Warning: This article contains spoilers!
It's almost that time again, superhero fans! Season 2 of Disney (NYSE:DIS) Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D kicks off Sept. 23 on ABC, and I know I'm not the only one excited to see what's in store for Coulson and his team.
In fact, you can bet Disney can't wait for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to return, either. Here are three of the biggest reasons why:
Season 1 ratings were actually really good
Believe it or not, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's first-season ratings weren't as dismal as many headlines implied.
To the contrary, based on its average 4.0 Live + 7-day rating -- which notably includes delayed DVR viewership -- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D ended its freshman season as Tuesday's No. 1 scripted show with adults 18-49. For perspective, that beat even the 3.9 Live + 7-day rating achieved by CBS' (NYSE:CBS) perennial Tuesday juggernaut, NCIS.
At the same time, many industry pundits tend to focus on valuable Live + Same-Day ratings. On that basis, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D looked admittedly less impressive as it only beat NCIS a handful of times throughout the season.
But even then, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's Live + SD ratings practically made it a dream candidate for advertisers looking to target specific consumers on ABC. It still managed, for example, to finish as the No. 1 scripted series in its slot with Men 18-34 for all of its 22 first-run airings. In addition, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended the season as Tuesday's No. 1 show across all key men's demographics.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. promotes (and benefits from) the Marvel cinematic universe
Better yet, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also boasts less tangible benefits in fostering public interest for Disney's growing Marvel cinematic universe. As a result, you can be sure Disney doesn't mind how you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D -- just as long as you're still watching.
And that goes both ways: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D itself enjoyed solid ratings bumps from two direct crossovers with Thor: The Dark World, and the series' entire direction was significantly altered as a result of the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
We can also expect more going forward: Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron is slated for release on May 1, 2015, which is less than two weeks before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's likely mid-May season 2 finale. They'd be crazy, then, not to take advantage with another well-timed crossover.
If one thing is sure, it's that this kind of creative collaboration between Marvel Studios and ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D builds a more seamless entertainment ecosystem for Disney's Marvel brand.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. serves as a launching pad for other properties
Along a similar vein, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D can also act as both a launching point and rough template for future Marvel properties.
Consider last season's introduction of Adrian Pasdar as Colonel Glenn Talbot, for instance, who is best known in the comics for his relentless pursuits of Hulk. Though it may take time to come to fruition, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this was Marvel's way of using Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to plant the seeds for a new solo Hulk film down the road.
Marvel's upcoming Agent Carter TV series serves as another great example. Though the show's namesake character technically got her start in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, ABC will be able to learn from Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D's successes and failures to help maximize Agent Carter's chances of succeeding on the small screen. That's also not to mention Agent Carter is slated to debut during the same time slot during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's mid-season break next year, so should be able to piggyback on a fan base accustomed to seeking Marvel material during that hour.
I'll be sure to keep tabs on whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues building that fan base as season two progresses. But in the end, given the three huge benefits it offers to both Disney and ABC, I have every reason to believe Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can thrive for years to come.
Steve Symington owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), Netflix, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), Netflix, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.