4 Ways ‘Agent Carter’ Can Improve on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

Haley Atwell, Captain America: The First AvengerParamount via Everett Collection

In what is likely revenge on the public for not buying enough comic books in the last 20 years, Marvel is continuing its hostile takeover of popular culture with yet another television spin-0ff of its cinematic universe. According to Deadline, a television show based on Captain America‘s own Agent Peggy Carter will possibly go straight to series. The proposed show would star Haley Atwell as Peggy Carter, the no-nonsense army officer and one-time love interest of Steve Rogers A.K.A. Captain America. The show will likely detail  the genesis of our favorite multi-national clandestine organization, S.H.I.E.L.D., as well. The character was first featured in Captain America: The First Avenger, and later on in her own one shot film called simply Agent Carter.

While the news is exciting to hear for Marvel fans, the company clearly has a lot to learn about the TV game. Its first live-action television outing, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has exhibited flat storytelling, two-dimensional characters, and dull mysteries that have taken too long to unfold. While the show has enjoyed a recent upswing in quality thanks to a Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie-in plotline, this first season has been far from great. Here are a few things the Agent Carter series can do to avoid the mistakes made by its sister program.

Create better stand-alone episodes
The bane of many a TV watcher, standalone episodes are a necessary evil of adeventure-themed television shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A show like this needs to build an overarching plot while padding out the season, so the dreaded villain of the week plotline is oftentimes a must. But one-off episodes don’t have to be a slog. Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and Fringe excelled at creating fantastic stand-alone episodes that were engaging, and still taught us about the characters.

Don’t waste so much time
S.H.I.E.L.D. took the better part of a season to become truly competent hour of television, and that was only because The Winter Soldier forced it’s hand due to the game changing affects of that film. If Agent Carter wants to have a better start, it needs to come out swinging with a good overarching plot that hooks the viewer in. Nobody likes to play the waiting game.

Don’t be afraid to get weird
The Marvel universe is filled with C and D grade heroes to plum stories out of. Since the show will ostensibly occupy the same world as Captain America: The First Avenger, a film that wore it’s Spielbergian camp on its sleeve, this show should readily embrace the comic book silliness of that film and take it a step further. The show should crack open the comic book anthology and embrace the antiquated, campy, and just plain weird heroes and villains that Marvel wouldn’t dream of putting anywhere near one of their multi-million dollar productions.

Feel free to change the Marvel canon
One of the reasons why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never felt like a true part of Marvel’s cinematic universe is that it has been too afraid to make any actual changes in its own story. The show has never been able to veer away from the finally calibrated status-quo set up by the films, and the adventures have always felt like they carry much less weight than say an average Iron Man adventure. Simply put, S.H.I.E.L.D can’t make any changes to the Marvel universe without affecting the films, and because of that, the show has felt largely inert. Since Agent Carter would take place in the ’40s, long outside of the current scope of Marvel’s films, the show should feel free to craft a more personal mythos and chronology that the writers can play and morph into something unique and special to the show.