‘Agent Elvis’ series review: Fun but best consumed in tiny doses

A still from ‘Agent Elvis’
A still from ‘Agent Elvis’ 

Agent Elvis is an adult animated television show that poses the ultimate question, “What if Elvis Presley was a secret agent?” The series was co-created by Elvis’s former wife, Priscilla Presley, and is based on real-life events, including Elvis’s meeting with former US President Richard Nixon. The show follows Elvis, who is not only a rockstar but also a karate expert, as he works for the ultra-secret TCB, using his fame and karate skills to fight evil while excelling in his day job.

The show’s ten episodes feature historical figures, including mass murderer Charles Manson, psychedelic guru Timothy Leary, celebrated director Stanley Kubrick, genius aviator and producer Howard Hughes, President Nixon, and Pricilla Presley, playing herself. The show’s director, Baz Luhrmann, also makes an appearance, and the disembodied head of Walt Disney adds to the show’s unique meta-humor.

The show begins in Burbank, California, in 1968, where Elvis Presley (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) is hanging out with his best friend Bobby Ray (Johnny Knoxville) and psychotic chimpanzee Scatter (Tom Kenny). Bertie (Niecy Nash) acts as a mother figure to Elvis and is secretly dating Captain Kirk. The Manson family targets Elvis, and CeCe (Kaitlin Olson) introduces him to the TCB, a spy organization.

Elvis is quickly drawn into the TCB’s shadowy world, where he meets Doyle (Asif Ali), the Commander’s assistant, and Hughes (Jason Mantzoukas), the quartermaster. The Commander (Don Cheadle) explains that the TCB has been recruiting celebrities, including Mark Twain and Ben Franklin, as agents for years. Elvis’s first mission is retrieving a sonic weapon that turns people into homicidal maniacs, which he retrieves during the Altamont Free Concert. His second mission is breaking into the White House, and he later finds himself in Vietnam, performing for the troops while also searching for the aforementioned sonic mind control weapon.

The show is filled with references to iconic films like Apocalypse Now, including the death of a water buffalo and choppers against the sun. Leary, who says he invented “the hallucinogenic business model,” must be found, Elvis is experiencing strange flashbacks, the Commander knows more than he is saying, and an ultra-secret facility must be broken into with a plastercast of a penis.

The series has both crude and classy jokes, including a running gag of Elvis being over the hill at 33. The finale sees the sonic mind control weapon in a shark’s mouth, with George Lucas finding inspiration for the lightsaber (which he first calls the laser sword), and the episode ends with a sunset, as the Commander insists on all missions “ending with flying into the sunset.”

Agent Elvis is a unique and entertaining show that presents an alternate reality for one of the most significant icons in American history. The series combines humor, action, and history, and the voice acting is exceptional, with Matthew McConaughey giving a standout performance as Elvis Presley. While the show is irreverent and absurd at times, it is also a loving tribute to Elvis and his impact on American culture. Fans of Elvis and animated series should give Agent Elvis a watch.

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