May 8, 2015

Tradecraft: Agent Carter Renewed for Second Season; S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinoff Not Going Forward

Good news all around for fans of ABC's Marvel Universe spy series! Most importantly, according to Deadline, the network has renewed the terrific Agent Carter, starring Hayley Atwell, for a second season. They've also renewed Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for Season 3. Who knows? If it continues to improve exponentially the way it did from its first to second season, it might earn itself a positive adjective one day as well. And one sign of improvement is the fact that the network has, the trade reports in a separate article, decided not to proceed with the mooted spinoff we heard about a few weeks ago. The proposed series would have neutered the mothership series by spinning off its two best new characters onto a show of their own... and leaving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with only its far less interesting original cast members. Since there won't be a new spinoff series, Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood will remain on the original show, now as regulars. Perhaps in another season or two it might make sense to spin them off into a second series, but to do so now would have been premature. It's possible that the ideas for the spinoff concocted by Agents executive producers Jeffrey Bell and Paul Zbyszewski could end up incorporated into storylines on the flagship series next year.

Agent Carter, which ran as a limited, 8-episode series to bridge the fall and spring halves of the season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is set in the same universe nearly seven decades earlier. The period spy show follows Captain America's wartime girlfriend, Agent Peggy Carter (Atwell), in the early days of the Cold War. In its first season it delivered everything fans could hope for from a period spy series with over-the-top, comic book elements. The blend of history and mild science fiction was perfect, and Atwell made a more compelling lead than any of the contemporary TV Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While the first season ended in a conclusive enough manner that it could have wrapped things up altogether, I am thrilled that we'll be getting more Carter next winter! (Once again, it's expected to serve as a bridge while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes on its winter hiatus.) Before that happens, Atwell will next be seen in the role of Peggy Carter in this summer's Ant-Man.

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