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‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Isn’t Getting the Ratings it Deserves

Will fans ever return to watching Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. live? Host Ellen Bowman puts this question to Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

J. August Richards stars as Deathlok in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Credit: ABC/Marvel Entertainment.

The latest episode -- "End of the Beginning," in which the agents go toe-to-toe with the cyborg menace known as Deathlok -- drew just 5.71 million viewers for a 2.0 ratings share in its 8 p.m. time slot, a season low. Worsening live viewership has pundits here at and elsewhere grumbling about the future of the show. Nathan says there isn't much to worry about.

Instead, he says, the show is delivering tighter plots, more tension, and teasing new adversaries that promise to change the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For example, actor Patrick Brennan is set to play the villain Blackout in an upcoming episode. Internal strife at S.H.I.E.L.D. should also challenge the characters, delivering the sort of blockbuster ending for which Joss Whedon-produced shows have become famous.

Tim agrees, but also notes that the key for both fans and Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) investors is in how well the show pays off on promised tie-ins to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If the plot revealed on the big screen results in big changes on the small screen then ratings should improve noticeably. And if not? It'll be a huge disappointment, Tim says, especially given the amount of adrenaline Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) and The CW are pumping into their own comic book epic, Arrow.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Are you still watching Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Why or why not? Please watch the video to get the full story, and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand. And be sure to check back here often for more 1-Up On Wall Street segments.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2014, at 5:55 PM, msorrentino wrote:

    Yes, I continue to watch Agents of SHIELD, however I do not watch it live. I watch it on eight days after it airs because ABC makes me. I do not own a television set and have no intention of getting one any time soon (that goes for most 20-30 yr. olds). If ABC would just make the show available on the same day it airs on TV, I'd be happy. The fact that ratings don't take into account viewings and DVR viewings is absurd the majority of the shows fan base would probably prefer to watch it online when it is convenient for them, not a given time that ABC dictates to them.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2014, at 6:03 PM, jincampo wrote:

    I agree with msorrentino - I will continue to watch. I've caught every episode of the show but always on DVR.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 12:27 AM, LazyCapitalist wrote:


    While millennials (20-30 year olds) are more likely to want to watch TV shows online, most millennials do own a TV set.

    Also, ratings do take into account DVR viewings. Nielsen does Live+Same Day ratings and Live+7 Day ratings. The "+Same Day" and "+7 Day" being DVR viewings of the episode.

    Obviously the live ratings are more important to networks and advertisers, but DVR viewings are being counted as well.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 10:00 AM, prestonprice wrote:

    I am a HUGE Marvel fan for the last 40+ years. I watch Marvel Shield every week. If I miss one live, I DVR it and watch it later. The shows are getting better and Marvel fans needs to step it up and watch the show weekly.



  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2014, at 8:16 AM, pondee619 wrote:


    With Hulu and DVR can you cut out, or fast forward through, the commercials? If so, counting that "viewer" in the rating would be misinforming the advertiser who is paying for people to watch the ad. People watching the show and cutting out the ad does the sponsor no good.

    The function of ratings is not to tell US how popular a show is but to tell a sponsor how much to send on ads on that show based upon how many people will see the ad. Although they probably can't fully account for the snack trips during the ads, if you can cut them out on DVR and Hulu, everyone there is cutting them. A sponsor won't count those "viewers".

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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