‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Ratings Continue To Drop

Published 1 year ago by

Agents of SHIELD Ratings Dropping Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Continue To Drop

Agent Phil Coulson’s vintage Corvette may be soaring ever upward, but the ratings for ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are continuing a slow decline. After debuting with some of the highest ratings in recent history for the network, the show managed to pull in 7.1 million viewers during Episode 5, “Girl in the Flower Dress” – with a 2.6 rating among the key 18-49 demographic, down from the previous week’s 2.8.

Those numbers are still a far cry from trouble on their own, but as Marvel’s first venture onto network television continues to slip in both viewers and demographics, the trend could become problematic. Fast.

To reiterate: being able to pull in 7.1 million viewers without a lead-in on a Tuesday night is nothing to scoff at (and clearly, enough to warrant a full-season order). But while the 34% drop in viewers from the series premiere to its second episode was somewhat expected, the fact that AoS can’t seem to hold steady in its fifth week is a sign that it may be charting troubled waters.

A rocky start is to be expected (even if Disney’s marketing and promotion for the show was hoping to smooth things over), but by this point in the season, most procedural dramas tend to have hit their pace both in structure and audience. And while we would argue that Episode 5 seemed to cement the formula AoS will be following, the show continues to bleed viewers in demographics they need to retain.

One of the luxuries afforded the studio by bringing their shared movie universe to TV (with a fan-favorite character leading the charge) was the existing fan base: a healthy viewership who would give the show more time than most out of a simple desire to see how the S.H.I.E.L.D. fiction would be expanded (and which comic book characters might appear). That assumption may or may not be accurate, but if loyalty is helping boost ratings, that enthusiasm seems to be waning.

agents of shield episode 3 asset coulson Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Continue To Drop

So although the downward trend may not be drastic enough to panic ABC execs, it is also certainly not the kind of foundation Marvel was hoping to launch 4 new TV shows on top of. Details on those projects haven’t been released, but if AoS‘s ratings don’t bounce back soon, those plans might need to change.

Of course, lapsed viewers might be brought back into the mix if the show’s writers decide to counter fan criticism by letting the cat out of the bag concerning Coulson’s resurrection, or simply addressing our most nagging issues with the series. Even if that’s the case, it will still take time for viewer feedback to be implemented. Where the ratings sit at that point remains to be seen.

What do you make of the slipping ratings? Does this come as no surprise, or do you think a rebound is coming soon? Sound off in the comments.


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

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: EW

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. Here come the Marvel fanatics crying outrage. Can’t accept this could be a flop.

    • Came to say just that. The amount of delusional fanaticism in the other SHIELD thread was a bit much. I don’t think its so much Marvel fanatics alone, or Whedon fanatics alone. It’s probably the ones that are both Marvel and Whedon fanatics that just can’t admit the show failed to deliver. I was very disappointed and uninterested in the Pilot, figured it was just a pilot and would get better. It didn’t, and my interest was never grabbed by either the plots or the characters. The fact that the TV SHIELD appears to be completely different than the cinematic version is also off putting.

    • I’m a Marvel fanatic, but im not stupid. This show is not very good. I wont go into to much detail but here are some of the basics…

      EVERYONE has better technology than Shield..Really? Shield that can hack Tony Stark’s best systems.. The bitchy for no reason lead female gets really old fast. The nobody loves me and i don’t fit in female. The super awesome ninja guy who has done it all and is the best agent now, except he is like 22.

      The bumbling misfit science experts who constantly whine about or are afraid of everything..Oh and now Coulson is aging and can barley handle himself will be the next thing they try to play off.

      The show really isnt good, i have been forcing myself to watch it to this point. I will probably watch one more then im done.

      • Oh one more thing.. How many time per episode do they have to mention Coulson almost being dead or dying?

        • I believe Clark Greggs’ contract says it must be mentioned at least twice per episode and 36 times is the maximum.

      • John, This is pretty much what turns me off about the show. Couldn’t have said it better. It’s just plain bad. I have also watched it hoping for it to get better. I quit after the 3rd episode.

      • +1 John, couldn’t of said it better myself.

        My idea of how great Shield were which had been set up over the course of several movies has been completely shattered by this inept show.

        The elite secret organisation in charge of protecting earth turn out to be a group of pretty generic, stereotypical 20 year old kids, including one little girl who likes to do some blogging and hacking from her van.

        THIS is who Shield entrust to do the leg work of The Avengers,,, F**k OFF

        • +9000 to everyone who replied to this. I have been saying this for so long. Fan or not, this show is just plain bad. And I agree. The “SHIELD” agents/group/organization that we witness in this show totally, TOTALLY undermines what has been set up in the cinematic universe. This show could’ve actually been so good, but unlike others have mentioned it is instead CSI SHIELD with much less seriousness and terrible slapstick humor.

          Additionally, a lot of people have been blowing such criticism off by saying that “it’s a kids show or it’s geared at children” which is somehow supposed to excuse its terrible quality. And on that note, I very much disagree with such an answer. I and plenty others have watched top-notch “kids shows” that could quite honestly run circles around the terribly awful Agents of SHIELD (Avatar, Legend of Korra, Justice League, Teen Titans, Danny Phantom…just to name a few).

          In the future, I hope Marvel gets better writers and constructs better characters because if this is what we should expect from future Marvel-related TV projects, count me out. Granted, I made a dumb promise to myself and promised to watch AoS to at least episode 10, but after that, I am washing my hands of the show.

          • *like

    • who cares if someone wants to accept it as a flop. the fact of the matter is that people who like the show don’t have to quit liking the show if other people stop liking the show. i don’t care if it’s considered a flop, i can still like it. YOU get over it.

    • Not really. I’m a massive fan of Marvel and if anything I feel it’s made me more disappointed then anyone else. I feel like I’m only watching the show at this point in the hope that it’ll get better but if it is cancelled it’s not like AOS wasn’t given a chance.

      The difference between this and Firefly is that Firefly was a good show.

  2. …of course i still have them in my dvr….

  3. Wasn’t really feeling it, myself. Hopefully they’ll gain a bit more traction moving forward though.

  4. in other news…arrow is doing GREAAAAAAT…and flash nor arsenal hasnt entered the season yet

    • Yep, 4 episodes of AoS and 2 episodes of Arrow so far and my god, Arrow is knocking it out of the park while AoS is still struggling to pick up the bat.

  5. The problem is AOS isn’t showing the SHIELD people want to see. Watch the New Captain America trailer, THAT’S SHIELD. AOS doesn’t look half as slick or cool as the SHIELD portrayed in the movies.

    • That’s a movie, this is a show.

      • @Tay what’s the excuse for that? Various shows give great quality story lines if not better then cinematic ones. Examples Bates Motel, Hannibal, The Walking Dead etc. Sure AOS has made miss steps but they should really listen do their fans feedback and address it. Give the fans the benefit of the doubt that story wise and character development will improve.

      • Exactly! This should have never been a thing.

    • Good call

    • Yeah… they’re portraying SHIELD as Boy Scouts, not the completely B.A., seedy, intriguing shadow organization it was meant to be, it’s way too PG and needs a darker tone, but I guess it would be pointless to completely retool it now. It could’ve been a good show. Joss Whedon’s style of directing only works for The Avengers. It relies way too much on humor and bad action sequences to hide poorly plotted storylines and uninteresting characters. I have never seen any other works by Joss Whedon excluding the Avengers and AoS, so I am not blinded by fan loyalty. I tried to like it, but I don’t, and I am not going to miss it. Maybe after Marvel realizes that people want the Winter Soldier SHIELD and not the crappy, lame, inexperienced and annoying SHIELD, they’ll drop the overrated Whedon Bros and roll with a darker version, if, for some strange reason, renewed. They should kill off or disband the current team beginning of Season 2.

    • SHIELD ain’t AoS. AoS portrays a small cell of agents, as the title suggests. Why don’t people understand that?

  6. This show is picking up, they have nothing to worry about for now.

    • In what sense is it actually picking up?? The show is just bad comedy. If any character were to bite the bullet, who would actually care? Take any other major show, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, 24, etc. By the fifth episode, I am pretty sure you may have been attached to at least one of the characters.

      In my humble opinion, they should have a ‘red wedding’ and start off with a new cast.

      • @FilmFairy

        Completely agree.

        Anyone who says this show is picking up must have not seen a TV show before because AoS is picking up as much as an armless man at this point.

        • What did you think of the Gravition episode? I thought that and the pilot were pretty good. It all just needs to get more marvel-centric asap. The first thing I’d do is get dum dum dugan in there as another man out of time somehow. Then let’s battlestar this thing and make two of the central cast secret skrulls. Let’s have Darkhawk join the show and say that the amulet that gives him his powers is skrull technology. Give the part to someone aged 10-13, maybe the kid from iron man 3. That’d be fun.

          I don’t hate this show.. I’m sure it will improve. But everything is so vanilla. Disney bought the marvel library of characters… so where are they?

      • It’s picking up in every sense. People bitched and moan that there was too much comedy in it. From the last three episodes alone, the comedy has pretty decreasing, although with a little still there. Starting with the Graviton episode, the missions have gotten better. Graviton has a solid introduction, the way they handled eye spy was great, and last episode was my favorite so far. My only complains is Skye.

      • It’s picking up in every sense. People bitched and moan that there was too much comedy in it. From the last three episodes alone, the comedy has pretty decreased, and took a bit more of a serious tone, especially with the last two episodes. Starting with the Graviton episode, the missions have gotten better. Graviton has a solid introduction, the way they handled eye spy was great, and last episode was my favorite so far. My only complains is Skye.

      • It’s picking up in every sense. People complained about the amount of comedy since the beginning, and it has decreased significantly within the past three episodes. The missions are getting better. Graviton had a solid introduction, Eye Spy was great, and the last episode so far was my favorite. The only complaint I have is Skye.

        • You done?

  7. show is just boring and not engaging,and none of the characters are likable. its to Disney (if that makes sense) for me to take it serious as a spy/cop/comic book show or whatever its trying to be. they should just redo alias and change the names to shield character’s might then be at least somewhat tolerable.

    • I agree on the likeability issue. Our ‘in’ to the world is the girl, who’s just not interesting as a character nor charismatic as an actress.

      The rest of the crew are all lines without personalities behind them. The science guys really fail and nothing sits right anywhere.

      I really, I mean *really* loved E01 but have in turns been bored and bemused since then.

      I’m hoping for a cull of characters soon so we can get some interesting people in.

      It’s shaping up to be the worse thing Joss has touched otherwise.

      • Remember Buffy’s debut. Not quite glorious either. But then it got better and better until we were given masterpieces like “The Body.” People are too prone to instant rejection these days.

  8. AoS simply isn’t very compelling. Arrow on the other hand is very compelling. I watch AoS and hope that it gets better. There may actually be too much Coulson. Yes, I said it. The movies just had him sprinkled here and there, but AoS he’s front and center. Just my 2¢.

    • Arrow started poorly too. I concur about Coulson. Never cared for the character: too bland and, well, normal. I’m curious to know the mystery of his resurrection but apart from that…

  9. Anybody else think that this show might be a big victim of piracy as the majority of their target is going to be heavy online video viewers that don’t particularly care about tuning in at a specific time to watch a show?

    • I honestly don’t think that’s what’s going on. It just fails to engage, it’s too silly and “kiddie.” Which, is apparently what they are going for, but it’s not the audience that was anticipating the show. The major audience would have been fans of the films, and the way SHIELD was portrayed in the MCU. This version of SHEILD doesn’t feel like the same entity at all.

  10. There are roughy 21 AOS related articles on here in the last 30 days…almost 1 a day…all with a negative bent.

    Maybe Screenrant should become AOSrant? LOL

    • It’ll all be Thor and Hunger Games related soon enough. It’s the new TV season and the Marvel show is big business on a website that covers a lot of comic book movie news.

    • Yes and they’ve all been negative articles because the fact is, the show sucks.

      • I think 1 to 5 negative articles is enough. After that its just whining. There must be like 300 shows on TV they are not commenting on. So why this one over and over and over and over and over and over?

        • +1. Give the show a break or you doom it from the start.

  11. Not surprised at All that the ratings are dropping. Like I said before shield would have been better as a movie franchise than a TV show.

  12. My issue is the show is unsure of itself. The ratings are going to keep dropping if they tout the family friendly environment and then have a villain cook a person alive. Make a choice and follow it. If you’re going to be edgy with your violence and story, then stick to that and you’ll gain that audience. But if you want a family friendly show, be ready to drop some key demographic viewers but gain entire families. But do not “Terra Nova” this and say, “it’s a family friendly show where a dinosaur will eat you alive.” Straddling that line never works out.

  13. I like it, enough to never miss it, and dvr when I’m running late. Don’t understand what the problem is with some people. I think it’s the instant gratification thing. People don’t want to wait for a story, even a well told story, to unfold. They want the equivalent of drink-appetizer-entree-dessert-coffee on the table all at once, sort of like the writing style of American Horror Story. The stupid thing is that if they decide to cancel it based upon the early ratings, by the time it actually comes to the end of the episodes, people will have been hooked, only by then it will be too late. Kind of what happened with Firefly (only without the moving the show around). MASH, Married With Children, Cheers, are just 3 of the shows which had low ratings the first, and even second year. Yet they went on to run for many years and become huge cash cows for the networks.

    • I have to disagree. I have sat through many of TV shows entire runs: Nip/Tuck, Sopranos, Deadwood, Breaking Bad, Oz, The Shield and probably a few others and I love the weekly wait and anticipation. There is just one difference, AoS just isn’t good to most people.

      Obviously, opinions are different among everyone. But don’t make excuses because you like something and most people don’t.

      I love John Carter, but most people don’t. I can live with that. Boo-Yah!!!

      • Exactly.

        Usually, a show has me hooked by episode 1 or 2 and has already shown brilliance in the acting, story, whatever.

        AoS is just fluff. It’s the TV equivalent of watching paint dry. It’s almost like they decided that the movies are doing so well that they need a flop and rather than risk it happening at the box office, they’ll flop on TV instead.

        I prefer TV shows to have engaging characters, interesting plot threads and exciting sequences.

        I’d take Tywin Lannister spending an hour on the privy rather than continue torturing myself by watching AoS.

        I saw episode 4 last Sunday night and the whole episode went by without so much as a reaction from me. It almost felt like I’d never seen it because so little happened.

    • It happened with Dollhouse too. Buffy got lucky because the first two seasons weren’t exactly top notch either, yet it worked. Whedon needs more involvement in his shows. He rarely does more than writing/directing the first and last episodes in each season.

  14. Show is building quite well,SO00n to be revealed Coulson brought back by maj,Grant an LMD,Sky is Winter Soldier’s kid.

    • If Grant is an LMD, the I feel less guilty about asking for someone to rip his head off and toss it into that electronic fence.

    • Building quite well to what? Actually having something happening?

      The last time I felt this bored and indifferent during a TV show was 5 episodes into season 1 of American Horror Story but I forced myself through it to see how it ended and regretted the time I wasted doing so.

  15. I missed this weeks show and didn’t really care. The show kind of sucks. They need to make it more sci fi with cool weapons and a main villain like Hydra or Aim.

    If they had tesseract weapons then they could fight a super villain and it would be interesting , and worth watching without having to resort to having a super hero come on the show and save it.

    And they need to hurry and tell what happen to Coulson if they wait to long no one will even care what happen.

  16. No surprise here. The Whedon/Avengers style of storytelling works fine in blockbuster movies, where you can cover up the weak writing with expensive CGI and top-notch production values. Unfortunately for Marvel, they can’t afford to spend $100 million on every episode of their TV show in order to make it watchable.

  17. I personally do not like the show so far. The tone is confusing, like it tries to be RDJ style humor from Iron Man but without the talent to deliver it. Coulson is great in small doses, but to carry a show is too much to ask of him and the ancillary characters are either dull, poorly acted or both. Thats not to say it can’t turn things around or pick up, but if Marvel does have something up their sleeve it better happen quick…

    • Agreed, Coulson is definitely not a show leader. They should stick to making him what Giles was to Buffy.

  18. Disney’s focus is on the wrong demo with AOS. They already jacked Avengers EMH for the kiddie Avengers Assemble. Add to that all the other kiddie Marvel shows on TV right now. So they thought that why not do the same thing with a live action show. The thing is, AOS is a weak show. The fix? Implement a season long arc with a nemesis. The freak of the week is boring, especially when the Cinematic Universe has stories and arcs that will lead to an Avengers team-up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still watching it, in hopes it gets better, but up to this point AOS isn’t must-see-tv.

    • Buffy and Dollhouse also started without a season-long nemesis and they ended up becoming great shows.

  19. Every time I think of what I would want this show to be so it would hold my interest, I just think of the first season of Heroes… That is the tone and arc that would work, focusing on some different people week to week b ut having an overarching story arc to tie it all together. Sprinkle in some cool super powers, some time travel, an alternate universe and bam, you got yourself a show. Too bad they already did all that…

  20. It actually adjusted up to a 2.7 so it only lost .1

  21. Coulson’s “death” is the carrot they (ABC/Whedons) want to keep dangling in our face to keep us interested.

    Now, I’ve watched every episode. I will say it had gotten better every week up to episode four. Episode five was more a lateral move – didn’t really advance much but it didn’t slide back down either. The whole show just feels like it is spinning its wheels. Gee, Sky doesn’t know her parents. Well, she’s a twenty-something living in a van. I kinda guessed that already. Records of her parents – redacted by SHIELD? Okay, we kind of got something here but at the pace this show is going, it’ll be next season before we find out anything. And NO, that doesn’t mean I am optimistic or wanting a next season. Because if this is as good as it gets, then I am ready to turn it off.

    The problem is (like others have stated) is Marvel fans are used to the pace of a Movie – 1st act, 2nd act, 3rd act, button scene. We’re used to the story getting somewhere in or around 120 minutes. AOS has had (42×5=)210 minutes to tell a story or two. Marvel/Whedon/ABC, **SOMEONE** didn’t arc out the season too well. They stretched the pace out too much.

    Ultimately, Extremis will be the arc for this season – is my prediction. Which after the “effort” of Iron Man 3, probably isn’t a good idea.

    • “The whole show just feels like it is spinning its wheels.”

      That’s exactly what people disliked about Dollhouse and why they dropped it much too soon. Yet in retrospect, the story-of-the-week format of the early episodes helped defining the Dollhouse’s purpose and inner workings before Alpha came throwing sand in the gears. I hope people won’t be as stupid regarding AoS as they were for that show. It being part of the MCU might help sustain it better.

  22. I want to love this show so much but it’s just so incredibly boring. And it seems really pointless, like I can’t imagine any of this will really affect the future movies.

    They need to kill off those annoying scientists and Agent Ward, they’re just not interesting characters. Plus they should have gotten smaller characters from past movies for guest spots at least like Gen Ross, Samuel Sterns, Justin Hammer, etc.

  23. I told everyone this was a stillborn turd.

    The ratings prove it.

  24. We’re only 4 episodes in but as I said yesterday, the show is so dull and boring with nothing going on whatsoever. The only interesting characters are Fitz, Simmons and Coulson, the rest are one-note.

    The only reason I’m watching right now is to find out how Coulson is back after Loki stabbed him but if tomorrow’s episode (“Girl In The Flower Dress”) is as boring as the previous 4 episodes then I’m going to take it off my Sky+ planner and just wait until this godawful show ends before reading up on how Coulson managed to return from the dead.

  25. The best example on why this show is soooooooooo dumb is that a super secret agency, brings on an untrustworthy hacker and gives her access to god knows what, but instead of using the truth serum on her to find out her real motive is, uses it elsewhere just to be funny, and than Coulson is disappointed/saddened when she turns out to be untrustworthy. Just too dumb, gave it 5 chances which is 5 more than I should gave it. If only I can get those 5 hours back! :( For the people who defend this crap, what exactly is so good and original about this show? With that truth serum, why the heck are they wasting time interrogating anyone… just inject them!! Do they think that our memories are that short term that we forgot??

    • Wow, so that’s what happened in episode 5?

      I’ll grudgingly watch just because. It’s a good thing the first Friday night show I watch on Saturday mornings is AoS so then I can delete it from the planner and then watch Orphan Black immediately after and be satisfied that at least I got to see one thrilling mystery drama in that 2 hour block.

    • Maybe you missed the part, in your wasted 5 hours, that left the existence of a truth serum in doubt.

      Time paid attention is not time wasted.

      • @comment – I was just about to post the something similar. :)

        @filmfairy – They no have truth serum…it was ploy to get her to talk…they good spies in that regard.

  26. I think it’s a decent show, I just usually end up changing it half way through to watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Then eventually watch the remaining half on Hulu the next day.

  27. Besides all the stuff you guys are saying about this show, which I agree with for the most part…for me its also the poor lighting work done on this show.

    To me it just doesn’t have the right feel to it, a little hard to explain, but its very annoying.

  28. Just when I was getting excited for the character Scorch, he is turned into a generic bad guy and then promptly killed off.

    I hope this is not the trend.

  29. It was only natural that the show would have a great rating in the first 2 episodes because of the expectations of the fans. You really thought you would see the Hulk, or Iron Man making an appearance. Of course not, that’s why the show won’t make it as a TV series.

    Instead Marvel should have made a 3 or four episodes with a good budget telling the story on how important Shield is in protecting the world and using those stories to connect the movies. That would have been wiser. It is failing because your expectations as fans are higher. Arrow is successful because it isn’t trying to sell the opportunity of the character making it into the big screen. They know their strengths and weaknesses.

    • “You really thought you would see the Hulk, or Iron Man making an appearance.” No, you did not. They said, prior to broadcasting the pilot, that there’d be big names but they’d drop in later, so as not to detract from the main cast.