Thursday, January 29, 2015

TV Review: Agent Carter

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (after 4 episodes)

Bottom Line:  A fun show that delivers plenty of pulp action as well as a strong female lead character.

ABC is doing some schedule experimenting this season and bringing in the Captain America spin-off series Agent Carter to fill in the gap while Agents of SHIELD is on hiatus and it means less repeats during the regular season.  I like the idea and Agent Carter is the perfect series to timeshare with AoS because both exist in the same universe as the Marvel Avengers big screen entries.  This show takes place in 1946 as Agent Carter finds herself working for SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) on the home front after the war.  However, she is looked upon by the other male agents that she works with more as a secretary and is not appreciated for her true skills.  Howard Stark contacts her and asks her to help clear his name because he is on the run, accused of treason.  She then teams with his butler Jarvis and works on the sly to try and uncover who has framed Stark.  The series has a retro, pulp feel to it with a bit of noir thrown in for good measure.  And it has that same sense of fun that we have seen in most of the Avengers movies (something that Agents of SHIELD unfortunately has mostly dispensed with this season).  Hayley Atwell delivers a commanding performance as Carter with James D’Arcy proving himself quite capable as her partner/side-kick.  I would have preferred if they had avoided the angle of Carter having to skirt around (pun unintended but accepted) the chauvinistic attitudes of the day because it just acts as a plot anchor dragging down the stories from time to time.  It would have been much better it they just let her reputation from her war days carry over into her new assignment and have her step up as the kick-ass agent she really is.  Sure, the sexist attitudes might be a more realistic touch for the period, but then how much of this really depends on realism?  It’s not a deal-breaker, though, just a minor annoyance and does not keep me from enjoying the show.  But the show has definitely kept my attention across its first four episodes, and it has quickly found itself on my must-watch list.  And next week's episode brings in some of the Howling Commandoes, so hopefully they will set the record straight on what Agent Carter can do. Unfortunately, the ratings for the show have not been great thus far, though not terrible either.  But if ABC does not see fit to bring the show back for a second round next year, maybe Marvel will consider one or more direct-to-video films like the one that hit in 2013 to continue her story (or perhaps Netflix could pick the show up).  I, for one, am enjoying this entry and would definitely like to see more.

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