I was very pleased to see promotional trailers for Marvel’s Agent Carter on one of my local cable channels (Fox – Channel 505 on Starhub, for any Singaporeans/Southeast Asians in the midst), and even more pleased to see that they would be broadcasting this new show just 12 short hours after the US premiere. Hayley Atwell was a refreshing presence as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was (am!) excited to see Marvel taking a chance on a female lead character.
Some thoughts on the first two episodes:
- The audio quality on the dialogue was extremely poor on the first episode/pilot, to the point where I was having to guess what characters were saying (and wishing for subtitles!). It seemed like the actors were mumbling dialogue or talking too fast. My mom had been watching the last ten minutes of an episode of The Mentalist on the same channel just before Agent Carter, and that was completely fine, so I don’t think it’s our TV. I hope this is a one-off issue or it’ll just be too much effort to watch this show in the future.
- I liked the flashbacks to CA:TFA, if only because they’re useful to people like my mom who haven’t actually seen the film and don’t know what this Agent Carter business is about. Too bad she was out of the room and missed the first few explanatory minutes!
- Howard Stark was used well here. He gives us a link to CA:TFA as well as the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe (being Iron Man’s dad), but his presence was small enough to not shadow Peggy’s adventures.
- His butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) was a wonderful foil for Peggy. He’s the straight-laced getaway driver, she’s the ass-kicking glass-ceiling-breaker, it works. I hope he’s going to stick around because their rapport was truly fun to watch.
- Speaking of supporting characters, Peggy staying in a women’s dorm/estate/thing should be fun. I have no opinion on her waitress friend, but it’s good to see her developing friendships with other ladies (too bad about her first room-mate getting knocked off, though).
- The mysterious villain of the piece is Leviathan, which I suppose is a common enough name/concept, but I was reminded of DC Comics/Grant Morrison’s Leviathan. Led by Talia al Ghul, so of course anything Marvel comes up with won’t be anywhere near as interesting.
- Where all the coloured people at? We only see a handful in the show (during the club scene), and mostly only in passing. I feel certain that America had more people of colour around in the 1940s, even with racial segregation.
- Hayley Atwell has a very strong screen presence, and is one of the rare few women who is able to portray traditionally masculine traits (with Peggy’s physical strength and down-and-dirty fighting style) in perfect balance against unapologetic femininity. Marvel made the right call in giving her a solo series to take point on.
- Apparently the Howling Commandos will pop up in the next episode. Excite!
- To round things up, here is a really great recap/reactions post on Tumblr!