Thursday, May 12, 2016

Agent Carter R.I.P.

Today ABC cancelled Agent Carter. For those unfamiliar with the show, it was essentially a spin-off from the film Captain America: The First Avenger (2013). It centred around Peggy Carter (played by Hayley Atwell), an agent for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (or the SSR for short) in the years following World War II. The show was only one of two comic book shows set during the Golden Age of Comic Books (the first being the first season of Wonder Woman). It was also only one of two comic book shows currently on the broadcast networks in which the protagonist was a woman (the other being Supergirl).

While Agent Carter was set in the Forties, Peggy Carter was not a Golden Age character. In the actual Golden Age comic books starring Captain America his romantic interest was Betsy Ross (yes, you read that correctly). Peggy Carter would not appear until the Silver Age. In Tales of Suspense #77 (May 1966) she appeared as Captain American's love interest during World War II, although she was as yet unnamed. She was later established as the older sister of Captain America's current love interest, Sharon Carter, in Captain America #161 (May 1973).

With Peggy Carter established as a love interest for Captain America during World War II in comic books published from the Seventies onwards, she quite naturally appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger. That having been said, there were some changes to the character from the comic books to the film. In the comic books Peggy Carter was born in Richmond, Virginia and joined the French Resistance. In Captain America: The First Avenger she was an English subject working for the Special Operations Executive.

The Marvel One-Shot short film Agent Carter established Peggy Carter as now living in the United States and working for the SSR. It was distributed with the home video release of Iron Man 3. The short received good notices from critics and was welcomed enthusiastically by fans. It was its success that led to the TV series Agent Carter.

While Agent Carter would be well received by critics and the series developed a fiercely loyal following, it struggled in the ratings. Its first season finale was watched by only 4.02 million viewers. Sadly its second season would face even lower ratings. It was only watched by 2.35 million viewers. Regardless, it still maintained a loyal following. After ABC announced the cancellation of the show today "Agent Carter" began trending on Twitter.

Indeed, I must say that I am seriously disappointed that ABC cancelled Agent Carter. While I knew that its ratings were terribly low, I was hoping that the critical acclaim it has received as well as its loyal following might save the show. Agent Carter was definitely one of the best comic book shows on the air, far better than ABC's own Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was also the only comic book show set during the Golden Age of comic books. Next season will be a little poorer with Agent Carter now off the air

My own hope is that perhaps Netflix will pick Agent Carter up. Currently Netlix has two Marvel shows, Daredevil and Jessica Jones, with yet more set to debut. The only obstacle to Netflix picking up Agent Carter is that Hayley Atwell has signed to star in the legal drama Conviction on ABC. Given the size of series orders these days there would probably be no problem in Miss Atwell starring in both Conviction and Agent Carter. That having been said, there could be a problem if her contract with ABC stipulates that she must exclusively work for that network. I truly hope that is not the case.

Quite simply, Agent Carter was one of the best comic book shows on the air. It was well written, well acted, and, above all else, fun. I certainly hope that the show can go on despite ABC's cancellation.

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