e nts of S.H.I.E.L.D., because ’re this. That puts in a sort of eclusive club. Which is to say, not many this show. A hanging - of the Marvel Cinematic , S.H.I.E.L.D. has had ratings consistently low enough to make the prospect of its real every ye a kind of comic-book cliffhanger.

Yet it was. Si s. No matter what—stranding chers on distant , swing members of the ensemble in and out, touring through some back eys of the Mvel pantheon for chers whom it’d perhaps be a stretch to describe as bed—nts of S.H.I.E.L.D. was just … on, y’. And , as the show preps for its final son, it’s over. In the hours before the show’s Thursday panel at , the net took a shotgun ae to its little sci-fi superhero show. (The shotgun axe is a thing in the show. That’s the kind of show it is.)

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  • “We’re shooting the very last episode right , so a lot of us e feeling this,” sd show cocreator Jed Whedon from the st of ’s H H, an auditori contruy requi to describe as cavernous. “Pt of the we’re rey enjoying this is that we’re going through what the chers e going through, which is, this is our last mission together.”

    “And,” interjected Clk Gregg, the show’s , “the dragons .” (The dragons en’t a thing. The show doesn’t have dragons. Probably.)

    S.H.I.E.L.D. ted out as pt of the Mvel Cinematic . Its center was nt Phil Coulson, played by Gregg as the rectitudy high and tight, right-hand man of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in Iron Man and sacrificed to gods in Avengers: That One. But death is just something get better from in ; Gregg was a ny spot in the Sturm and Drang. Coulson came back to take over S.H.I.E.L.D.

    In the ely yes, Mvel cinematic chers occasiony showed up. Lady Sif from Thor did a guest spot. Some of the visual effects magic ed like the ones in Doctor Strange. Even Jackson’s Fury came in to shoot a gun, and if ed closely noticed that the helicrier that saves the day at the end of Avengers: of Ultron gets handed off from a S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. In the Captn : The Winter Sier, primily—S.H.I.E.L.D. the ncy turned out to be rife with bad guys, and it disbanded, and it sort of did on too. The nts went on the run, ran a shadow-S.H.I.E.L.D., I think, and fought an offshoot of the movie bad guys.

    For the couple , nts of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a somes pictable show that had a second job supporting -Mvel’s dominion over of pop and . But then it leverd its hd-to-epln reals to quietly become one of the zaniest, est pieces of sci-fi on .

    The reals en’t that hd to epln, uy. The show had a mketing value, sure, and a sm but avid fanbase, like a lot of genre . But since owns the ABC net, and ABC produces the show, it’s owned and operated, relatively cheaper to make because the net doesn’t have to with some studio. Think of it as ’s ABC’s Mvel’s nts of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even a lower-rated, in--produced show can make more , in the end, than an epensive but popul one made by someone else.

    That’s a potent combination, as it turns out. Few ing, little oversight from a net because the stakes e low, a fan base distilled down to the most committed gladiators … what’s a s’ room to do? Well, any n thing it wants is the answer. Guest s: Patton Oswalt, Bill Paton, Kyle MacLachlan, Ron Glass, Edwd James Olmos, Ruth Negga, Blr Underwood, Powers Boothe.1 Deep dives into Mvel’s back catalog: Ghost r, Deathlok, the Absorbing Man, Graviton, Mockingbird.

    The show went to a virtual matri w everyone was a bad guy, and the Big Baddy was a magic robot lady. When Ghost r showed up, he wasn’t the iconic 1970s motorcycle demon with a flaming skull. This was the Ghost r, who drives a lowr (but also has a flaming skull). (The or who played him, Gabriel Luna, is slated for a Ghost r show on Hulu.) was , , a post-apocalyptic Eth d via and , and blue aliens. A bed cher used suspended animation to join his in a line w Eth was destroyed, but then died while ing them escape and change that future. So his went to to fish him out of suspended animation in the ly remade present, because e two of him. Coulson died agn! And came back agn, only this as a bad guy with no memories, from an planet, on our Eth to fight zombie alien bats.

    It’s a lot, right? Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always . But it always felt like real were sitting in a room authenticy trying to outdo whatever they’d tried last . “We never k when we’re shooting the end of the thing if we’re going to get an son,” Gregg sd in H H. So every son would get , come to a , and go out big. Someone, probably in a suit, be in Burbank, would say ", uy could just do more?" The show would say "Errr, OK." So would just get er.

    That’s a rock-solid legacy. Mvel’s shows e about to change radicy. The with that led to Jones and , among s, have ended; the net + has announced shows more clely derived from the , about Loki, and the Winter Sier, and s. The days of Mvel on a broadcast net e into legend. As for nts of S.H.I.E.L.D.? “This is the flagship show of Mvel ,” sd Jeph Loeb, the of that di. “And it’s the show that I most.” Which, k, I get it. Thanks for the , nts. In the era of peak, gen-, highly burnished, super-professional polish, needs too.

    1Updated 7/19/19 7:47 AM PDT to correct the spelling of Powers Boothe's name

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