episode 2 on Hulu, and this program is awful. I could not get pass the first 20 minutes before switching off, way too much bickering for my taste. The show needs to either focus on stopping a subversive group with the Zodiac as the main antagonist, or the absurd and add Ka-Zar to the team roster and battle Neanderthals in the Savage lands.

      Having a conspiracy website (Rising Tide) as the main antagonist is lame as Frak, and posing Skye and her laptop, as a threat to world peace is laughable. Get some super natural villian (use Sleepy Hollow as a blue print) to compensate for a lack of superheros.

  16. Typo – villain

  17. Typo – past

  18. I found both first two episodes very dull. No character development and I have no idea what the overall plot is supposed to be.

    So what happened to the super-guy from episode one?

  19. Shield is young into 3rd episode and with a lot of potential to be the top rated t.v series on Tuesday nights and then some so ideas would be ase follows when shield goes after a villain they need to call upon a superhero for help that would be the one for that situation that would make the ratings go threw the roof what do you think to superheros ironman,hulk,captain America,just to name. Few

    • More like Black Widow and Hawkeye.. who are actually S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents.

  20. All I have to say is what pea brain picked the time slot? Come on they really thought their show could stack up to NCIS! Plus it’s not really that good of a show. Also to me Clark Gregg is a pretty corny actor and to all who say wait it will get better. Well it has to improve cause it wasn’t much to begin with.

  21. Just watched the third episode of this show. It has been a total snoozefest. The writing is just dull, the acting isn’t very good. It attempts to add depth to shallow characters with these dull asides in which we are treated to horrible dialog between two characters that just makes me want to fall asleep in my chair. I’ve watched three episodes now and I couldn’t tell you one thing about any of them. I don’t even know any of their names! Why? Because I don’t care about the characters at all, and there is nothing keeping me entertained here. I’m going to give it one more shot, and if episode 4 is still like this, I’m out.

  22. I really don’t know how people say this is good, or has potential. This was a FAILURE of a first 3 episodes of a season. Marvel was a comic book to children in the 70s. There was no CGI or 3D effects to make teens and everyone interested… so they used their imagination to create superheroes as being awesome then ever. Now in this decade. We have a bunch of Jappy sounding teenage actors… who are a bit better then daytime soap. in a show where the writing is so bad its literally a spit in Stan Lee’s face. 1/10. SERIOUSLY


  24. It was good episode 4 is talking about centipede a villain so know it’s getting interesting its getting better every week

  25. heres the thing, I like other people expected this show to be peppered with referenced and cameos of D Listers and below that will never make it to the big screen, yet for some ungodly reason the show wont touch em.

    Because of this, the show isnt appealing to me, when you promote by calling it MARVEL Agents of SHIELD, the comic book reader in me is going to expect, if not Dum Dum Hogan, Maria Hill, at least some random no names in SHIELD Jumpsuits, dealing with people like Batrock the Leaper or even Rage, who most people thought was the Centepede guy back in the previews.

  26. I really want to love this show, but it’s so cheesy. Such a disappointment.