Friday has never been a kind day for TV. Ratings are generally lower and it is commonly referred to as the death slot for many shows. ABC wanted to shake things up by turning it into a genre-focused day. It made sense, as shows like Once Upon a Time and Marvel Televisions’ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may not be rating monsters, but they do pull in a sizeable audience in delayed viewings. SHIELD, however, had a late start in the 2017/18 TV season giving way for Marvel TV’s most ambitious project, Inhumans. The IMAX-ABC coproduction was already bashed when the first pictures and footage was shown off so it did not look to be off to a promising start.
The show’s ratings started off at an okay 0.9 market share among 18 – 49 until it ended on a 0.5 by the end of its eight-episode run. These numbers are not terrible, but they are not strong enough to really justify such a high-production, especially with it being surrounded by a critical backlash. Everything seems to point to the show facing a cancellation. With the Television Critics Association’s winter press starting we got some words from ABC chief Channing Dungey on their Friday’s line-up future and it is not looking good for the ambitious project.
“It didn’t perform for us at the level that we would have wanted. We haven’t made any official decisions yet but I will say the numbers were less exciting for us than we hoped they would be.”
We have seen a lot of PR jargon used when it came to the future of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but this does seem like a confirmation that the show may not return for a second season. TV has been struggling for quite some time and especially new shows have to prove themselves even more. ABC could consider a renewal if IMAX would once again team-up with them, but even that seems quite unlikely at this point. Even well-received show The Mayor was canceled with rather modest ratings for its timeslot. New shows are expected to bring in good numbers, as ratings tend to always tend to slowly decline which was also the case with Inhumans. Even the Marvel-Fox show The Gifted, which was a Marvel freshman show commonly used as a point of comparison, is facing some difficulties over on FOX, as while the show’s rating hint at a renewal it is difficult to pinpoint if it will actually be enough to keep it around.
Is this the end of these characters? On the one side, Marvel TV can just treat this as a short mini-series that does not affect the overall universe and simply ended on a somber note. It does not face the issue that Agent Carter had, which seemed to be putting a lot of money on a third season with its open ending. Inhumans’ may have been critically panned, but it did have some interesting characters to play with. There is always the possibility to include some of them in an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. story arc. The show always has a different focus with each season, but still keeps Inhumans at the center of many storylines. It would not be too surprising that they include Black Bolt or Medusa in some way, as it would expand both universes and finally give us an actual crossover between shows. We are still waiting for any news about a finalization to Agent Carter so it is difficult to say what Marvel TV is working on. ABC’s overall reluctance towards Marvel shows also hints at the network trying to stay away from genre shows, which also fits Dungey‘s stronger focus on episodic shows. Whatever may happen, it will be interesting to see what Marvel TV is planning.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think Inhumans should be canceled? If these characters return in what form and how would you want to see it happen?