ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. scored one of the network’s highest ratings in years against some of television’s toughest competition last night, as the small-screen superhero serial drew 11.9 million viewers during Tuesday night’s 8 p.m. slot. S.H.I.E.L.D., which stars Clark Gregg in his reprised role as Agent Phil Coulson, picked up the highest rating for any drama premiere on network TV since ABC’s V in 2009. It is the highest 8 p.m. drama premiere since Lost aired its first episode in September of 2004.
The show is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so the events of the Marvel films occur within the same canon as those within the TV show. Last night’s pilot was directed and written in part by Joss Whedon, whose grand vision for the show pushed the pilot budget to a reported $14 million.
“I thought after the pilot, the next episode would be bound to be us stuck in an elevator because they’d spent all the money,” Gregg joked at the TCAs. “Instead, the second one, if anything, is bigger, more exciting.”