Monday, May 8, 2023

Between Books - Agent Carter: Season One Declassified

Agent Carter: Season One Declassified has sat on my shelves for years wrapped in plastic. I popped it open wondering if this volume would better inform my one viewing years ago.

Agent Carter: Season One Declassified by Sarah Rodriguez walks readers through the first season of the 2015 ABC Marvel series. The book frames the question of how a Marvel One-Shot evolved into a series. Then Rodriguez provides an episode guide for each of the eight stories. And then finally, the book ends with production notes including special effects, wardrobe, hair and makeup, and other production services that lead to the final product of our home screens. The text is adorned with numerous striking color set photos and production art.

I am conflicted about this volume. Visually, the photos and art really pull us into Agent Carter's world. I find quotes from Hayley Atwell to be fun and delightful. But there are only, yeah just only, eight episodes. And while this is the same size as the other MCU art of books, it does feel a little thin. Television does have less production time than a movie, so there is a lot less art. Also, the book feels more publicity than behind-the-scenes secret sharing. The quotes and interviews provided to Rodriguez feel like publicity. And while there are a lot of set photos they feel like they have tossed every publicity shot onto the pages.

If anything, the thing that is frustrating to me is the book’s production. For example, 99.9999% of the photos have no captions. And since I have not watched this show in five years, I may have forgotten who some secondary characters are. Also, I have no idea who the producers, directors, showrunners, and other production staff are. There are pictures where a director may be speaking to Atwell, but please don’t ask me who that nameless man is!

Agent Carter: Season One Declassified by Sarah Rodriguez gave me a flashback to when Agent Carter was on TV and Disney+ didn’t exist yet. It was fun to remember and I found myself arguing to myself that I needed to have a rewatch soon. I guess that’s the win, it is a publicity book that convinced me I need to watch a series I have already seen. But I don’t feel like I unlocked the code of Agent Peggy Carter and her corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 


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