Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Agent Carter is good but can it be great?

Last week I watched the premiere of the mini series/TV show Agent Carter, and from what I've seen it's way better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It could be that I make such statements because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. more or less just seems like a trampoline for the Marvel movies, and that has left me a little irked. But in either case, I'm saying that Agent Carter is good while wondering if it has the chops to be great. In unconventional review style, I'm going to break down last week's episode in pro/con tvland-fu and see what I come up with, and I hope that you'll chime in with some comments :).

Con: No Chris Evans cameo. I realize that it probably takes buckets of cash to even move Chris Evans from the lap of "anything he wants" these days, but it would have been awesome if there was something outside of movie clips to feast my eyes upon.
Pro: We got a radio program that not only made me laugh to see the special effects of hands slapping an uncooked pot roast (not to mention a guy cracking a lobster in half over the microphone), but it made me nostalgic that I can't just listen to radio programs like that anymore. On the plus side, my friend who watched Agent Carter with me said that England still has radio dramas, and I was instantly intrigued.
Pro: The setting. I used to play this roleplaying game called "Top Secret," and one of my favorite settings for it was the Agent 13 Sourcebook. Basically, you played a spy in the same era that Cthulhu stories are written in (and which made Dick Tracy), and there's nifty gadgets and awesome villains and some very colorful characters. I loved seeing the gadget that Agent Carter used to crack open the safe in the night club. And on the interesting character bus rode Leet Brannis, a man with no larynx, trying to sell a weapon of mass destruction to the highest bidder.

Con: Leviathan. Other than instantly knowing this is obviously a Biblical reference, I hate mysteries that get dragged out for the sake of intrigue. We better get some explanations soon, or I may pitch a fit.
Pro: Peggy Carter. She puts on a blond wig and can seduce anyone. She wears one of Howard Stark's sex costumes (the doctor) and transforms into a milk inspector that is so convincing I wouldn't have recognized her in real life. She diffuses a powerful bomb using only nail polish remover and some baking soda, and she does kung fu to the Captain America radio broadcast so well, it looks choreographed.
Pro: Jarvis. Yes, I would have loved for them to actually get Paul Bettany (who voices Jarvis in the Iron Man films) but James D'Arcy really goes far into being the "Yin" to Peggy's "Yang." There's also some chemistry there; it's pretty difficult to catch as he's a prim married man that goes to bed by 9 p.m.
Con: Everyone that Peggy knows ends up dead. I know this is how superheroes need to feel. But she hasn't gotten over losing Steve Rogers and now her roommate Colleen ends up dead from Leviathan assassins. Ah well. I may not like it but it makes for intriguing storytelling, right? Is the number one rule of writing to "never let your characters be happy?"

Someday, someone who's a better writer than me needs to redo that rule. 


  1. There are only seven episodes, so they'll be wrapping it up quick.
    I enjoyed it. I really liked the time setting. And they picked someone great to play Jarvis.
    Be tough to put Evans in a cameo though, especially since Captain America is frozen in ice at this point.

  2. I had to skip this since I haven't seen it, yet.

  3. Just started Agents of SHIELD, not too bad so far. I absolutely love stories from Peggy's time period, so hurry up and get on that on Netflix. :)

  4. All very interesting. This is a genre I could learn a lot more about.

  5. I keep forgetting to watch. Leviathan was used as the bad guy in Batman Incorporated.

  6. I've been watching it. Watched episode #2 last night. Now it's on hiatus, which is a stupid move. I like it better than SHIELD, which I tolerate but think is often boring. Colson and May are the best characters.

  7. I've kind've watched it -- which means I catch a few scenes and then miss a few parts while fixing dinner, doing laundry, etc. I like it primarily because of the setting in the late 1940s, which adds to the fantasy factor and 'cause I'm a fan of 1930's and 40's movies. It's also nice to see a larger woman in the role; she's not quite plus size but she sure ain't svelte.

  8. Love James D'Arcy. Love him. I'm enjoying the show, too.

  9. I don't know if that's the number one rule but let's face it, who wants to read about happy people being happy? I let my characters have moments of happiness, but not too much, until the end and then they can have their happiness. Maybe.