After three seasons, Agents of SHIELD is finally getting some real support from Marvel, in the form of a superhero that people who haven’t obsessively read Marvel for years have heard of. Ghost Rider, in his modern Robbie Reyes incarnation, is coming to network television. But will it be enough to save Marvel’s only broadcast drama?
The fourth season will pick up shortly after where the third season ended. Coulson, after the events of the third season, has been demoted from director, and Daisy, aka Quake, has left in favor of becoming a vigilante. The rest of the team is still at SHIELD, albeit in different roles around the organization. And that’s more or less where it picks up, as Quake runs into Robbie Reyes, a classic car enthusiast with a developmentally disabled little brother and a dark secret of the “turns into the Spirit of Vengeance” variety.
Marvel’s broadcast TV debut had a rocky start, as the first season was stuck in a holding pattern waiting for its final twist to kick in. Once that happened, though, Agents of SHIELD has steadily improved even as it has largely backed away from Marvel’s cinematic universe, only mentioning it in passing and delivering a third season that brought the show into its own and made the team stand out. Unfortunately, that improvement hasn’t been reflected in the ratings, and the fourth season has been moved to the Tuesday at 10 p.m. slot, which has been the time slot of doom for ABC since 2008.
To be fair, being shifted from having to support ABC’s worst time slot to having Dancing with the Stars as your lead-in is undeniably a step up, although how much of its audience will stick around is a fair question. And Marvel opening the door to Ghost Rider is undeniably helpful as well. Still, being put in a network’s toughest slot is rarely a good sign, and Agents of SHIELD has a lot to prove when it debuts tonight. We’ll be liveblogging it at 10 p.m. EST. Join us, won’t you?