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The WB's FEARLESS: Need We Fear It''

I am – Hercules!!

“Fearless” is about a hot undercover FBI agent with a helpful genetic abnormality: she cannot feel fear!

The good news? It’s from impossibly successful producers Jerry Bruckheimer & Jonathan Littman (“CSI,” “CSI: Miami,” “Without A Trace,” “Skin,” “Cold Case”). The better news? It stars drool-worthy Rachael Leigh Cook (“Josie and the Pussycats”) and fondly remembered “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” players Eric Balfour (“24,” “Veritas: The Quest”) and Bianca Lawson (“Save the Last Dance”).

Starting this fall, “Fearless” airs 9 p.m. Tuesdays on the WB, opposite “24,” “Frasier,” “According To Jim” and “The Guardian.”

“Hacker” says the show “frequently strains credibility” and “will draw a lot of comparisons to ‘Alias’ because of its premise, but right now it's more on par with ‘Dark Angel’ in terms of quality.” “Mr. Blonde” calls it “crap.”

Here’s “Hacker”:


Cast: Rachael Leigh Cook, Eric Balfour, Bianca Lawson, Ian Somerhalder, Erich Anderson, Judith Hoag, Gregory Itzin

Airs: Tuesdays 9PM ET/PT on the WB

Premise: Gaia Moore (Cook), a 23-year-old FBI agent is recruited for the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), a unit made up of young agents whose job is to take down the increasing number of young criminals. And, oh yeah, she also happens to have been born without the gene for fear. (Side note: The show is loosely based on a series of successful young-adult books. I've never read any of them, but from what I gather the character in the show is older (shocking for the WB) and the FBI angle is new. Also, although the preview page at the WB website describes Gaia as 21 and a member of "The Y Unit," the pilot and the network's official press release describe her as 23 and the unit as the SIU. Weird.) The basic plot of the pilot revolves around Gaia being recruited for the unit and helping to take down a group of identity thieves who run up people's credit card bills and drain their bank accounts. Gaia is aided by her new partners, Harmony (Lawson) and Ryan (Balfour). During the course of the pilot we learn that Ryan is a trust-fund baby trying to prove himself, while Harmony grew up in the ghetto, but worked hard to get out. Harmony and Ryan don't completely trust Gaia, and while trying to learn more about her, discover that access to her FBI profile is restricted. Gaia, meanwhile, has always felt like an outsider and is reluctant to let anyone know about her unusual genetic defect. We also learn that Gaia was largely raised by her godmother (Hoag) and godfather (Anderson) because Gaia's father (a green-beret and CIA agent) took off when she was young because he felt responsible for Gaia's mother's death. Gaia is aided in her efforts not only by her new partners, but by Jordan (Somerhalder), a former identity thief who was recently busted by the FBI and is using his connections to help them take down his old associates.

Review: While a lot of the premise sounds pretty cliché on paper, it actually manages to come off less so on screen. However, the show definitely needs some work. The dialogue is often unrealistic or cheesy (using the word "fearless" several times in the show certainly didn't help) and the show frequently strains credibility. For example, at the beginning of the pilot Gaia is already an FBI agent. Instead of being called into her boss's office and transferred to the SIU, she gets pulled over while in her car and has a semi-secret meeting with the Special Agent in Charge. In a post-"Alias" world a scene in which Gaia used a fire hose to bungee jump down a flight of stairs didn't faze me. However, a scene in which she and Jordan discuss the possibility of his cover being blown while sitting right across the table from one of the criminals, and another in which Harmony and Ryan hustle Gaia and Jordan into a van right outside of one of the criminal's buildings both seemed kind of ridiculous. And while the pilot establishes that Gaia is a loner, having her knock out Jordan's ex-girlfriend to prevent her from blowing his cover instead of simply having Harmony or Ryan escort her out of the building made little to no sense.

Having Rachael Leigh Cook as the lead is also a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand she's a recognizable name who fits right in with the WB image. On the other hand, she may not be charismatic enough to pull off the lead. Sure Gaia doesn't feel fear, but from the pilot it's hard to tell if she feels any emotions at all. Harmony makes a point of telling Gaia that she sees nothing when she looks into her eyes, and it's hard to argue otherwise because Cook comes off as a complete blank on screen. In fairness though, the pilot never really requires her to display a wide range of emotions, and hopefully she'll be able to do so if/when the script requires. The rest of the cast is filled out with recognizable faces who've all been on the WB before. Eric Balfour and Ian Somerhalder have proven themselves capable actors in "Six Feet Under" and "The Rules of Attraction" respectively, but the show might have been better served if they had swapped roles. Somerhalder, having played a typical rich kid in "The Rules of Attraction" and "Young Americans" seems better suited for the role of Ryan, while Balfour, who played computer whiz Milo on "24," seems better suited for the role of Jordan. The pilot also establishes a possible romance between Gaia and Jordan which is unfortunate because Cook and Balfour have more chemistry on screen and Somerhalder is prettier than Cook is anyway. However, it's hard to know how exactly Somerhalder's character will be involved in the future because he's not an FBI agent and it's doubtful that every episode will revolve around identity theft.

My one other complaint with the show is the way in which Gaia's background is introduced. The pilot starts off with voiceover that plainly states that she was born without the gene for fear. Thus, when Gaia finally reveals this to her partners, it comes off as anti-climatic. Anyone who tunes into the show is bound to know her condition already, but given Gaia's resolve to keep it a secret, the show would have worked better had it simply established that Gaia was "different" and not revealed exactly how until the end. The voiceover also never explains how or why Gaia joined the FBI in the first place, or why she didn't join the SIU right out of the academy, and little reason is given for her sudden transfer. However, because the version I saw only ran 38 minutes without commercials it's likely that some scenes will need to be added, and voiceover explaining a little more of Gaia's background would be an easy way to make the pilot longer.

Like I said, the show could use some work, but the premise has potential and all of the ingredients are there for it to be successful. There was a review on the net a few months ago from someone who saw a scene being filmed for the pilot and described it as looking "thrown together." This wasn't the case with the version I saw, and in fact, the scene that that person described never appeared in the pilot. The show is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and the production values are on par with his other shows. Those shows are all crime-fighting ones so hopefully the writers won't have any trouble coming up with interesting cases for the unit. However, they'll also have to balance those with more personal stories, and the pilot did a better job of giving us a glimpse into the character's personal lives than the awkward attempts made on "C.S.I." The pilot also had a few cool scenes demonstrating Gaia's lack of fear (her voice never spikes on an audio lie detector, and at one point she's willing to let a bullet pass through her in order to take down her captor) and it will be interesting to see how the writers incorporate her fearlessness into future episodes. I'm assuming this show will draw a lot of comparisons to "Alias" because of its premise, but right now it's more on par with "Dark Angel" in terms of quality. Like most shows, though, whether or not it's a success will really depend on the quality of future episodes, and how much of a chance people are willing to give it.

Here’s “Mr. Blonde”:

"Fearless". For those who dont know the premise, Rachael Leigh Cook (Shes All That, Josie and the Pussycats) portrays a young FBI agent named Gaia, not quite like the rest of her fellow feds. You see, Gaia was born without the gene for fear, so there's no mission Gaia not willing to take (WOW!). As she explains, she understands fear, shes not insane, but she just doesnt "feal it in (her) gut". Not just that but, apparently, she still has the adrenilline rush that normally acompanies fear, or something like that, so she is able to have super-strength and senses in times of crisis. Now, if your like me, you might be thinking this is possibly the stupidest fucking premise ever, but wait, it gets worse. You see, because of her reckless nature, no one really wants to work with Gaia. They dont know about her abnormality, they just know shes weird. In steps her Godfather, a senior FBI agent who's got a mission for her. Apparently, Gaia's parents are dead, or something like that, so her Godfather raised and looked out for her. I might be slightly mistaken by that, but lets just say the plot wasnt exactly drawing me in. Anyway, her G-Man G-dad knows about her abnormality, he just keeps it secret. His new assignment for her, is to head a squad of young, goodlooking, FBI agents, who are able to go were normal agents cant (Think "Fastlane" or "21 Jump Street"). This group consists of Ryan played by Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under, 24, and Kids Incorporated(seriously)). Also in the squad is Harmony played by Bianca Lawson (Kendra the Vampire Slayer from "Buffy"). By the end of the pilot, the group also includes a young hacker/con-man name Jordan played by Ian Somerhalder (Young Americans, Rules of Attraction) who convienently gets asked to join the crew as a Confidential Informant. Each character has a cheesy backstory, Ryan is the son of a wealthy and famous lawyer, Harmony is from da' hood and is actually described as "Lil' Kim goes cop", or some such crap. And Jordan is the son of a ruthless criminal who the crew is trying to takedown, in the pilot. Needless to say, through the course of the pilot, her squad keeps asking why Gaia's so "kaaarrraaaazzzy", which she reveals to them at episodes end. All in all, the pilot wat CRAP. The acting is mediocre at best. The premise is rediculous. FBI agents are not that young and do not look like that. But my biggest problem was the horrid exposition by Gaia through-out the show. The opening of the show is a voice over by Gaia explaining her oddity, flat out. Theres no mistry, no build up, nothing. It tries to present itself as a cool concept being explained to the audience, trying to hit them suddenly and exspecting the audience to go "Wow", instead you think, "thats retarded." If it had been played out over the episode, it might have been more believable when her exact abnormality is revealed, but instead its rediculous. Oh well, I guess the WB isn't know for it's subtlety.

My grade for the pilot "Fearless": D.

I am – Hercules!!

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