The show didn't suck, far from it, although I have my quibbles and concerns, which I will get into in a moment. But first, the good stuff:
- The show looks fantastic. The sets and costumes are quite stylized, which gives the entire affair a comic-booky feel, but in a good way. It reminds me of the Expo in CA:TFA -- not the future, but how they thought the future was going to look in the 1940s. This is the past, reimagined by how we think of it in the future.
- Peggy has actual relationships with other women, although limited in how authentic they can be because she can't share her work with them. Her work is a huge part of her life, and who she is, and I'm sure that tension will come into play more and more. Angie is great; I like how determined she is to help Peggy, and how Peggy eventually agrees to accept that help.
- I also think they're doing a pretty good job with her struggles to get by in a male-dominated world -- witness this excellent gifset of Peggy taking advantage of other people's sexism to advance her own agenda (includes spoilers for the premiere).
- Just, most everything they're doing with Peggy so far. She's isolated herself from the world to take on her mission, just like pretty much every male superhero with a tragic past ever. I also love that they've built on her scrappy fighting style and made it even more physical. She seems equally comfortable thinking or punching her way out of trouble, whichever method is required.
- Jarvis. He's a good foil for Peggy, and I look forward to seeing where their friendship goes. I like Sousa, too, and I hope they're soon working together instead of being at odds.
- The business with the Captain America Radio program.
And now, the things I am less sure about.
- I am rather confused about the world state. The flashback at the beginning sets the series quite firmly after the Agent Carter short, which to my recollection ends with Howard Stark asking Peggy to leave SSR and help him found SHIELD. She packs her things, calls out her sexist idiot boss, and leaves. Yet now here she is, back in SSR, surrounded by -- well, not the same sexist idiots, but they might as well be. What happened? Did it get derailed by Howard's legal troubles? If so, why not say so? It's almost as though the show forgot a key piece of its own mythology and started traveling backwards.
- Because of this, the show isn't really what I was expecting. I had gotten the impression that the show would be about the early days of SHIELD, about Peggy struggling to get the respect of her peers and underlings in the new organization, as well as fighting whatever supervillain threat the writers could cook up. Instead, I have a feeling we're looking at a monster-of-the-week setup, in which the mooks cause trouble with a different piece of stolen Stark technology in each episode, and Peggy has to stop them, avoid discovery by SSR, and take another step toward clearing Howard's name. This isn't bad, exactly, but it means that Peggy is operating from the shadows instead of a place of power, which is something I'd really hoped to see. Maybe I'm wrong about that, and the stolen technology thread will wrap up quickly, but with only eight hours I have a hard time imagining how that would work.
- I could wish that Colleen (Peggy's roommate) hadn't been fridged quite so quickly. If they kill off Angie too, that will be pretty frustrating. Don't do it, writers!
Recommended, if you are at all interested. If you're on the fence because you were under-enthused about Agents of SHIELD, definitely give it a try! It's a much stronger first episode than AoS had, and despite my comments above I'm really excited to see where it all ends up.
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