Though Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never been a ratings darling on ABC — in fact, rumor has it Disney had to flex some parent company muscle to secure the current season — it has never been better creatively; with actors, story and design firing on all thrusters within its relatively modest budget.
At the same time, the move to Friday nights could be read as a complete lack of confidence. Genre shows, with the exception of The X-Files in the 1990s, generally flounder as their key demographic leaves the house on weekend nights. But ABC president Channing Dungey told reporters at the Television Critics Association on Monday that she is currently “cautiously optimistic” about the show getting picked up for a sixth season. She was quick to say January is far too soon to know whether or not the renewal will happen, but “We’ve been really excited about what the producers have been talking about for the second half of the season.”The current storyline sees the team stranded 90 years in the future, where the Earth has been shattered by Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and the alien Kree Empire herd the remaining humans to breed for Inhuman gladiators.
“I’m really looking forward to hearing them come in and talk about what their ideas would be for season 6, so we can make a better determination about whether we’re going to order another season or not,” Channing added, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The fifth season began late as it cleared room for Marvel’s Inhumans, a show that has not been cancelled yet, but underperformed in Dungey’s view. “I will say that the numbers, unfortunately, were less exciting for us than we hoped they would be,” she explained. And considering the general mess the show was for its entire eight-episode run, this is case where the financial and creative elements are in sync.
But transferring Medusa (Serinda Swan) and maybe Karnak (Ken Leung) to a sixth season of S.H.I.E.L.D. could yield better results for all involved as both the characters and actors would be at home in the more successful program.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays on ABC.