Will low ratings spell the end of Marvel's 'Inhumans'?

Marvel Inhuman

When Marvel’s Inhumans launched last month, it did so to weak reviews and low ratings. At the time, there was some hope that the pilot’s poor performance was due to the fact that Marvel had released a premiere of the show in Imax and dedicated fans simply didn’t want to watch it again. Unfortunately for fans of the show, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The series’ fifth episode, Something Inhuman This Way Comes, only earned a rating of 0.4 adults in the 18-49 demographic, according to Deadline. In total, just two million people watched this most recent episode.

These low numbers make it unlikely that Inhumans will be renewed for a second season. This is just the latest in a long line of problems that have plagued Marvel’s latest venture. Inhumans was originally meant to be a movie, but was later revamped to be an eight-episode TV series. Unfortunately, the move to TV caused some problems. The most glaring is the simple fact that in order to properly show off the team’s powers, a large CGI budget is needed. ABC simply wasn’t willing to put that kind of money behind a TV a show, which led to Blackbolt taking a less prominent role and Medusa cutting off her trademark hair.

Budgetary issues aside, the scheduling of Inhumans displays a lack of confidence on ABC’s part. Friday night has traditionally been seen as the kiss of death for TV shows, as many people, especially in younger more ad-friendly demographics, are typically busy socializing, resulting in far fewer viewers. Though this has changed somewhat in recent years, but that simply means that Inhumans has more competition and it doesn’t seem to be able to compete.

That being said, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has also faced issues with ratings and is currently preparing to begin its fifth season. The critical and commercial response to Agents of SHIELD was somewhat better than that received by Inhumans.

Overall, it feels as if Marvel really doesn’t know what to do with the Inhumans, both as a TV show and a property. With the X-Men rights behind held by Fox, the company has tried to position the Inhumans as a replacement team, but that only seems to have succeeded in alienating fans of the X-Men, who don’t want their favorite team replaced. Meanwhile, fans of the Inhumans don’t want to see their heroes become a poor man’s X-Men.