Amid the drama of renewals and upfronts last week, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s leap from Fox to NBC after the former canceled it in favor of Tim Allen, two shows, in particular, took it right down to the wire. Fox seemingly couldn’t decide whether it wanted another season of the operatic, melodramatic Batman prequel series Gotham, and ABC was silent about Marvel’s long-running TV series Agents Of SHIELD. Both, however, have squeaked it just past the wire for a fifth and sixth season respectively. Fans probably shouldn’t count on them pulling that off next year, though.
In the case of Gotham, which explicitly is getting a final season to take it to the magic number of 100 episodes, making the show easier to syndicate, the only thing stranger than the show’s over-the-top gore and bizarre plot twists is the economics behind it. Gotham has spent most of its time on the air as a far bigger hit on streaming than it is when it airs live. Of course, this doesn’t rule out a jump to DC’s ambitious new streaming service, which keeps adding new shows.
Agents of SHIELD, meanwhile, just has turned out to be impossible to kill. During season four, ABC put it in its notorious Tuesdays at 10 p.m. slot, a graveyard of ambitious shows, and when it survived that, ABC moved it to Friday nights for the fifth season, which barely dinged its admittedly so-so ratings. There’s good reason for that: Agents of SHIELD has quietly become one of the best genre shows in a crowded market. It helps that it’s popular on streaming and internationally. ABC hasn’t explicitly said that this is the last season, but bringing the show back for a half-season of 13 episodes, after demanding it cut its price, is a pretty strong indicator if the sixth season doesn’t perform when it arrives next summer, that’s likely it for Coulson and company.
That said, getting past the 100 episode mark, and getting a whole season to wrap everything up, is rare for any show. And who knows? These shows have been full of surprises for fans and TV wonks alike, and it would be just like them to pull off another miracle.