Well, it seems like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is beginning to act like any ordinary Joss Whedon show. After big premiere ratings in late September (11.9 million viewers, many in the coveted 18-to-49 demo), the show has started losing its audience at a rapid pace. Tuesday’s episode, “Girl in the Flower Dress,” only drew in 7.4 million viewers, almost a 40 per cent drop from the show’s pilot.
Admittedly, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still maintaining decent viewership, although it’s far from the numbers that ABC would have liked to see five weeks into the run. For a series set in the same universe as the highest-grossing film of 2012, it may be the biggest loser in terms of expectations for new series in the 2013-14 network television season.
The drop-off in ratings each week since the premiere indicates that a steep road lies ahead for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even with the upcoming releases of Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the coveted comic-book fan base may not be ready to hang onto a series that doesn’t feature too many well-known superheroes. Although Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will run for a full season on ABC, dim ratings for an already expensive production may limit its chances for season two.
Marvel has hoped that the show’s success could help launch other new television series, including one about Agent Carter from Captain America. However, with enthusiasm for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. waning, it may be time for the studio to keep their focus on big-screen properties. If they do decide to develop small-screen ventures, it may be wise to work on series based on established characters (Daredevil, The Punisher) that already come with a dedicated fan base.