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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Marvel's Agent Carter


Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokaj, and Shea Whigham

Based on the Marvel Comics
Created by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, Directed by Louis D'Esposito

Marvel's Agent Carter is the latest edition to the ever-expanding Marvel universe. The show is closely linked to the "Captain America" movies and stars a co-star from those movies, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. In post-war, 1946 New York City, Agent Carter is working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve and also being a top secret inside woman for Howard Stark (father of "Iron Man" Tony Stark). Rounding out the main cast is SSR chief Roger Dooley (Shea Whigham) and agents (Chad Michael Murray and Enver Gjoaki) as well as Howard Stark's butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D'Arcy).

THE GOOD: I'll start by saying that I have not seen either of the "Captain America" films and I only watched the pilot of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so I really don't have a lot to go on as far as how well it fits or compares to the Marvel universe. The best thing going for it from my perspective is the 1940s setting. I feel like that decade is underrepresented in media in general. In fact, has there been a network show set in the 40s since the early 1990s drama Homefront? It's fun to see the clothes, the sets, the cars, and especially the music. Hayley Atwell is strong and commanding in the lead role. She has a real authority but she also was able to find a little bit of comedy in her part, which was important for this type of show.

THE BAD: I don't know what it is about shows like this, but I found myself getting bored and that leads to me getting lost because I'm not paying attention that closely. I'm not a huge superhero fan, but this wasn't even really a superhero show. I think it's things like a "Strategic Scientific Reserve" - stuff like that just doesn't resonate with me because I can't relate to it, nor does it feel relevant. As much as I loved the setting and though I liked Atwell, I just didn't care enough. Aside from that, the show did seem to be hitting up a few too many "look how tough this woman is" moments, which wasn't too surprising after seeing the commercials.

BOTTOM LINE: I have a hard time with reviews of shows like this because I feel like I have a hard time analyzing it from an unbiased perspective. I also have a hard time judging franchise shows like this without the background knowledge of the films. But if this show wants to reach a mass audience, it needs to be able to reach viewers like me, so that's a problem.

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