The fifth season of the American television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D., follows Phil Coulson and other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and allies as they attempt to save the world from an apocalyptic future. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and acknowledges the continuity of the franchise’s films. The season was produced by ABC Studios, Marvel Television, and Mutant Enemy Productions, with Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jeffrey Bell serving as showrunners.
Alongside Clark Gregg, who reprises his role as Coulson from the film series, principal cast members Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Henry Simmons return from previous seasons, while Natalia Cordova-Buckley was promoted to the principal cast after appearing in a recurring role since season three. The season was ordered in May 2017. Due to its broadcast schedule, the season was split into two “pods”: the first sees the S.H.I.E.L.D. team transported to a future in which the Earth has been destroyed; in the second, they attempt to prevent this future in the present. The end of the season dovetails with the events of the film Avengers: Infinity War. The season includes the series’ 100th episode and Gregg’s directorial debut for the series.
The fifth season premiered on December 1, 2017, and kept running for 22 episodes on ABC until May 18, 2018. The two-section premiere debuted to 2.54 million viewers, marking the lowest-rated season premiere of the series. Despite consistently low viewership, critical reception of the season was positive, with many commending the series for its ambition, in particular praising the futuristic space setting during its first half and exploration of time travel. The series was renewed for a sixth season on May 14, 2018
In January 2017, ahead of the mid-season premiere of the fourth season, ABC’s Channing Dungey said that she was “very bullish” about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s future, feeling that “the episodes just keep getting better and stronger”. The series was renewed for a fifth season of 22 episodes on May 11, with ABC looking to lower the cost of the series moving forward, by reducing its budget and licensing fee. Asked whether she had considered giving the season a shorter episode order, Dungey noted that every season of the series had been 22 episodes long, and she felt its prior success in delayed viewership and overseas justified continuing that. She added that the “show has continued to grow creatively every season. I feel like last season [was] its strongest creatively yet. I’m very excited for what we have planned for Season 5.” It was reported that Disney, the parent company of Marvel Television, ABC Studios, and ABC, had given a mandate to ABC to renew Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “despite the desire by some at the network to end the series”.
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