We all let out a sigh of relief when Marvel’s Agent Carter was renewed for a second season, but while we’re excited to see new episodes, it’s also become very apparent that those new episodes are a long way off. What are we supposed to do while we wait? The anticipation is already too much and we still have six months to go. So in an effort to stave off the extreme withdrawals, I have decided to create a list of 10 shows for you to binge watch while we’re waiting for Agent Carter to return. They might not be Agent Carter, but they should keep you busy until she returns.
This is a British drama about a current-affairs show being launched on the BBC in the 1950s. It centers around Bel, the show’s producer, Freddie, a idealistic journalist, and Hector, the show’s handsome presenter. It’s filled with political intrigue, questions about censorship, and fabulous period outfits. There’s even some spies and a conspiracy theory. Also Anna Chancellor is in at as Lix Storm!
Critically-acclaimed and just generally entertaining television, The Hour will fill any post-WWII spy conspiracy holes in your viewing schedule. Bonus: Ben Whishaw, who played Q in Skyfall, is one of the main characters – Freddie Lyon. It’s also got that woman trying to make it in a male-dominated field thing with Isabel Rowley. The Hour is must watch TV.
A reboot of the tv series La Femme Nikita, which was based on the Luc Besson film, The CW’s Nikita is about a woman who escapes from a secret government agency called Division. After 3 years on the run, Nikita is taking the fight to Division. She’s basically Jason Bourne, but better, because she’s got a plan. The series follows Nikita’s attempts to dismantle the agency that ruined her life and killed the man she loved.
Did you know that Lyndsy Fonseca – aka Angie Martinelli – once played an spy? Well, she did. In Nikita. A CW show that doesn’t get as much love as it deserves. For starters, it’s one of the only series on this that has a WOC in the lead role! Maggie Q is amazing and she does her own stunts! This series is filled to the brim with kick ass women, so it will definitely fill the action chick void vacated by Agent Carter.
The Bletchley Circle
The Bletchley Circle is a miniseries about four women who used to work as codebreakers at Bletchley Park during WWII. Like Peggy, they’re dissatisfied with their lot in the life since the war ended. These four women are not happy just slotting back into their expected roles. When women start getting murdered all across London, Susan, Milli, Lucy and Jean work together to find the killer and possibly even save his final victim.
Set in the early 1950s, The Bletchley Circle is perfect if you’ve ever wondered what happened to the many women Peggy worked with during the war that were not lucky enough to continue their work post-WWII. What The Bletchley Circle lacks in the fantastical it makes up for in authenticity and fantastic female friendships.
The only show on this list that does not have a female lead, but for anyone that’s looking for their superhero fix, Daredevil is a must watch. Based on the comics character Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer that turns vigilante at night, Daredevil is darker and grittier than most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it still manages to maintain enough of that signature fun to cut through the angst.
This show is not really anything like Agent Carter – they couldn’t be more opposite really – but it’s set in the same universe and it deals with similar issues of identity and agency. Plus it’s just really good television, and while it’s not exactly the pinnacle of representation, it certainly does a much better job than Agent Carter of showcasing diversity. Daredevil if definitely binge worthy.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
Based on the novels by Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is an Australian television series about Phryne Fisher, a glamorous socialite turned private detective in 1920s Melbourne. The series is episodic, with a mystery-of-the-week format that isn’t particularly innovative but still entertaining. The series falls down in racial diversity, as does much Australian television, but the supporting cast does feature a couple of communist cab drivers and a lesbian doctor.
If you’re looking to fill the void of fantastic female characters solving mysteries and challenging the patriarchy in a post-war society, then look no further than Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Phryne’s a lot more frivolous than Peggy, and it’s missing the sci-fi superhero aspect but does have FABULOUS costumes, which is almost reason enough to watch.
A cute blonde teenage girl is also a detective? What’s not to love? Veronica Mars has everything you could possibly need. Murder. Romance. A ridiculous amount of angst, particularly in regards to the leading lady AND a boy that should really be locked away somewhere. Veronica is like the revenge of the pretty popular girl that always ends up a cliché in teen movies. This show was so well-loved that the fans paid for them to make a movie.
If you loved the mystery aspect and the feminist undertones of Agent Carter, then you will love Veronica Mars. Don’t be put off by the teen aspect of the show, because Veronica Mars is not Dawson’s Creek. Plus it’s got Kristen Bell in it, and if there ever was a leading lady that could compete with Hayley Atwell, it’s definitely Kristen Bell.
This show is a little dated now, but it’ll still fill your female spy needs in a pinch. Created by J. J. Abrams, Alias is about Sydney Bristow, a double agent working with the CIA to bring down an agency of rogue spies turned criminals. It’s rife with conspiracy and literally everyone is a secret spy/double agent, but it’s fun and Sydney always gets to wear really cool disguises when she goes on missions.
As an added bonus Alias gives you a very young Bradley Cooper, if that’s something you’re into. And while it does go off the rails a little as the seasons progress – as many shows often do – the first two seasons are pretty solid, albeit it rather silly at times. Plus there’s a GREAT UST-filled will-they-won’t-they relationship!
An adaptation of the novel of the same name by William Boyd, Restless is a two part multi-generational drama about Eva Delectorskaya. The story begins with Eva’s daughter Ruth Gilmartin and flashes back to her mother’s time as a spy during the war. The story is a little slow at times, but it’s intriguing enough and it’s always great to see relationships between women of different ages, or just relationships between women in general.
No joke, this mini-series actually features Hayley Atwell as a female spy in WWII. I know, right? Okay, so her character doesn’t have much in common with Peggy Carter except for a job title, but if you are missing the sight of Hayley Atwell in her 1940s finery then Restless is the show for you. Restless also stars Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey fame.
No one does crime drama quite like the Brits do, and it honestly doesn’t get any better than Luther. Idris Elba stars as DCI John Luther – a hard-boiled cop that just might have gone a little too far in search of justice. This series is super tragic, and it’s definitely not for kids. If you’re looking for something light-hearted, Luther’s probably not what you are after. But if you’re after something a little more intense, Luther is for you.
Really, Idris Elba should be reason enough to watch this show, but if that doesn’t hook you then the fact that Luther has THE BEST female villain ever should. Also Idris Elba being reckless and tragic and beautiful. It’s what I like to imagine Agent Carter would be if it were on a grown-up network and they actually delved into Peggy’s PTSD.
This Canadian series follows the lives of a group of women working in a bomb making factory during WWII. Lorna, Gladys, Betty and Kate are all affected by the war in very different but equally interesting ways. But it’s not just about the war, it’s about women finding their place and recognising that what they had before wasn’t everything. Bomb Girls is the beginnings of second-wave feminism combined with the angst of war.
Looking for a little women in WWII action? Look no further than Bomb Girls. There’s a variety of different female characters in this show, including a queer woman, and while there are no WOC in the main cast, it does touch on intersectionality in feminism. There’s romance there if you need it, but really this show is all about the relationships between women and on that point it has got Agent Carter beat.
Author: Undie Girl
Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.
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