Agent Carter (2015) just finished its second season, and ABC has been quiet as to whether or not it will be renewed for a third. The show has been positively received by critics, but the viewership has steadily decreased over the course of both seasons, with the most recent season's finale sporting low Nielsen ratings and viewership.
The show follows the career of Agent Peggy Carter, a female agent working at the Strategic Scientific Reserve, an Allied spy agency, in the years following World War II. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe might also know Peggy Carter as the love interest of Captain America in Cap's first movie, though at the time of the series, he is presumed dead. Peggy, however, proves time and time again that she is a hero in her own right. But even though Agent Carter can save herself, Agent Carter might be in danger.
Fans of the show became increasingly worried about renewal as Hayley Atwell (who plays Peggy Carter) and Dominic Cooper (who plays Howard Stark) were cast in other projects, and executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters develop a new show, The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez (2016), which is set to star Gina Torres. Some fans began to campaign that Netflix pick up Agent Carter, which could perhaps improve the show's viewership. Other MCU shows, such as Daredevil (2015) and Jessica Jones (2015) have found success on Netflix, which allowed them to focus on season-long story arcs and made them accessible to younger viewers. In contrast, ABC has only made five episodes of Agent Carter available at any given time online, making catching up on the first half of the season difficult for fans who missed the initial broadcast.
There is also still hope that the show will be picked up for another season by ABC. A recent rumor stated that ABC intends to renew Agent Carter for a third season, while Hayley Atwell has said that the fate of the show will not be decided until this May.
Whether the show remains with ABC or finds a new home, here are 10 Reasons Why Agent Carter Should be Saved:
Agent Carter is not like anything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is Marvel's first female-led adaptation, paving the way for Jessica Jones (2015) and the upcoming movie Captain Marvel (2018). Unlike most of the summer blockbusters that have been released, the show does not focus on superheroes. In comparison to the dark and gritty television shows Daredevil (2015) and Jessica Jones, it has a lighter and even comedic tone. But Agent Carter also defies genre; it's a period piece, a science fiction adventure, and a spy-detective story all at once. In the second season, it continued to break away from tradition and even included a musical number dream sequence.
Agent Carter's different approach to the MCU can be a refreshing contrast to other Marvel stories, but it also means that it can appeal to casual viewers. Because the show takes place in the 1940s, its temporal distance from the rest of the MCU canon means that watching it does not necessitate watching other related movies or television shows.
Even beyond the world of superheroes, Agent Carter takes risks. It resists an episodic format, instead focusing on a developing story arc that spans the entirety of each of its seasons. The story is fast-paced, character-driven, and complex. The show balances its narrative with both excellent action sequences and biting comedy, all while thoughtfully investing in beautiful period-realistic costumes and sets. But Agent Carter never feels like it is doing too much, and these many elements don't seem foreign to each other; instead, each is a part that is essential to the character of the show itself.
There is simply no other show on television that even begins to resemble Agent Carter - most shows don't attempt to do half as much, and Agent Carter succeeds in balancing all of its many parts.
Not only did the ending of the second season of Agent Carter leave a number of questions unanswered, it also doubled down and introduced some new questions for viewers to grapple with during its hopeful hiatus: what does the Arena Club key do? What are the contents of Peggy's file, and who would want to steal it? Where is Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan)? Who shot Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) - and is Thompson dead or not? For that matter, is Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith) dead?
Whether or not the cliffhanger ending was effective or just plain frustrating, it did leave the door wide open for a third season. Alternatively, if there isn't another season, then these questions may never be answered.
While Agent Carter is set in the 1940s, the effects of the television show, and of the life of Peggy Carter, ripple through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the show has not explored one of the most clear connections: the formation of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D.
Past references have made it clear that Agent Carter was one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D. and later served as its director. HYDRA, a terrorist organization and repeated threat in the modern MCU, was also reborn and infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. Both of these organizations have been referenced, including an appearance by HYDRA operative Armin Zola (Toby Jones) in prison, but the stories of their formations and early years have not been explored. For many fans, this is the story that Agent Carter was meant to tell, and would help to solidify Agent Carter's place and importance within the larger MCU.
Agent Carter embraces its historical setting, both visually and thematically situating itself within the world of the postwar 1940s. The show perfectly illustrates how as men return from the home front, women were expected to return to their homes, causing social and economic tensions.
The future of Agent Carter brings a whole new world of possibilities, as Peggy and friends enter the 1950s. The impressive set and costume design add an appealing aesthetic dimension to the show, which could evolve to match the new decade. But the 1950s also bring a new set of problems, including the growing tensions of the Cold War: the formation of East and West Berlin, the Space Race, the Korean War, the empowerment of Fidel Castro, and the beginning of the Vietnam War. It wouldn't be surprising if Peggy Carter was in the middle of it all.
Since its inception, Hayley Atwell has always been one of the greatest strengths of Agent Carter - the show was created with her in mind after she appeared as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Over the course of the television shows' two seasons, her eponymous role has showcased her diverse talents, including her dramatic emotional range and her perfect comedic timing. As a spy, Peggy has had to take on a number of character roles, with a variety of personality traits and accents, which Atwell has been able to pull off flawlessly. From fight choreography to singing and dancing, it seems that there is nothing that she can't do. Peggy's occupational hazards have proven to be the perfect way to feature Atwell's range and depth, and if Agent Carter were to return, it would give Atwell the opportunity to continue to surprise and delight audiences.
While Atwell is attached to another upcoming ABC show, Conviction, but has said that this commitment would not impede her from returning for Agent Carter season 3.
Hayley Atwell is not alone in her talents. Her supporting cast brings a wealth of complexity to their characters. James D'Arcy plays Jarvis (not to be confused with J.A.R.V.I.S.), the butler of Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper, who shines in his own right), in contrast to D'Arcy's dark and spineless role as suspected killer Lee Ashworth in Broadchurch (2015). Jarvis's nervous energy (but courageous demeanor) gives Agent Carter a great deal of humor and heart.
Enver Gjokaj, who plays Chief Daniel Sousa, brings subtlety and realism to both his character's physicality and emotional depth. Previously, he has shown off his diverse abilities since wowing audiences as Victor in Dollhouse (2009). Since then, he has appeared as a regular on - and as the best part of - Vegas (2012), Rizzoli and Isles (2012), and Extant (2014). Sure, we know that Gjokaj can get another job, but give the guy a break.
Despite Agent Carter's lighter tone and comedic dialogue, it does not shy away from heavier or complex topics. Exploring the history of the post-WWII landscape, it has examined how the effects of the war created a rapidly changing culture; everyone on the show has felt the effects of the two consecutive, global wars, and many have lost people that they love.
Meanwhile, the beginnings of the Cold War are starting to brew. The show also depicts the difficulties and prejudices that women, people of color, and people with disabilities faced in the early twentieth century. The show's female protagonist has to navigate a world that constantly underestimates and undermines her, despite her exemplary service record and skill-set.
Peggy Carter isn't the only complex woman on Agent Carter, and the number of different kinds of female characters is noteworthy. While female protagonists are becoming increasingly common, from Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games trilogy to Rey (Daisy Ridley) in The Force Awakens (2015), those protagonists are often solitary women with a largely male supporting cast.
Agent Carter features two female allies of Peggy, her friend and aspiring actress Angie Martinelli (Lyndsy Fonseca) and her coworker Rose Roberts (Lesley Boone). Two of the primary antagonists, Russian assassin Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) and supervillain Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett), are also women. These four women can all be compared and contrasted with Agent Carter as they all try to make their way through a difficult and prejudiced world. However, each of them are distinct characters who contribute to the show in their own right.
Even with two seasons under its belt, Agent Carter is only eighteen episodes, which is less than one full season for other shows. It is just beginning to hit its stride, and it is still navigating what it is and can be as a television show. Season 2 had some missteps, including revolving around a clichéd "Which man will she choose?" love-triangle.
It would be unfortunate if the show ended not only on a cliffhanger, but with a great amount of unused material and talent. Agent Carter is by no means perfect, but its potential as a show is one of its greatest assets. The best could be yet to come for Agent Carter - but only if it is renewed for a new season.
Do you think that Agent Carter should come back for more adventures? Would you watch a third season? Let us know in the comments!