ABC has confirmed the fate of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the wake of The Avengers' success, Marvel expanded their reach onto the small screen by reviving the heroic Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Since the series debuted in 2013, it has transformed time and time again. After Captain America: The Winter Soldier took away the heart of the show, it found new success exploring the lives of fugitives trying to protect the planet. They've since dabbled with Inhumans, a few alien races, Ghost Rider, and in its current season time-travel and space.
While the quality of S.H.I.E.L.D. arguably only improved over time, the ratings have not done it any favors. The series routinely pulls in low live-viewers and has constantly been given a new air date and time by ABC. But despite the maneuvering, S.H.I.E.L.D. has its passionate fanbase that gives it high DVR numbers on a weekly basis. Unfortunately for a broadcast show, that means people aren't seeing the ads that are helping keep the show around. The series was saved at the last second by Disney for a fifth season, leaving the future very much up in the air.
Thankfully, none of that matters as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. officially got renewed for a sixth season today by ABC, according to TVLine. With the season five finale still yet to air, what exactly the next season will be about remains to be seen. But, the good news is that there will be more episodes of the show at all. But, there will only be 13 episodes, instead of the usual 22.
News of the renewal doesn't come with as much info as everyone would like, but it instantly makes the upcoming season 5 finale easier to take for fans. The shortened season brings yet another change to S.H.I.E.L.D. but one they should have no trouble handling. During the last two seasons, the show has divided itself up into "pods" or mini-seasons, allowing the writers to tell quicker stories instead of stretching something out for a full season. This abbreviated season should allow for them to do two pods.
Even though the show is now officially renewed, there is no word yet on if this is the end for S.H.I.E.L.D. or not. It also isn't clear when the show will begin airing or who will be part of the cast. The trailer for the season five finale promises someone is going to die, so the show could be without a major cast member or two next year. If it returns this fall then the wait to see the next chapters won't be long, but ABC could elect to hold the shortened season for a early 2019 premiere instead. There are still plenty of details that still need to come out for season 6, but fans can breathe easier knowing the agents will live to fight another day.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 concludes Friday, May 18 with 'The End' at 9pm on ABC.