Another TV series from Marvel who are beginning to start their domination of our TV screens, in a similar fashion to the way they dominate our movie screens. Agent Carter follows on from Captain America: The First Avenger, and contains some of the characters from the movie, as they assimilate back into post World War 2 America.
There shall be some spoilers in this review, so beware!
Marvel’s first shot at TV in Agents of SHIELD started very sluggishly, before finally finding its feet and coming into its own. Agent Carter didn’t have the benefit of having a 20 plus episode season for which to get into a rhythm however and thankfully for the show they found theirs straight away.
I would generally say that the benefit of only having 8 episodes is that it allows the writers to tell a very linear storyline, because they don’t have tons of episodes to fill, meaning that there is very little time needed for filler. Another benefit that Agent Carter had was that Peggy Carter was already an established character, who people knew and loved. It allowed for them to jump straight into the story with minimal character building.
Peggy is an instantly likable character, and the fact that she is working and battling in what is very much a man’s world, makes her all the better. Hayley Atwell plays the part very well (the acting generally was pretty good) and she holds role of leading lady as well as you can expect.
Howard Stark plays a major role in Agent Carter, despite the fact that he only shows up in a handful of episodes. The story gravitates around Peggy trying to clear Stark’s name, and it is a classic case of using an actors limited dates whilst making him a major part of the story, to full effect.
The new characters added for the story generally worked alongside Peggy, and it was nice to see that the majority were (what you would now describe as) pig headed gents, because almost certainly that is the reaction men would have had to a woman in that position in post WW2 America. It was nice that the SSR agents came round to Peggy as the season progressed, as she continually proved herself to be the best agent in the team. Dooley had the best arc and his death was a genuine sad moment for the show.
Probably the most important new character introduced was Jarvis, Howard Stark’s butler. Jarvis and Peggy had great chemistry and talk about a gentleman. It is weird to think that the two main characters in a show which is based around American secret agents are both very British, I guess James Bond and stuff.
I thought the story was generally pretty good, with decent build throughout the season and with a nice payoff at the end. Being part of a wider universe is often a curse because it restricts certain story aspects which you want to maybe explore, however it can also be a huge bonus for a show if they are smart about it. Agent Carter did this very well by using its past (Howling Commandos [which was an excellent episode], Armin Zola [setting up the next season]) and also referencing things which will happen in the future (Black Widow program).
If I’m being picky I would have to say that the show looked like it was done sort of on the cheap. Maybe it isn’t fair because doing a period piece is always going to be more difficult than doing something in the modern day, however often stuff just didn’t look right. You could criticise the idea that a black widow could lose in a fight with Peggy, or the general good guys win tendency of the show, however it’s generally nitpicking.
For a first season I thought that Marvel’s Agent Carter was a pretty good effort. The show was well acted, had engaging characters, a decent plot and fitted in well with the Marvel universe as a whole, generally an overall success if you ask me, and well deserving of a second outing.
So what did you think of Marvel’s Agent Carter season 1? Leave a comment and share those many thoughts circling throughout your head, as that is what the internet is for…more or less…