The UK and Agent Carter

UK channels, we need to talk. It’s important. All of you are making bad choices, and I’m not angry – I’m just disappointed. Where, in the name of all that is good and true, is Agent Carter?

Channel 4, I had the highest hopes for you. You’ve stuck with the shaky Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and seeing as how Agent Carter was scheduled on ABC to fill in the mid-season break for that particular show in the US – and seeing as how it was seeded through multiple flashbacks throughout its second series – I assumed that it would be inevitable that you’d be showing it. But you aren’t. And I don’t know why. When I found out that you weren’t going to be showing it I was upset, but I was still clinging to the notion that another channel would do what you didn’t and pick it up. No such channel emerged. Still, I don’t know why.

The fact that this is weird isn’t just because Marvel properties are incredibly popular right now, although they are. Both Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier did well in the UK, and in a year in which Avengers: Age of Ultron is due its release – before it shows in the US, I hasten to add – Marvel Studios are arguably at their highest point. I can’t be alone in wanting to absorb everything that Marvel disseminate as soon as it is possible to do so – so why is this the forcible exception?

If it’s because it’s a female-led superhero show, I’ll be insanely disappointed – even more than I already am. Not just because you haven’t read the brief – Peggy Carter is NOT someone with superheroic powers, but someone who fights against crime with her perfectly sufficient human badassery. If your problem is that she’s a woman, then you’ve really made me angry. In a time when the position of women in society is debated constantly, and people are becoming increasingly vocal about their discontent, if you honestly have a problem with a woman leading a show then you should be taking a long, hard look at yourself. Opportunities to watch a female character who acts like a real person – exhibiting strength, vulnerability, intelligence, compassion, and actual human traits – are too thin on the ground. Opportunities to watch a woman at the centre of an action story are even scarcer.

As a fan of the genre, I want to see it move and grow – and I want a female character I look up to at the centre of things. From a Marvel perspective, calls for a Black Widow movie may have been mooted, but Captain Marvel and, from DC, Wonderwoman, are on the cards at long last. However, the character I desperately wanted to see again was Agent Peggy Carter. She proves herself time and again in Captain America: The First Avenger: she is an interesting and genuine character as well as being one half of an honest presentation of a relationship (probably my favourite pairing in a Marvel movie is Peggy and Steve). My interest was piqued with the one shot, Agent Carter, which showed Peggy fighting crime – and sexism – in a post-war world. News of a TV show made me ecstatic. Interviews with the fantastic Hayley Atwell and the writers and showrunners – my favourite two here and here – had me on the edge of my seat with excitement. The air was let out of my sails by the news that it wasn’t airing in my home country.

According to numerous sources, the show is good. Early reviews have been fantastic, and the short series and tight narrative structure is generally a good sign that a show won’t go off the rails. Marvel have proved their worth with a string of hits, and while their television has been a bit more hit and miss (although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is, as far as I know, improving) it deserves a chance. As a fan – and regardless of my gender – I want to be able to see it on a UK channel.

So please, someone – ANYONE: pick up Agent Carter as soon as humanly possible. Ideally put it on a channel available to everyone, at a time accessible to everyone. Because, by all accounts, it is a show we should see.

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