The hits keep piling up for ABC’s upcoming The Inhumans, none of them good. But good news for us, Agents of SHIELD gets to come back early.
The Television Critics Association two-week long extravaganza of upfronts ended yesterday while you were watching Game of Thrones. And bully for those who were there that you were distracted, otherwise the disaster that was The Inhumans panel might have gotten more attention.
The roll out for Disney’s latest attempt at synergy across its movie and TV brands has gone about as badly as it possibly could. The promo images have caused concern, and the trailers have been panned (to the point that the director felt the need to say he didn’t like the trailer cut either.) And now, this week’s TCA panel found the actors and director stoney-faced in the wake of questions about the decision to release the pilot to IMAX theaters a month ahead of the TV show’s premiere.
This is not good press, especially in the wake of last year, when ABC began rebelling by cutting everything from Agent Carter to The Muppets to killing off Marvel’s Most Wanted before it too could be a low rated flop. The Inhumans was supposed to forestall that with their choice to release to IMAX ahead, causing this movie like crossover splash. (The Inhumans was originally a movie when it was first conceived anyway.)
But unlike Game of Thrones, who did much the same thing with the last two episodes of Season 4, but in reverse order, apparently the MCU doesn’t have a good answer to why fans should shell out IMAX priced tickets to see what they can wait for on TV a few weeks later.
Critics were also treated to the pilot. Reviews are still under embargo, but one that leaked via SpoilerTV (now removed) said it was utterly dreadful.
Pair this with the announcement this morning that Agents of SHIELD will be returning early and the writing, as they say, is already on the wall. SHIELD was originally announced as slotted to come back in March or April of 2018 to fill the springtime half of the new Marvel 10pm-on-Friday timeslot, basically splitting the year with The Inhumans, so that ABC didn’t risk having two low rated MCU programs on at the same time.
Now, with The Inhumans looking less and less like a success story, ABC seems to have decided waiting until spring to refill that slot might be a death knell for everyone. So SHIELD is now being pushed up to begin their season as soon as The Inhumans finishes their current eight episode order run. That means a debut date somewhere in the mid-November area. If ABC decided to go for a full season order of episodes (assuming they don’t pick up The Inhumans back nine episodes), that means Agents of SHIELD will run with very few scheduled hiatus straight through to May.
It’s not the prettiest of ways for SHIELD to survive, but we think Coulson would approve.