Despite being the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first foray into the world of television, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never quite been a ratings smash. The show was initially criticized for prioritizing the 'secret agent' aspect of the show over the Marvel influence but this was eventually remedied with the introduction of Inhuman characters and episodes that connected to the wider MCU. The currently-running fourth season has breathed further life into the show with the addition of Ghost Rider - and although this development has largely gone down well with fans and critics, the ratings haven't changed much as a result.
With this is mind, ABC's announcement of an Inhumans project seemed to cast doubt over whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would last beyond its current run. ABC's president, Channing Dungey, recently spoke very optimistically about the chances of the show being renewed but the question remained as to whether A.O.S. can co-exist with the forthcoming Inhumans, given that the eponymous race is so integral to its own narrative.
Dungey has now moved to ease those fears and following up from her previous comments about a fifth season, she informed THR that she has every faith Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans can co-exist. Asked whether fans should be concerned about the show's future, the ABC boss replied:
“[Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.] was the first out of the gate for us and with Marvel and we all have been learning a lot over the four years of that show. What we’re doing with IMAX is very different and I think it’s going to feel and look very different from what they’re doing on Netflix. Hopefully there’s a world for me where those shows exist side-by-side on our air and are two different pieces of music that exist together in the same landscape.”
These comments, combined with Dungey's positive attitude over a potential Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season five, are sure to ease many of the fears some fans have been having both over the show's future and whether ABC would be comfortable running it alongside Inhumans. It should be noted, however, that none of the comments represent official confirmation on the future of A.O.S. but given that Dungey is head honcho over at ABC, her quotes are certainly encouraging.
Of course, even if the two shows do run alongside each other, ABC will need to be careful that neither project steps on the toes of the other in terms of story arcs, characters and content and this means Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will likely be dialing down its Inhuman presence. Whilst the show's fourth season is currently embarking on its Life Model Decoy plot, an Inhuman story-thread is still lingering after Agent Simmons was seen examining a terragenesis cocoon in a recent episode - although it's possible this may somehow lead into Inhumans, rather than be resolved in A.O.S.
Despite the prospective pitfalls of running both shows simultaneously however, the idea of two Marvel properties on network television is certainly exciting for fans of the M.C.U. and live-action superhero media in general. Despite its flaws, ABC have more or less done a respectable job with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the adaptation of characters such as Ghost Rider and if they can carry that form - whilst baring in mind all the lessons learned - into the production of Inhumans, the future of both shows could be very rosy indeed.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with 'The Patriot' January 17th on ABC.