Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just found out if it's getting a 4th season

Will Phil Coulson and the gang be back for a fourth set of adventures?

The answer is yes. According to The Wrap, ABC-TV just announced the early renewal of some 15 series, and Marvel's TV flagship, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is among them. Other shows that got the vote of confidence were Once Upon a Time, Quantico, Shark Tank, Dancing With the Stars, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, along with eight others. The fate of Marvel's other ABC series, Agent Carter -- which just wrapped an excellent second season -- is yet to be determined.

But perhaps the fact that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming back could be a good sign for Peggy Carter as well. S.H.I.E.L.D. has never been a ratings juggernaut; it's safe to say that it struggled for a while but has managed to scratch out a decent and relatively stable niche audience for itself. And there's no question that Season 3 has been a vast improvement so far over the show's first two years, during which it toiled in the shadow of Marvel's theatrical output and couldn't decide whether to embrace its comic-book roots or not.

But the show went fully into comic-book mode in Season 3, focusing on storylines involving HYDRA and the Inhumans and even taking the cast across time and space to another planet. As a result it became more exciting, more distinctive and subtly aligned itself closer with the movies and the impending Inhumans film that's due out in 2019.

It remains to be seen whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can make it to a sixth season -- which would dovetail with the arrival of the Inhumans movie -- but with the back half of Season 3 kicking off next Tuesday (March 8), the showrunners, cast and crew at least have the comfort of knowing that whatever they've cooked up for the end of this season will get a chance to play out next year.

Have you stuck with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and if so, will you keep watching next year?

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