Jeremy Likes TV

I like TV. Probably more than any human should.

Posts Tagged ‘Nikita

Marvel’s Figured It Out

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Agent Carter

Marvel is on a hot buttered roll right now, with its tentacles touching everything from movie theaters, television networks, and even on-demand giants like Netflix. The world’s arguably foremost comics company is currently in the midst of a near-unprecedented, sprawling journey that sees it bringing its characters to screens everywhere in an interwoven narrative, and ABC’s Marvel’s Agent Carter is the latest offshoot on this voyage.

Taking the Peggy Carter character from the Captain America series and building a show around her, Marvel’s Agent Carter stars Brit Hayley Atwell as the titular Carter. As the central personality, Atwell has a strong screen presence that allows her to anchor a cast of familiar faces that that includes Dominic Cooper returning from the films as Howard Stark (AKA Iron Man/Tony Stark’s father), Shea Wigham (Boardwalk Empire’s Eli) as her superior at the S.S.R. (Strategic Scientific Reserve), and One Tree Hill’s Chad Michael Murray and Dollhouse’s Enver Gjokaj as fellow agents. The thrust of the series sees Stark enlisting Carter to clear his name after he’s accused of treason by way of selling weapons to enemy organizations, thus putting the S.S.R. on his tail and Carter in a number of precarious positions as she hides her clandestine mission from her co-workers. There’s also a twist near the end of the first episode that puts allegiances in question in an interesting manner as the narrative moves forward.

What sets Marvel’s Agent Carter apart from the Marvel series that it’s replacing in the ABC lineup – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – is that is has style to spare, which is evident almost immediately with the shot of Carter walking to work in her bright red hat and lively blue suit, the only hint of color in a sea of drab gray commuters. It also feels – at least in its first two hours – less like a television show and more like a Marvel film that’s been chopped into eight equal parts, as the first season will run only eight episodes. That, along with its production values (which are high), already make it feel more like a true Marvel project than Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does, though I’m admittedly only halfway through season one of that show and have heard that there was a quality uptick. Its fight sequences are also impressively staged, making Atwell potentially the next in a long line of strong female television action heroines.

With more Marvel television shows on the way as a part of the company’s deal with Netflix – which includes April’s Daredevil as well as series based on the Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist characters – Marvel’s Agent Carter stands perhaps as the template for the quality that we can expect in future series that promise to bring all of the fun of Marvel’s big-screen adventures to the comfort of your couch.

Episode 1.01/1.02 Grade: B+

Stray Thoughts:

*Shea Wigham just can’t stay away from period pieces, apparently, as his Roger Dooley has more than a little Eli Thompson in his DNA.

*In addition to the actors listed above, other TV vets like Lyndsy Fonseca (Nikita) as Carter’s new neighbor, Andre Royo (The Wire) and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) as notable guests in the first two episodes respectively, and Costa Ronin (Oleg from The Americans) as Howard Stark’s future partner Anton Venko are all present in the first two hours. Agent Carter apparently has one hell of a casting director.

*As someone who’s only familiar with the majority of these stories via the films, the fact that Howard Stark’s assistant Edwin Jarvis shares a name with the butler/OS software that Tony Stark uses in the Iron Man films and in The Avengers isn’t a coincidence, is it?

Where to Watch: Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC.com / Marvel’s Agent Carter on Hulu

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Fall Pilots Preview: The Secret Circle

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(With a little over a month until the fall’s crop of new shows hits, now seems like a good a time to start previewing all of the new network offerings. As I’m not a professional critic, I don’t get access to all of the nice, shiny screeners that the pros do, so I’m basing my opinions somewhat on their thoughts as well as on teaser clips that the networks have released. These are very rough thoughts that could very well change once I’ve seen a full pilot. With that in mind, onto the preview.)

The Secret Circle
Who: Stars Britt Robertson (Life Unexpected), Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Gale Harold (Desperate Housewives), and Natasha Henstridge (Species).
Where: The CW
When: Thursdays at 9:00 PM (Premieres September 15)
What: The CW’s description via The Futon Critic: Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident. The series stars Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake, Thomas Dekker as Adam Conant, Gale Harold as Charles Meade, Phoebe Tonkin as Fay Chamberlain, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Melissa, Shelley Hennig as Diana Meade, Louis Hunter as Nick, Ashley Crow as Jane Blake and Natasha Henstridge as Dawn Chamberlain. Based upon the book series by L.J. Smith (author of The Vampire Diaries book series), The Secret Circle is from Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, Scream, Dawson’s Creek), Andrew Miller (Imaginary Bitches), Leslie Morgenstein (The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl) and Gina Girolamo. Elizabeth Craft (The Vampire Diaries, Lie to Me) & Sarah Fain (The Vampire Diaries, Lie to Me) were executive producers on the pilot which was directed by Liz Friedlander (The Vampire Diaries, 90210).”
Jeremy Likes TV’s Thoughts: This is the third series in three years (after Supernatural and Nikita) that The CW has attempted to pair with its biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries so clearly the network is hoping that the third time is the charm. Commissioning a series based on a novel series by the same author responsible for The Vampire Diaries and then hiring most of the creative staff of The Vampire Diaries (as is evident from the above network description) definitely seems to be a recipe for success. As an avowed fan of The Vampire Diaries, I will definitely be giving this show a long look although with witches being much less a part of the current zeitgeist it remains to be seen if The Secret Circle will experience the same immediate success as The Vampire Diaries did upon its premiere in 2009. That said, this is clearly the most compatible partner that show has seen yet.
Chances It Gets A Full Season: 98%
Recommendation: Thumbs up, particularly if you’re a Vampire Diaries fan [1],  as that show evolved from a guilty pleasure to one of the most entertaining series on television. The Secret Circle, at least based on its trailer, looks to be squarely in the guilty pleasure category but for right now? That’s enough.

[1] And if you’re not, why aren’t you? It’s at #7 in our most recent power rankings.

Other Reading About The Secret Circle:
HitFix’s Dan Fienberg
The Futon Critic 

Written by jeremylikestv

August 18, 2011 at 4:02 pm