Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘Undercovers’

“Undercovers” Premiere Review

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 26, 2010

You’ve seen the promos endlessly for the past few months. The new JJ Abrams project. Two married spies who left the business and get pulled back in. I’ve watched two Abrams shows, Lost and Fringe, and after one episode of Undercovers, I can safely say this is no where near as good as either of those shows.

Of course, that comparison isn’t very apt, since it’s such a different type of program. Abrams other well-known project, Alias, is the clear parallel. So is Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was a television show with Scott Bakula before it was a movie with Brad Pitt. I haven’t seen any of those, so I can’t judge Undercovers in that light.

So instead, I’ll judge it against my favorite espionage thriller. 24. Any spy show, be it Nikita or Covert Affairs or Undercovers, will have to live up to the greatest show in that genre of all time. Maybe that’s not fair. 24‘s real-time, constant adrenaline, realistic filming was like no show before it, and probably any show to follow. But that’s what I consider compelling drama. And Undercovers was most of all, not compelling.

For a first episode, it seemed awfully procedural. Maybe that will change, but I feel like I know exactly how every episode will go. Complete with light-hearted scenes back at the couple’s catering business and menial spy tasks designed solely to generate banter between the two. Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are likeable as the stars, but their relationships seems forced. I definitely buy them as husband and wife; that’s not the issue. The problem for me is that all the cute quips and barbs they traded were predictable yet awkward. As if they had been inserted into the script simply to say to viewers “Get it? Being undercover partners isn’t that different from being relationships partners.”

And actually, the details of their investigation were so spotty and secondary that I think this show is actually more about marriage than covert operations. That could be just the necessary introduction to characters, though, in a pilot. The other characters are basically only two: the young agent who idolizes Kodjoe’s character (he was actually very funny…my favorite part of the premiere was his guy-crush) and the senior agent who brings the Blooms back into the fold (played by the usually enjoyable Gerald McRaney…but his harshness is unappealing in this, and definitely a waste of his talent).

With so much to watch in a week, Undercovers didn’t do anything to make me want to tune in regularly. Since there doesn’t seem to be a serial component, it’s just like any other procedural on television. But one without the enjoyable characters (The Defenders) or plot (The Good Wife) as others. The action was very good, though. Especially Kodjoe’s fight on the roof.

Grade: C-

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New on Wednesdays this Fall

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 4, 2010

Wednesday’s were insanely crowded with new shows last year. And this year is no different. I guess people must not watch television in the middle of the week. Last year, ABC premiered four new sitcoms. Incredibly, three of them survived (the one that didn’t, Hank, was an early pick of mine to fail). And of course one of those three won the Emmy for Best Comedy. I don’t see that happening again this year. The hour-long shows were very different. Glee succeeded in becoming popular, while Eastwick, The Beautiful Life and Mercy did not.

This year’s lineup of shows on Wednesday seems fairly bland. Except for my only “must-watch” show, Modern Family, it’s a pretty passable slate of programming. I like Survivor and Lie to Me, others like Criminal Minds and America’s Next Top Model. No slam dunks. I like how the 9pm slot is full of three new shows…all about lawyers. One focuses on the prosecution, one on the defense and one on both. Can’t wait to see how that plays out (actually…can I keep waiting until next year? Say, the summer months when nobody watches television?)

Undercovers

Basics: Spy Drama
Twist: Husband and wife
Stars You Know: Gerald McRaney (Major Dad, Promise Land, Jericho)
Creative Team: Creator JJ Abrams (Lost, Alias), Producer Josh Reims (Brothers & Sisters)
Timeslot: 7:00pm (Wed)
Network: NBC
Going Against: The Middle, Better with You, Survivor, America’s Next Top Model, Hell’s Kitchen
Premiere: September 22

Better with You

Basics: Relationship Sitcom
Twist: “Rules of Engagement,” but all related
Stars You Know: Kurt Fuller (Psych, many guest starring), Debra Jo Rupp (That 70’s Show)
Creative Team: Creator Shana Goldberg-Meehan (Joey), Director James Burrows
Timeslot: 7:30pm (Wed)
Network: ABC
Going Against: Undercovers, Survivor, America’s Next Top Model, Hell’s Kitchen
Premiere: September 22

Hellcats

Basics: College Drama
Twist: Cheeleaders
Stars You Know: Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), Robbie Jones (One Tree Hill), Matt Barr (Harper’s Island), Alyson Michalka (Phil of the Future)
Creative Team: Producer Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives), Tom Welling (Smallville), Director Allan Arkush (Heroes, Crossing Jordan)
Timeslot: 8:00pm (Wed)
Network: CW
Going Against: Modern Family, Hell’s Kitchen, Law & Order SVU, Criminal Minds, Cougar Town
Premiere: September 8

Law & Order: Los Angeles

Basics: Legal Drama
Twist: No Sam Waterson, but other prosecutors
Stars You Know: Skeet Ulrich (Jericho), Alfred Molina (Spiderman 2), Terrence Howard (Iron Man)
Creative Team: Creator Dick Wolf (Law & Order)
Timeslot: 9:00pm (Wed)
Network: NBC
Going Against: Defenders, The Whole Truth, Terriers
Premiere: September 29

Defenders

Basics: Legal Dramedy
Twist: Defense attorneys in Las Vegas
Stars You Know: Jim Belushi (According to Jim), Jerry O’Connell (Sliders, Crossing Jordan)
Creative Team: Nobodies
Timeslot: 9:00pm (Wed)
Network: CBS
Going Against: The Whole Truth, Law & Order: Los Angeles, Terriers
Premiere: September 22

The Whole Truth

Basics: Legal Drama
Twist: Prosecutors and Defenders
Stars You Know: Maura Tierney (ER, NewsRadio), Rob Morrow (Numb3rs)
Creative Team: Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pick a show, any show), Director Alex Graves (The West Wing),
Timeslot: 9:00pm (Wed)
Network: ABC
Going Against: Defenders, Law & Order: Los Angeles, Terriers
Premiere: September 22

Terriers

Basics: Crime Dramedy
Twist: Two friends become private investigators
Stars You Know: Donal Logue (Damages, Grounded for Life), Michael Raymond-James (True Blood)
Creative Team: Creator Ted Griffin (Ocean’s Eleven), Producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield)
Timeslot: 9:00pm (Wed)
Network: FX
Going Against: Defenders, Law & Order: Los Angeles, The Whole Truth
Premiere: September 8

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