The troubles continue for Marvel’s Inhumans with the news that its finale ratings matched its series low. In a Marvel Cinematic Universe where it seems no property can do wrong, the Inhumans can seemingly do no right. After the movie adaptation kept getting its release date pushed back and then dumped from Marvel Studios’ release schedule entirely, it seemed that would be the end for Black Bolt and his royal family. But hope was revived when it was announced Marvel Television had saved it with plans to fast-track the property for an Inhumans television series with the ambitious goal of showing the first two episodes on IMAX screens before moving to its regularly scheduled timeslot on ABC.
From the start, though, the project was plagued with criticism. While the casting of Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) as Black Bolt, the leader of the Inhumans, and Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon as his conniving brother and antagonist, Maximus, was met with approval from fans, it was downhill from there. The first look at the Inhumans cast in costume was met with derision from fans for the cheap-looking costumes, and when the first Inhumans trailer dropped, the poor quality of the CGI for Medusa’s prehensile hair inspired a wave of snarky jokes on social media. Unfortunately the series’ debut didn’t change many minds, and the most recent development is one that may well be the official death knell for a second season.
The ratings for the season finale are in, and they are dire. TV By the Numbers reported that viewers for the finale sat at 1.95 million and it garnered an exceptionally weak 0.5 rating in the much-coveted 18-45 age demographic. Its live viewership started out at 3.75 million for the first two episodes, but steadily dropped after that. The season finale rating matched the season low hit by the fifth and seventh episodes. Considering Marvel’s Agent Carter wrapped up its second season with an average of 2.35 million U.S. viewers and that wasn’t even enough to save it from being unceremoniously canceled by ABC, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s 4.22 million average from season 4 prompted a near-cancellation before divine intervention from Disney that got it renewed for a fifth season, the writing is on the wall for Inhumans.
So how bad was the performance of Inhumans? Bad enough that it dragged down other ABC shows with it, 20/20 in particular. The weekly news show follows Inhumans‘ Friday night timeslot at 10pm, and has seen some of its lowest ratings ever this year, according to Deadline. Considering 20/20 has been on air since 1978, that’s really saying something. The news show’s ratings are down a whopping 65 percent in the 18-45 demo from a year ago, and an alarming 58 percent in total viewers, down to 2.187 million from the 5.207 million at this time last year. Not only did Inhumans chase away 20/20‘s audience, it also drove them to a competitor. While 20/20‘s ratings have plummeted for ABC, NBC’s Dateline, which airs directly opposite 20/20 on Friday nights, more than doubled the struggling demo of 20/20 and its overall crowd.
While the network might be able to ignore flagging ratings alone enough to greenlight a new season for a series on the bubble, it’s impossible to think Inhumans will be renewed considering what a strangling vine it’s been for another of ABC’s flagship series. With Inhumans almost assuredly getting the ax, Agent Carter already canceled, and it looking likely that its upcoming fifth season will be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s last, the future of Marvel television series does not appear to one ABC wants to share.