Peggy in the mid­dle

SFX - - Re­views -

re­leased 30 Novem­ber 2015 | 12 | blu-ray/dvd

Cre­ators Christo­pher markus, stephen mcFeely

Cast Hay­ley atwell, James d’arcy, Chad michael mur­ray, en­ver Gjokaj, brid­get re­gan, do­minic Cooper

Spun off from a “One-Shot” short on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray, Agent Carter is the ’40s-set se­quel The First Avenger never had – al­beit one where Cap’s very much on ice. It’s a far more con­sis­tent, higher qual­ity af­fair than its Mar­vel TV sta­ble­mate Agents Of SHIELD, the post-war set­ting giv­ing its story the free­dom to un­fold with­out be­ing at the mercy of mas­sive, Hy­dra-shaped plot twists fil­ter­ing down from the big screen.

It’s still very much part of the MCU, how­ever. The Strate­gic Sci­en­tific Re­serve is ba­si­cally SHIELD: The Early Years, in­ves­ti­gat­ing weird cases be­fore Nick Fury even dreamt of his long leather coat; the fugi­tive Howard “Tony’s dad” Stark and his in­ven­tions are ef­fec­tively the show’s McGuf­fin; and there are plenty of “did you spot?” nods to comic book con­ti­nu­ity to keep Mar­vel fans happy.

At the same time, Agent Carter never gets hung up on be­ing a pre­quel to present-day Mar­vel screen out­ings – aside from nu­mer­ous men­tions of the miss­ing-in-ac­tion Steve Rogers, this is an Avenger-free zone. In fact, it’s not so much a su­per­hero drama as an es­pi­onage show, ow­ing as much to Bond as its big-screen Mar­vel sta­ble­mates. And with a short run of just eight in­stal­ments, the twisty arc plot is al­lowed to de­velop or­gan­i­cally and at a de­cent pace – no need for filler episodes here.

The se­ries also em­braces its ’40s set­ting, with stun­ning sets and cos­tumes, a guest ap­pear­ance for Rogers’s old unit the Howl­ing Com­man­dos, and a fun run­ning gag about a hokey ra­dio adap­ta­tion of Cap’s wartime ad­ven­tures.

But the main rea­son the show works is Hay­ley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter her­self – one of Mar­vel’s finest screen he­roes to date. She’s hard as nails, the clever­est per­son in ev­ery room she’s in, has a knack for a sharp quip, and she’s do­ing it all with­out

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