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There was a time when a lot of animated projects were greenlit or crafted because of reasons that are either tying-in with a recently released film, have some major celebrity attached to it, or selling some brand-spanking new toy. While that still happens in some cases, like a ton of anime being based on video games, mobile games, or what have you, it has slowed down a bit elsewhere. We still get the occasional toy tie-in show like Transformers: Earthspark, but the “oh I’m a big celebrity and want to have my own cartoon” era seems to be done with. I mean, it’s hard to find a way to make a show work with the celebrity in question unless you go all out in a certain direction. For example, we have this editorial’s impressions on Agent Elvis, an adult action-comedy animated series now on Netflix.
The show was created by the late Priscilla Presley and John Eddie, who were also executive producers on the show. It unleashes adventures of the rockabilly god himself going on spy missions on the side of being, well, Elvis. Obviously, by the trailers and the premise, this won’t be the most historically accurate plot of all time, but if you want something normal out of someone like Elvis, then you might expect to see something in the same vein as Baz Lurhman’s Elvis film from last year. Now how different the history is and what kind of twists and turns the tales take, well, you will have to see for yourself.
For the most part, the reason to be excited to check out this series is to watch the lovely animation with designs by the amazing and always fantastic Robert Valley. Even for a TV budget, Titmouse, the studio that handled the animation, pulled off a very fun-looking show with some of the most stylish animations of the year so far. Also, it is always nice to see an action spy show in the sea of shows that tend to be more slice-of-life comedies until they start to branch out into their own things. Here, you better love the concept of Elvis being a secret agent because it is pretty much all of that. The cast is stacked with Matthew McConaughey as the rock icon himself, and he does a good job of portraying him. It’s nice to see a main character who is married and loves his wife and does not want to fully indulge in trope-filled spy stuff. I mean, granted, there is a lot of spy stuff and tropes, but it doesn’t fully overshadow Elvis as a character. It flips a few of the tropes and still makes for a compelling story of why Elvis is doing this spy stuff during the second half of the season’s 10 episodes. The rest of the cast is also good, including Tom Kenny, Johnny Knoxville, Kaitlin Olsen, Niecy Nash, and Don Cheadle who plays a delightful dirtbag. However, the journey of watching this film has one major hurdle.
I think the one real downside about this show is how a lot of this show’s entertainment value is coming from the absurd action and Robert Valley’s amazing designs and visuals. Those are the best parts of the show on top of the incredible voice cast. Why is that? Personally, the biggest hurdle and issue this show has as far as this batch of episodes goes is how it has amazing visuals, but its comedy writing is a very traditional feeling in the adult animation feel. It’s crass, shocking, violent, horny, and extremely quippy in the vein of shows like Archer. It has its moments where it all gels well and can be a truly bombastic ride of watching Elvis save the day, but a lot of it is your typical crass adult animation writing. I get this is meant to be an over-the-top experience, like being akin to the other absurd horror-comedy Bubba Ho-Tep, but it feels as though they are trying very hard with its dialogue at times. McConaughey, Kaitlin Olsen, Johnny Knoxville, Niecy Nash, Tom Kenny, and Don Cheadle can only carry so much of this show on their shoulders, and the show needed to either polish up its dialogue or tone down the massive number of quips that it throws at the audience. It’s not as obnoxious as it sounds in this paragraph, but there were definitely times when it felt like the tone clashed with certain story beats because it’s trying to be edgy and above it all. It works better when the entire show is on all cylinders, when it’s focusing on the fun camp and grindhouse premise with some focus on the overarching themes of Elvis and his history. It’s a shame, because so much of the typical crass adult animation comedy stuff takes up a lot of time, when it’s the stuff outside of the crass bits that makes it a fun time!
Agent Elvis is a rather rocky rockabilly time that is fun to watch, but if you are tired of the typical adult animated comedy elements, then you might not enjoy this one. If you are looking for something other than Archer with a similar premise and style of execution though, then you will probably want to check this show out! It’s now available on Netflix, and while it has its rough edges, I hope people support it due to how terrible Netflix’s renewal system works on what gets renewed or canceled. IT Doesn’t help that the algorithm is the worst thing ever, forcing users of Netflix to curate their own playlists and so on. If you are wanting a rocking and a rolling good time, then get inside your bright pink Cadillac and have yourself an explosive good time.