What makes a movie star? They aren’t just strong actors. They are people so charismatic that they elevate every part they play. A movie star is someone who can sell a movie just be being in it. Haley Atwell is just such a star, only she’s acting on TV.
I can remember watching Captain America: The First Avenger and being transfixed by her. There was something about her. She was beauty, she was grace, she could punch you in the face.
At the end of the movie, everyone knew what would happen to Captain America. He was set to appear in The Avengers. Peggy, however, was left behind in the forties. We didn’t think we would ever see her again.
Since then, Marvel premiered two TV series on ABC. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on for most of the season and stars, well, a lot of people. Every season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to add more and more cast members as if that will fix its problems. The show is flawed, not bad, it just tries to tell epic stories in a world where all the best ones are happening in the movies.
Agent Carter is different because it has a star, Haley Atwell, and is thus laser focused on her character. As we have learned from the Marvel Netflix series, televised Marvel is best when it is about a single character. Agent Carter was the first series to prove this.
It followed Agent Peggy Carter who, after Captain America died and World War II ended, went to work with the Strategic Scientific Reserve. The organization that would become S.H.I.E.L.D. Unfortunately, she lives in a time when she is expected to serve coffee and grab lunch for the men in the agency.
When her friend Nathan Stark, the future father of Iron Man, has his stash of super science gadgets stolen, he asks Peggy to track them down. She agrees, the only problem being that the SSR thinks Stark sold them to the Russians. She starts working against the SSR to clear her friend’s name.
What follows is some good old fashioned spy versus spy storytelling, courtesy of showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazikas, the women who brought us Reaper. Peggy fights mobsters, other spies, calls on the Howling Commandos, and eventually gains the respect of the other agents in the SSR.
I’ve gushed over Haley Atwell as Agent Carter enough. The series co-stars James D’Arcy, who played many people in Cloud Atlas.
Dominic Cooper, who gets around, but all that comes to my mind is Need for Speed.
Chad Michael Murray who– you know who he is.
Enver Gjokaj, from Dollhouse!
Shea Whigham, who you may know from Fast and Furious and Fast and Furious 6
And most villainously, Sin Rostro herself, Bridget Regan! Which you should know, since you should be watching Jane the Virgin.
Season Two starts tonight on ABC! Here’s a trailer:
Agent Carter and the team reunite to be best friends forever in LA! Or something like that. Agent Carter is an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. Season One was just taken off of Hulu, to my great chagrin as I was trying to watch it at the time, but maybe it will soon be on Netflix? Please? Otherwise, I leave finding episodes up to your own devices. It’s a great watch that easily fits into your schedule by being only eight episodes long.
Season Two will be another eight episodes long, Tuesdays at 9. You should be watching.
PS – I admit I am biased in favor of Marvel TV and Film. But only because they are excellent.