Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Up Slightly

MING-NA WEN, CLARK GREGGThe ratings for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were roughly even with last week's numbers, according to TV By the Numbers--or up from the early reports that came out this same time last week.

On Thursday of last week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was adjusted up slightly--its ratings were still on par with the series' lowest episode yet, but weren't actually a new low, as had been first reported. This week is expected to be adjusted up slightly, too--but the overnight numbers indicate that S.H.I.E.L.D. would be on par with last week's 2.2 in the demo and 6.25 or so million viewers even if it did not.

It's difficult to say that the series has found its ratings "level" when it seems to keep dropping, but there's been a bounce of less than five percentage points one way or another for three episodes in a row, which seems like good news for a show that had been in a slow, steady decline for most of the season.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. SeedsThe bad news? Last week's midseason premiere was one of the best-loved episodes of the season among those who watched, and generated a ton of strong word of mouth. That it didn't help to more significantly lift this week's outing has to be a bit of a disappointment to all involved.

There will be a three-week hiatus now, and the series' next episode--which guest-stars Stan Lee--will run on February 4. The episode is one of those classic spy-show setups--it takes place on a train--and should be as easy a jumping-on point as fans are likely to get this season. The thirteenth episode--which is what the untitled February 4 episode is--would have been the series finale had they not been picked up for their back nine, and the producers have promise a game-changing third act.