Agent Carter… Marvel’s mini-series premiered on ABC last week. To be completely and totally honest, going into it, I dragged my feet. In today’s superhero universes that have been established, looking back again into an origins-like story felt outdated. What did we already know about Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell)? She was rough and tough, a beautiful and smart woman who had a thing for Captain America. Did we really need to know more? WAS there more?
The answer is a resounding YES! There is more to Agent Carter. The 2 episode premiere of the 8 episode serial showed depth of character. Where we once saw the polished Agent Carter with everything together in Captain America, we now see the struggle it has taken to get to that point. We gain an understanding of the daily perils of the agent, and the struggle of a woman in a male-dominated world during that time period.
Agent Carter is fun! We are shown a Peggy who is witty and clever, able to spit out crafty one-liners at a second’s notice. It is clear that Peggy is often the smartest person in the room. Her undercover spy work in the show is one of the most interesting pieces of character work seen on television in some time. In addition, the show runners have done an overwhelmingly fantastic job of setting the mood. The entire show feels reminiscent of old-school spy flicks with a dash of film noir. Men in snappy suits. Women in skirts and statement piece hats. Pies for a dime. Fold out beds. Phone operators at switch boards.
The one unfortunate piece of this puzzle is that it’s the same story we’ve seen before. Again and again. A brilliant inventor (in this case, Howard Stark, played by Dominic Cooper) creates something, possibly meant for good. A baddie steals it with the intention of using it for nefarious purposes. The hunt is on.
The redeeming factor of the show is the characters. The show introduces us to new characters along with the familiar faces we have come to know from Captain America. There is a sense of comfort for the viewer because of those established characters. The entry into a new part of the Marvel universe is a smooth one because it is a world we have already seen pieces of previously.
I went into Marvel’s Agent Carter with a sense of dread. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. struggled in the first season and I feared this show would suffer the same fate. However, after watching the premiere, I can’t wait for the next episode! It is nostalgic, fun, and well-thought out. Stay tuned this coming week for episode 3 of Agent Carter.