The past year or so has been an interesting one when looking at what’s been going on with the television end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the Netflix end had a plan in mind from the get-go, having picked up four individual series, with a team-up mini series to follow, long before any showrunners* or stars were attached. (There’s one exception to the showrunner part, of course, as Melissa Rosenberg had been attached to a Jessica Jones TV series for some time at that point.) On the ABC side, however, things have never been as concrete. Which is kind of odd, especially considering they kicked off the whole television end of the MCU when they brought Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to life.
As we’re all aware at this point, when S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered back in 2013, it did so to incredibly impressive ratings. However, as the show’s first season continued, the ratings continually plummeted. Nowadays, the show averages about 3-4 million [live] viewers, and barely stays above 1.0 in the 18-49 demographic. (This demo, as I’ve stated in previous one-shots, is vital to networks. The higher, the better.) Yet, the network decided to take a chance and bring in a second Marvel show with Agent Carter. Unlike S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s series premiere, however, that series premiered with just “okay” numbers from the get-go – a little over 6 million. Like S.H.I.E.L.D., though, the ratings continually declined until it hovered around 2 million [live] viewers in the show’s second season. Which is why it wasn’t entirely surprising that the series was cancelled earlier this year, even if it’s a decision many fans (myself included) are still bitter about. But Agent Carter wasn’t the only casualty on ABC’s list concerning Marvel TV shows this year. Marvel’s Most Wanted, which was rumored for about a year before a pilot was ever filmed, was passed over by the network – again. Yes, you read that correctly – again. Before switching network presidents earlier this year, Paul Lee had stated that the network wouldn’t be moving forward with the show, only to have a pilot ordered later on, which was then rejected by new president Channing Dungey. Yep. Most Wanted‘s short life was a frustrating one.
Needless to say, fans were rather angry at the news. Not only had we lost two fan-favorite characters on S.H.I.E.L.D. with Bobbi Mosre (Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) when they were written out of S.H.I.E.L.D. for Most Wanted, but we’d also lost out on the long-rumored Mockingbird series. And then, to make things even more frustrating, when asked about the possibility of the duo returning to S.H.I.E.L.D., the showrunners seemed to dance around the subject – only saying to “keep watching.” And as much as I would like to believe that meant that they’d definitely return, the S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunners have proven to be great at teasing fans. (Hey, remember when we were going to get the Secret Warriors in season three? And only ended up getting them for a single episode? Yeah…*) Well, new ABC president Dungey chimed on the possibility of the duo returning during the network’s TCA presentation today, and I’d like to think her words are a bit more hopeful.
#AgentsofSHIELD: Mockingbird/Lance Hunter were disavowed, Dungey says, “But I never underestimate Marvel’s ability to bring people back”
— Natalie Abrams (@NatalieAbrams)
(It is worth noting that Palicki has recently joined a new TV series from Seth MacFarlane, so the chances of her returning to S.H.I.E.L.D. as a series regular are slim to none.)
However, as much as it sucks to have seen both Agent Carter and Most Wanted passed over by ABC, it’s even more frustrating not having received any sort of update regarding Damage Control. Although ABC has never officially confirmed the series, Deadline had stated that the show, which was set to be showrun by Ben Karlin, had received a put-pilot commitment. What does that mean exactly? That, should ABC decide not to air the pilot, they’ll have to pay a penalty. Yet, here we are nearly a year later and we’ve heard absolutely nothing since. Has a pilot been filmed? Has ABC decided to pass on the project and pay the penalty instead? All of that is unknown at the moment, but I’m not entirely hopeful we’ll see that come about anytime soon. On the plus side, however, it does appear that Marvel and ABC will be sitting down shortly to talk about other possible show ideas that the two can work on together.
ABC is sitting down with Marvel in two weeks to figure out their next project together #TCA16
— Alex Zalben (@azalben)
Projects they could discuss? Hard to know for sure, but I’d love John Ridley‘s long-gesturing project, as well as Damage Control, to be a part of that conversation. However, with Dungey seeming to indicate that they’re hoping to create a “niche” for a “family of Marvel shows” for the network, so going off that? It seems as though they’re starting from scratch on additional projects.
“We all came to an agreement that the next show that we want to do together is something that is as creatively strong as it can be,” Dungey said of discussions with Marvel. Asked whether ABC would want to carve out narrative niche for a family of Marvel shows as Netflix has done with series such as “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones” and the upcoming “Luke Cage,” Dungey said, “That’s an interesting question, and we have talked a little bit about that, yes.”
What about you? Would you be interested in a series of shows, much like Netflix’s Defedners, on ABC? Sound off in the comments below!
Note: Before anyone yells at me, I thoroughly enjoy S.H.I.E.L.D., but that doesn’t mean I can’t get frustrated with it from time to time.
Sources: Twitter & Variety.