Tea- Girl and the Butler
Peggy Carter is, of course, never destined to become a superhero, but if this show is anything to judge by, Marvel has found its Wonder Woman. Because while William Moulton Marston’s creation was flying the flag for feminism over at DC in the ’ 40s, a supporting character from the Marvel ( née Timely) universe was quietly showing the men how to get the job done in spicy, sassy fashion in an – until now – untold story.
Marvel’s Agent Carter is an unexpected delight. A spin- off from one of the lesser MCU films, it capitalises on one of the main things The First Avenger had going for it: the period setting. The show uses this as a springboard to produce something that’s not so much pulp pastiche as a love letter to the Golden Age of comics. Sure, there are plenty of 21st century storytelling tropes in evidence but they embrace the clichés before inverting them.
Chronicling the post- war career of Peg working at SHIELD forerunner the SSR, the show oozes style, reproducing ’ 40s New York in part noir/ part Technicolor splendour every week. Peggy pretends to be happy making the tea, but in her own time she’s secretly helping Howard Stark to prove he’s not selling tech to the Soviets. Stark assigns his butler Jarvis to help her. Together, the quick- witted agent and the cut- glass valet make one of the most watchable double- acts on TV.
Fast- paced, witty, constantly defying expectations, gorgeous to look at and boasting some inventive fight scenes, the show truly feels like the writers and directors have analysed every scene and gone, “How do we make this better?” so that no moment is wasted.
Which leaves us with two mysteries: why has no UK broadcaster picked it up? And why are its ratings so disappointing in the US? Normally, when we like a show that fails, we can at least work out why. Not in this case. This is an superbly entertaining show that proves that classy US TV doesn’t have to be bleak and gritty. Hopefully it’s doing well on catch- up because the axe would never be more cruel. Dave Golder
The dynamic duo. And another fella.