Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has officially outlasted all of the other Marvel TV shows that debuted during its run. The ABC series, created by Joss and Jed Whedon, is set to air its seventh and last season in 2020. Despite being on the network's chopping block year after year, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. found a way to keep fans interested.
When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. first debuted in 2013, it followed Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) after his surprise survival following his presumed death in The Avengers. Coulson then put together a team to handle specific cases related to "enhanced" individuals. The series followed along the MCU timeline while exploring other areas that the movies never delved into. With the prominence of Daisy Johnson, aka Quake (Chloe Bennet), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D had the chance to focus on the presence of Inhumans. Along with Hydra, time travel, and deadly alien species, the ABC gave viewers a wider glimpse into Marvel comics.
Since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ABC premiere in 2013, ten other MCU related series had made their debuts, but not one of those titles has lasted as long as Marvel first foray into making TV shows for the MCU. Technically, Marvel's Runaways was the only title that had a chance to outlive Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Hulu announced that its upcoming third season will serve as the last. Runaways will join Daredevil and Jessica Jones as the only other series that reached three seasons. Agent Carter, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and Cloak & Dagger only got two seasons, while Inhumans and The Defenders never made it beyond the first season. In fact, all of the successors will conclude before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. even airs its final season in 2020.
Why Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Lasted So Long
ABC has seen a steady decline in viewership numbers as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned year after year. When season 4 aired in 2016 and 2017, it was heavily speculated that the series would get cancelled. Thanks to its loyal following and social media presence ABC decided to renew Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for season 5, but the network moved it to the Friday night timeslot, where TV shows are often sent to die. Despite this, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kept holding on. It may have helped that the series initially debuted and continued airing during important tie-in moments with MCU movies. This gave Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. an advantage to gain a loyal following before viewers started to get overwhelmed with MCU content.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will have the chance to hold on to the crown for a while, since any new series would have to outlast its seven-year lifespan. Of course, Disney+ has plans to enhance its TV segment when it comes to the MCU. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set to air in 2020 and WandaVision, Loki, and Hawkeye are expected for 2021. There will also be live-action shows based on Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk. In addition, Hulu is developing Helstrom for 2020. All of these titles will attract viewers, but it would be a difficult feat for any of them to reach upwards of seven seasons, and it wouldn't be surprising if most (if not all) take a limited series approach. If that's the case, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could hold the title for the longest TV series in the MCU for a very long time.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022