Marvel’s Agent Carter premiered with its first 2 episodes of its 8 episode season this Tuesday. As it is the second TV series to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as it is also something of a direct sequel to the first Captain America movie, we have put together our impressions of the new series.
Tyson – Editor in Chief
Marvel’s Agent Carter follows the titular character after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. Having lost the man she loved while winning the war, Carter returns from war as a small fry in the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve). With all of the men back to their regular jobs, Carter, like many women of the time, finds that her role at work has been degregated to that of a glorified secretary. The frustration over these gender roles in the work force comes from an honest place, thanks largely to the show’s female Showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (Reaper), who themselves are working in a male dominant field. Of particular interest here is the role that Carter has taken in the fictitious re-telling of Captain America’s adventures. Constantly kidnapped by Nazi’s while trying to cook and clean, the fictionalized Carter can only call out for help from her dashing hero, a point of great frustration for the actual Peggy Carter. All of this builds to a great scene in the second episode in which Carter is effortlessly kicking the ass of an escaping suspect while her helpless radio drama characterization cheers on Captain America. The scene is brilliantly edited, and satisfying in the face of the era’s sexism.
The action in Agent Carter is good overall, with a spectacular explosion in the first episode is the highlight. A tiny weapon stolen from Howard Stark is dropped with a warning of “30 seconds” to Carter. She runs off while radioing Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis to drive towards her, jumping on the car while it travels at full speed, the 2 barely escape a massive explosion which is followed by a huge implosion that rips the bumper off of Stark’s car. Besides that impressive effect, I found the action scenes in general to be quite good. 1 of the fights, in particular, was reminiscent of a great fight scene that Sayid had in the last season of LOST.
Of all of the recent comic book adaptation premieres, I have already enjoyed Marvel’s Agent Carter the most. Its heightened sensibilities ring true with its period nature and helps to continue the mood and presentation set by Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger. I greatly enjoyed the film noir-esque presentation, the use of callbacks, Hayley Atwell’s charming performance as Agent Peggy Carter. Performances were strong across the board, actually, Boardwalk Empire’s Shea Whigham might face type casting problems as he continues to knock these mid 1900s roles out of the park. I look forward to next week’s instalment of the series, and how it might tie in to coming events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Will – Writer/News Director
Tuesday evening saw the premiere of Agent Carter, the second of Marvel Studios television efforts after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And in this writer’s opinion, it’s off to a great start. Agent Carter takes place after the first Captain America film and focuses on Peggy Carter, Steve Roger’s love interest from the film, as she struggles to find her place in a post Captain America world. Working for the SSR, a sort of proto S.H.I.E.L.D. Her colleagues however do not take her seriously, and thus she is driven to prove herself.
I felt that this was a strong introduction, Peggy Carter is a wonderfully well developed character who is tough and capable, but also vulnerable and reluctant to get close to anyone after she experiences the potential consequences of her exploits. Of course having an entire movie prior to develop the character also helps. Unfortunately aside from Jarvis, Howard Stark’s loyal butler assigned by him to assist Peggy Carter excellently portrayed by actor James D’Arcy., the other characters so far are kinda weak. The agents of the SSR are portrayed as buffoons who seem to only do their jobs just competently enough to scrape by. Throughout the entire two hours Agent Carter is always way ahead of them. I suppose that’s the point but I hope more effort is placed on making them relatable and believable characters rather than cartoonish foils to Carter. As of right now not a single one is interesting or memorable. This is half of the supporting cast.
The plot is intriguing, Carter is hired by Howard Stark to clear his name while the department she works for is actively hunting Stark for treason. This pits Carter not only against the bad guys but also against her own agency as she tries to unravel what is surely a grand conspiracy, the implications of which could be wide reaching and may even provide the basis for future Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Plots.
With only 8 episodes I feel that the momentum of these first 2 episodes will not easily be lost as there is much less room to tell a complete story here than in other shows where a typical season is 13 to 22 episodes. So I’m excited to see where the current story is heading, and I have no worries that the plot will start to meander or go off track. Agent Carter at this moment is easily the best Marvel show on television in this writer’s opinion. It’s still not on par with DC’s recent television efforts, characterization is still weak, comparatively, but it doesn’t have very far to go to match them either. It has a strong premise and a great lead with enough charisma and talent to make it work. It’s already off to a much better start than sister show Agents of S.H.I.L.E.D., which started off boring and took a while to truly become interesting. As a Marvel fanboy I’m quite pleased and I’m definitely on board for more.
What did you think of our impressions? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of Marvel’s Agent Carter, and all of your favorite shows.