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Agent Elvis

Entry updated 15 May 2023. Tagged: TV.

US animated tv series (2023-current). Sony Pictures, Titmouse. Created by Priscilla Presley and John Eddie. Directed by Gary Ye. Writers include Mike Arnold, John Eddie and Matt Roller. Voice cast includes Don Cheadle, Gary Cole, Kieran Culkin, Tom Kenny, Johnny Knoxville, Jason Mantzoukas, Matthew McConaughey and Kaitlin Olson. Ten 22-minute episodes. Colour.

As the 1960s close and the 1970s begin, Elvis Presley (McConaughey) (see Music) resents the life his manager has locked him into: Las Vegas, bad films and Christmas specials ("with Tiny Tim and the Elvis Elves"), plus the occasional flashback from a traumatic buried Memory. Elvis works off his frustration by being a vigilante, killing mafia bosses and drug barons; he is aided in this work by Shatter (Kenny), a psychotic, alcoholic, Drug- and Sex-fiend who is also a diaper-wearing ex-NASA chimpanzee of human intelligence (presumably Uplifted). Elvis's other friend is driver Bobby Ray (Knoxville), who knows the importance of keeping your head down when things kick off.

When Charles Manson and his followers try to kill Elvis he is saved by leather catsuited secret agent CeCe Ryder (Olson) – who recalls an Americanized version of the Cathy Gale/Emma Peel characters from the The Avengers (1961-1969). She works for TCB, a secret, centuries old-quasi-governmental organization led by The Commander (Cheadle), which uses advanced Technology and celebrities – the latter because they possess the will to succeed – to shape history and "to keep America safe" (see Paranoia; Secret Masters). Other staff include Stanley Kubrick, who helped fake the Moon landing, and Howard Hughes (Mantzoukas), a Mad Scientist whose Inventions include DNA-altering Nanotechnology and "Enhanced being-thereness" (a term he prefers to Virtual Reality). Elvis agrees to join the group, though not happy with CeCe Ryder being his supervisor. TCB probably stands for "Taking Care of Business", our Elvis's motto.

Adventures are had, often combating the effects of a device that turns people into homicidal maniacs. Elvis eventually becomes soured, not only from the lack of jet packs (see Flying), but also from discovering his hero President Nixon (Cole) is racist and from the growing suspicion that TCB are morally, at best, a very dark grey – the latter concern exacerbated when he learns his flashbacks are due to their experimenting on him when in the army. They had hoped to weaponize the effect he had on audiences as a means of mind control: unfortunately the resulting technology converts people into uncontrollable homicidal maniacs. This device was then stolen by agents of Gabriel Wolf (Culkin), a Religious maniac who blames the singer for the death of his father, so intends to use it to destroy his reputation by hijacking the satellite broadcasting Elvis's Hawaii concert, turning millions of viewers into killers. Shatter is rocketed to the satellite to disable it – with a nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – whilst Elvis and CeCe Ryder tidy up loose ends in Hawaii, using – to the former's delight – jetpacks. By the end of the first season the crisis has ended, though Wolf escapes and Elvis might be dead.

An Alternate History, with this Elvis being sharper witted, healthier and more sober than ours; nevertheless elements of his life are used to shape the character, such as his interest in self-defence and receiving a federal narcotics badge (albeit honorary) from Nixon. Agent Elvis is a funny, violent series: there is not too much emotional depth, but the wisecracking Humour and art style prevent this being a problem. [SP]


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