After what seems like forever stuck in the realm of rumor, Marvel has finally ordered a half season of an Agent Carter TV show, featuring the Captain America movies’ Hayley Atwell in a reprisal of her role as Peggy Carter, kickass SSR agent and co-founder of the MCU edition of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I’m not sure if I have words to describe how exciting this news is, but I’ve only just started this post, so I’ll try to find some. Head below the jump for the official synopsis and my thoughts.
So what will the show cover? Well, from The Powers That Be themselves:
“Marvel’s Agent Carter,” starring Captain America’s Hayley Atwell follows the story of Peggy Carter. It’s 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life—Steve Rogers. Inspired by the feature films “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” along with the short “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.”
Although I am a little leery of the inclusion of the “single woman in America” bit in the official synopsis, I’m going to wait for more info to come out before drawing any dramatic conclusions about it. There’s nothing wrong with a woman looking for love, and a “single woman struggles to find the right love interest” subplot can certainly be done in a feminist way; consider Joan Watson’s ongoing difficulty with finding someone worth her time in Elementary. I just hope that it’s not painted in a way that implies Peggy is desperate to have a man in her life.
One of the major things that gives me hope about this show is that both its showrunners are women. As insipid as it sounds to say, female writers do have an innate understanding of the female experience that male writers often struggle to represent, and I think it would do Marvel’s most noted fighter of misogyny a disservice to put her future in the hands of a male showrunner. The women who’ve been tapped, Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, have nearly identical resumes which include Reaper, Law & Order SVU, and Dollhouse (a bunch of series that I have either not seen or only watched sparingly), and they’ve clearly got a lot of experience between them in both speculative fiction premises and government employee/crime-based premises. I’m optimistic about what they’ll do with the series.
The only genuine concern I have about this show as of right now is that, well, S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t have a happy ending. We learned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by HYDRA from the beginning, and saw that in the end HYDRA’s influence brought the organization to its dissolution. I’m not sure how the showrunners will spin the series to not be super-depressing, given the fact that we as viewers already know that Peggy’s attempts to create a noble intelligence organization are going to fail in a dramatic and awful manner.
Marvel did finally commit to some title-related diversity last year when it announced four Netflix-exclusive series: Daredevil, a blind superhero; Luke Cage, an African-American superhero, Jessica Jones, a lady superhero, and… Iron Fist (who is a white guy in the comics, although fans have been petitioning Marvel to cast an Asian-American in the series). However, with a Fall 2014 premiere date, Agent Carter will be the first MCU-based offering to reach viewers that actually features a character who isn’t a cishet white guy as the title character. Based on that alone, I’m looking forward to the show, but hopefully it will deliver above and beyond our (admittedly high) expectations.