Marvel TV is having a milestone year – and we’re not even halfway through! 2015 kicked off with the Agent Carter spinoff series, which earned solid ratings and fan acclaim (if even the love wasn’t universal). When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally returned from hiatus in the new year, it did so bringing with it an introduction to Marvel’s Inhumans, which has gone over very well with fans. Finally, Marvel Netflix debuted to huge acclaim, thanks to Daredevil.
With Avengers: Age of Ultron getting more “good” than “great” reviews, and Ant-Man not yet earning its place as an MCU hit, Marvel TV could arguably become the real champion of the Phase Two initiative. It’s enough of a success, apparently, for ABC to renew its two Marvel shows for additional seasons.
Variety broke the news that both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter have been renewed for seasons 3 and 2, respectively. While Carter’s renewal is not all that surprising to hear, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a bit more surprising, for several reasons.
Both shows have plateaued at the 6 – 7 million viewers range (including DVRs, according to TV By The Numbers), but Carter arguably had less expectations on its shoulders. Despite its drawbacks, the spinoff was considered a success; it’s been less clear if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s numbers have been enough to overcome the negative stigma the show picked up in the first half of season 1.
Complicating the assessment of AoS’s chances at season 3 were the recent announcements that there would be yet another S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff show, this one focusing on Mockingbird and her ex-husband Hunter, who have become standout new additions to season 2. Then came more news that American Crime creator John Ridley is developing yet another show for Marvel and ABC; it seemed like the studio and network were interested in working on any Marvel project EXCEPT another season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Obviously that anxiety was unfounded, because as of writing this, it looks like ABC is investing in four Marvel TV shows to air in the next year or so. That’s four on ABC and four planned for Netflix; no one ever accused Marvel of thinking small. UPDATE: Only three network shows are in development with ABC; the Hunter/Mockingbird spinoff has been reportedly cancelled. As of now, the characters could return in season 3 of AoS.
WARNING – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 SPOILERS Follow!
As season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes to a close, superpowered beings (The Inhumans) have come from the shadows to be revealed, with Skye (aka “Daisy”) caught in the middle of both worlds. Skye’s mother Jiayang (Dichen Lachman) clearly has no trust of the outside world, since she murdered Robert Gonzalez (Edward James Olmos) in cold blood, framing him for inciting the war to come between humans and Inhumans.
The two-hour season finale will no doubt tie up several plot threads: where Skye chooses to place her allegiances; if S.H.I.E.L.D. can re-consolidate after being fractured into factions by HYDRA; and how the Inhumans are set on a path that will soon change the world of the MCU (when their movie hits theaters in 2019). With the exact arc of season 3 and the storylines of the new spinoffs in development all still in the air, we’re kind of hoping that between all of these Marvel/ABC shows, Skye’s Secret Warriors faction is still a possibility (a merging of SHIELD and Inhumans, essentially).
With Agent Carter, on the other hand, there’s no telling when/where season 2 will pick up, yet. The Season 1 finale saw Peggy stop the plot by Johann Fenhoff (aka Dr. Ivchenko) and his Black Widow agent, Dottie/Ida. However, Fenhoff’s prison cell brought him a nefarious ally: Arnim Zola. Meanwhile, Peggy and her friend Angie were set up by Jarvis in one of Howard Stark’s lavish homes, but Peggy was still being overlooked at work at the S.S.R., due to her gender. In other words, Agent Carter is a long way from the established history of the MCU that says she goes on to found S.H.I.E.L.D., which is subsequently infiltrated by Zola and HYDRA. So where will season 2 pick up?
Agent Carter could simply pick things up right after they left off, but there a fair number of fans who would argue that another season of ‘Peggy struggles in a man’s world’ would be somewhat redundant. Given that the character’s lifespan (and major milestones) have all been established in the MCU, the show could take more liberty with where/when season 2 takes place. After Ant-Man is in theaters, an AC appearance from, say, a younger Hank Pym wouldn’t be a bad thing.
ABC taking on so many Marvel projects is interesting. The “Netflix vs. Network” debate is already raging amongst fans, and unlike DC/WB, Marvel seems to be limiting their broadcast TV projects to Disney-owned ABC. On the DC side, if you don’t like Gotham you still have every chance at enjoying The Flash, and that variation between properties is something that makes the upcoming Supergirl TV show full of potential. If the tone of Marvel and ABC’s MCU corner hasn’t been your cup of tea, it’s hard to imagine these additional (or returning) shows are going to fine-tune the formula to your liking.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air its two-part season 2 finale, “S.O.S. pts. 1 & 2” on Tuesday, May 12th @8pm on ABC. The Untilted AoS spinoff is expected this fall; AKA Jessica Jones airs season 1 on Netflix this fall; Agent Carter will likely air early in 2016; Daredevil season 2 will air in 2016, and Luke Cage and Iron Fist are expected on Netflix that same year. We’ll keep you updated on the new show Marvel and ABC are developing, as well.
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