Just a quick update on the news from today’s ABC upfront about the scheduling for Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter. The first news is that Agents of SHIELD will be moving from 8pm to 9pm, presumably in the hopes of improving its ratings. For most of the 2013-2014 season, Agents of SHIELD has gone head-to-head with NCIS, the most watched show on TV most weeks. This can’t have done the show any favors, even if there isn’t a whole lot of overlap in the target demographics of the two shows.
Also, I suspect that the original goal with Agents of SHIELD was to appeal to families who go see Marvel movies together, but I don’t think they were able to hit that target the way they’d initial intended, particularly with the lack of standard superheroes on the show. Also, things got a little dark as the show progressed, including a memorable glimpse at Coulson’s brain which could probably justify a shift to a later timeslot. Of course, this all just speculation on my part.
The shift to 9pm is not the only change. It was previously announced that Agent Carter had been picked up for the fall, and we now have a better idea of what we might see from the series. It’s been announced that Agent Carter will be a midseason show, airing in the same timeslot as Agents of SHIELD during the winter hiatus. This means that season 1 of Agent Carter will probably be somewhere in the 10-13 episode range.
I think this scheduling change will be good for both series. It will allow Agents of SHIELD to have a much better run of new episodes, without the annoying gaps and confusing scheduling that happened during the first season. It also makes the Tuesday at 9 timeslot the “Marvel Timeslot,” so even when one show is off the air, they’re both still on people’s minds. Also, the short season for Agent Carter will give it a tighter narrative focus, helping to combat the impatience that Agents of SHIELD faced in the fall. The trend these days is towards shorter seasons, almost like a repeating miniseries, and it’s worked really well for some big name shows, particularly on cable. Having Agent Carter air in the middle of Agents of SHIELD‘s season also effectively splits SHIELD into two smaller seasons of a similar length. This was actually the original plan for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, although they eventually abandoned that idea, to the detriment of that spinoff.
What do you think? How do you feel about Agents of SHIELD moving to an hour later? (I guess this means less sleep for me in the fall.) Will the change in hour change the tone of the show in any way? Do you like Agent Carter airing as a midseason gap filler, even if it means we get a shorter first season from that show? Do you prefer 10-13 episode seasons over 22 episode seasons? Are you excited about tonight’s Agents of SHIELD season finale? Let me know in the comments!