Dear Marvel & DC,
Somehow, in some strange twist of fate, the first female superhero to headline her own live action anything since the resurgence of Marvel and DC has been, in fact, a super-powerless, marginalized human woman of the 40s. And so despite being a hardcore fan of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Raven, Black Widow, and Jean Grey, I found myself most thankful for the existence of Agent Peggy Carter.
Sure we’ve seen plenty of Black Widow in Marvel movies but she’s always been second fiddle. Characters like Barbara Gordon, Huntress, Black Canary, and Supergirl have graced us with their presence. Wonder Woman held seasons of a tv series back in day. But aside from the little known Birds of Prey tv series, Peggy Carter has been the first in recent times to get any sort of popular billing.
It’s an interesting choice as far as a test case goes. Peggy Carter before all of these better known women. The only equivalent I can think of would be if Marvel had released Guardians of the Galaxy before the Avengers. I don’t know about you but I saw Guardians (a barely known entity of some comic I’d never read) because they’d earned my faith with the Avengers (which nearly every nerd has read).
Was Carter a successful test case? I’m not sure. The ratings haven’t been what people were hoping they would be (although really, if this was any other show, they’d be fine) and the quality slide a little in the second half once Peggy and Jarvis were split up. Should it get a second season. Personally I’d like to say yes, realistically I’m not entirely sure. I’ll leave that for Marvel to decide.
Although there’s something to be said for creating a new 8 episode mini series for every time Agents of Shield goes on hiatus. We could explore a lot of secondary characters this way. Heck, I’d follow Pepper Potts around for a week with no Tony Stark in sight. I’d happily see what Lady Sif is up to. Ooooo I’d definitely follow Thor’s Darcy Lewis (Kat Denning’s) around for a while with a cameo or two from Jane Foster. Or what about 8 episodes of Maria Hill (Colbie Smulders)? If we’re really jumping into Civil War then she’s someone I’d like to know a little better.
But there are things to thankful for about agent carter beyond merely paving the way for female superheroes:
I’m thankful that we got a period piece from Marvel
I’m thankful that Marvel took a chance on this
I’m thankful that we got zany inventions and more Howard Stark
I’m thankful for the social commentary on women in the workplace
I’m thankful for Peggy Carter beating people up because those were generally some great actions scenes
I’m thankful that the show somehow balanced Peggy being sad over Steve’s death without encompassing her with it. There was just enough sadness to feel realistic and not quite enough to make me roll my eyes.
I’m thankful that there wasn’t too much Captain America
I’m thankful that we got to see some gal pal time and that it wasn’t just work and men (sidenote: I’m also thankful that the Cartenelli shippers got something for their trouble. I’m thankful that we got even a hint of that representation. However, I’m still voting for Sousa)
I’m thankful that they didn’t shy away from giving a key character a literal crutch. I’ve heard some talk about abelism and I won’t touch that but I do know that I don’t see a lot of representation from this category. All I can think off the top is HTTYD’s Hiccup and characters from the Last Airbender.
Mostly, I’m thankful for 8 episodes of maybe not the highest quality tv but of fun times tv.