Superhero/comic book film adaptation are very much in fashion right now, while the genre may be on the verge of a renaissance on the small screen. Currently, ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the CW's Arrow are on the air, though right now there are no less than four comic intellectual properties that are being developed into TV shows that could begin their run as early as Fall/Winter 2014, including the DC comic-inspired series Gotham, the Arrow spinoff Flash, and the Constantine show based on DC's New 52 version of the Hellblazer IP.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to have hit its stride, now that it's begun to provide fans of Marvel's Cinematic Universe with a more intimate examination of the fallout due to what happened to the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That hasn't translated into better ratings yet, though it does appear to have renewed confidence in the series' future. Deadline is reporting that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. looks likely to receive a season 2 renewal, which may come in conjunction with a pickup for Marvel's Agent Carter series.
The latter project, inspired by the Marvel one-shot that features Hayley Atwell reprising as Captain America's Peggy Carter, has had a pilot script and a pair of respected show runners lined up for a few months now, with Atwell said to be "very interested" in playing the eponymous role yet again.
The same Deadline report indicates that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 will be split up between the fall and spring, with the Agent Carter series "serving as a bridge" between the different segments of S.H.I.E.L.D.. That seems like a reasonable possibility, given that the Carter spinoff is only being envisioned as thirteen episodes (or less) per season, according to Captain America franchise writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (who also penned the Agent Carter pilot script).
Furthermore, airing the two shows in that manner could offer an interesting juxtaposition between the early days of the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization from Agent Carter and the post-Winter Soldier storylines on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The shared universe aspect, if handled correctly, should also keep viewers invested in both shows, especially given the potential for overlapping elements (e.g. Agent Carter introducing plot material or revealing new dimensions to story points that come into play many years later during the events in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
Meanwhile, it's all good news on the DC front, as Deadline says that Constantine is "garnering early buzz" at NBC, Flash is "flying high" at the CW, and Gotham is "practically on the air" already with Fox. This does't come as a huge surprise, given the name creative talent working on Constantine (executive producer David S. Goyer) and Flash (Arrow show runner Greg Berlanti), as well as the ongoing casting for Gotham, signaling a confidence that the show will live on past the pilot stage. Plus, all three DC series have released official promo images, as the first step in a larger marketing strategy.
WB currently doesn't have a shared universe plan for its DC properties; whether that bodes well or poorly for their films is a separate issue, but that might be for the best with their TV series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got off to a rocky start, partly because it had to serve multiple corporate masters (ABC and Marvel), whose demands were sometimes at odds with each other. By comparison, the incoming class of DC shows may have an easier time finding their voice, without having quite so many textbooks to lug around at the beginning of their first semester.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues its season 1 run this week with "Providence" on Tuesday @ 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
We'll keep you updated on progress for the other TV shows discussed here.