The Agents of SHIELD Effect
With Inhumans is improving significantly, fans are hoping that the word will get out and that Inhumans will get the chance to continue to get better over a second series. It wouldn't be the first time that Marvel has managed an impressive turn around, either; just look at Agents of SHIELD.
While Agents of SHIELD is heading into its fifth season, and has had a great past couple of seasons, the early days of Agents of SHIELD were a little bit rocky. The first season was mind-numbingly slow to start (a problem exacerbated by repeated hiatuses), and fans complained that it felt like Agents of SHIELD was treading water. The reason for this was, of course, that they were right. Agents of SHIELD was waiting for the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which would reveal that Hydra had co-opted the agency. This was a central plot point for Agents of SHIELD, and once it was revealed in the film, things could really get going on the small screen. While Agents of SHIELD improved vastly (especially in terms of pacing) by the second season, it still took some time to get really good. However, by the time Ghostrider was introduced in season 4, Agents of SHIELD had definitely found its feet.
Of course, this doesn't mean that it wasn't difficult for Agents of SHIELD to overcome the negative response to the first season or two, but it does show that Marvel has experience with taking a mediocre start and turning it into something fantastic. A great start would obviously have been better, but should Inhumans continue, it could manage the same kind of turnaround that the earlier Agents of SHIELD did so well.
Is It Too Late?
Although Agents of SHIELD managed to turn things around, there are a few issues with redeeming Inhumans. A major difference between these two Marvel slow-starts is that Inhumans has significantly more competition than Agents of SHIELD did. Back in 2013, when Agents of SHIELD first aired, superhero TV series were a rarity, and the only real competition was Arrow (which started in 2012). In 2017, superhero TV is big business; the CW is home to an entire universe of shows (and is adding more each season), Gotham introduced the Batman mythology to the small screen, Marvel has an interconnected universe on Netflix, and even the X-Men have started to make their way onto television with Legion and The Gifted. More shows are on the way, as well, creating a situation where fans may be much less patient with a less-than-stellar show. Even if Inhumans becomes fantastic in a second season, this might not be enough to tempt viewers back when they have so many more options to watch.
Even the Marvel name doesn't have the draw it did five years ago. Hardcore fans are still willing to watch anything with the Marvel name attached, but more casual viewers may have given up on staying up to date on the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe since it has become so incredibly big. Should Inhumans cross over with the MCU, or start to directly impact it, that could draw fans back... but it doesn't look like that is on the cards.
Given that the best elements of Inhumans come from seeing the characters here on Earth, it's redemption will have to involve some big changes. Should the Royal Family return to Attilan, Inhumans will lose what it does best, but should they (or some of them, at least) choose to stay in Hawaii, that could be the best thing for it. A crossover with Agents of SHIELD would also potentially be a good move for Inhumans, especially as the two deal with the same basic mythology and are done in the same style. With two episodes left to go in season 1, Inhumans does have a chance to keep improving, and if it manages a fantastic finale and a solid season 2 opener, this may not be the end of the line for the Attilan Royals after all.