The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of larger than life heroes who, against all odds, overcome the villains in their path to save the day in the end. There are more than just superheroes in the MCU, however. There are also plenty of characters who may not get the same attention as A-listers like the Avengers, but still have compelling stories to be told.
The ABC show Agents of SHIELD told the story of some of the MCU’s unheralded heroes, and it did it well.
While it may not have led to as many headlines as the MCU’s films, it did accomplish one major achievement that not many people are talking about. Let’s take a look back at the history of the show as well as the history of that achievement.
‘Agents of SHIELD’ show overview
According to IMDB, Agents of Shield began its run in 2013. The show enabled Marvel fans to see the chronicles of SHIELD, the government agency that works behind the scenes in the MCU.
The films revolved around superheroes, but this show was different — it featured SHIELD agents who (seemingly, at first) didn’t have any superpowers. This changed when team member Skye was revealed to be Daisy Johnson (aka Quake) and a member of the Inhumans.
The show first centered on Agent Phil Coulson (portrayed by Clark Gregg), who perished in 2012’s The Avengers. The series resurrected him and saw him leading a team of agents as they protected the world. What made it unique is that it followed the events of the film — what happened on the big screen in the MCU mattered in this show.
The tumultuous life of ‘Agents of SHIELD’
The show emerged as a fan favorite, though it had its fair share of struggles. According to Collider, ABC nearly axed the show in season five. They decided to keep it on the air, however, and now it’s become nearly the last Marvel TV show standing.
Marvel is reassessing its TV programs and that means that Agents of SHIELD may be the last one seen on network TV for quite some time.
After ABC rescued it, the show managed to stay on the air for two additional seasons. It recently culminated in its seventh season. But while some may overlook the show as an MCU afterthought, it accomplished something pretty impressive during its run.
The ‘Agents of SHIELD’ achievement no one is talking about
A Forbes article points out that the Agents of SHIELD’s main cast members have logged more screen time than anyone in the MCU. The show is the longest-running TV show within the MCU as well. The show’s four core cast members appeared in 136 episodes. The character with the most screen time in the MCU is Coulson. He has 95.2 hours on this show to go with appearances in multiple Marvel films.
What makes the accomplishment even more impressive is that despite its history of near-cancellations, it’s seen many other Marvel TV projects come and go. When it debuted, it did so around the same era as Agent Carter. That show was eventually canceled.
Agents of SHIELD also saw the Netflix-Marvel era, where Marvel debuted shows such as Luke Cage, Daredevil, The Punisher, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and The Defenders. All of those shows were eventually shelved as well. Finally, the show’s lived to see the Disney+ era that will feature multiple Marvel movie characters make it into their own shows.
Despite being pushed to the brink of nearly ending, Agents of SHIELD persevered where so many other shows like it weren’t able to. That’s a testament to the show’s quality, as well as to those responsible for the show being able to consistently produce compelling TV.
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