Though ABC has yet to hit it out of the park with a Marvel TV show, it sounds as if the failure of Inhumans hasn't soured the network on superheroes. Comic book TV shows are as old as the medium of television and they're likely not going anywhere. Still, that hasn't stopped doomsayers from predicting their end just as people continue to do the same with their big screen counterparts. And certainly, the signs of fatigue exist if you look for them. Inhumans, for instance, was a high-profile bomb for Marvel, ABC, and IMAX, disrupting what could have been the beginning of a lucrative new television model. As such, ABC quietly cancelled Inhumans and a renewal for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems inevitable.
While a small group of fans are petitioning to bring back Inhumans, most comic readers, TV audiences, and Marvel die-hards don't seem bothered. The series was less a result of superhero fatigue than poor planning and execution and it hardly outweighs the plethora of critically-acclaimed comic book shows out right now. That said, it wouldn't be hard to imagine ABC becoming fed up with their lack of superhero success. Both Inhumans and Agent Carter didn't last long, though the latter had much more critical and fan appeal. And Marvel's Most Wanted never even took off. But despite that, ABC isn't done with the genre yet.
Bloomberg (via CBR) is the latest to wonder if superhero TV glut has set in, with a new piece dissecting the genre on the TV landscape. Amidst discussions of things like The CW's success in the field, they spoke with President of ABC Entertainment Channing Dungey about whether more superhero content was in the network's future.
“The question really is more: What kind of superhero show? What’s the tone and how are we doing it? I would never say we’re through with superheroes.”
The diplomatic response is hardly surprising. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may not perform as well as many hoped, but it holds its own in the superhero TV landscape. It's also gained more and more critical appeal as it's gone on, with each new season proving more sophisticated than the last. And though nothing outside of the series has done as well on ABC, the flagship Disney network is unlikely to stop trying to get more Marvel content on their screens.
Though every season looks like the last, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be renewed in part because of the faith ABC has in its writing and creative merit. Not only that, but the network has admitted that Inhumans underperformed and that no new Marvel projects are far enough along to land this fall. For now, that puts the first MCU show in a good position. As for the future of superheroes on ABC, we'll have to wait and see what follows Inhumans.