Ain't It Cool News (

Hercules Deems J.J. Abrams’
Biggest Disappointment!!

I am – Hercules!!
Pilot scores: A . Felicity A+ Alias A+ Lost A . Fringe C+ Undercovers Those four prior J.J. Abrams-scripted pilots left me dying to learn what happens in episode two. Not so “Undercovers.” I’ll check out next week's second installment out of respect for the Bad Robot brand, but I’ve no confidence I’ll make it to episode three. I even liked the pilot for “What About Brian” (an Abrams-produced pilot he neither wrote or directed) better than the one for “Undercovers.” Scripted by Abrams and Josh Reims (“Felicity,” “What About Brian?”) and directed by Abrams, the first hour of "Undercovers" sounds a little like Abrams’ “Mission: Impossible III” and a lot like a sequel to Abrams’ “Alias.” It’s about a pair of married ex-CIA agents (played by foreigners Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) lured out of retirement (and away from their catering business) by a CIA honcho played by Gerald McRaney. Their mission is to find an old spy friend gone missing. “Undercovers” differs from “Alias” in that it contains no sci-fi element and takes itself a lot less seriously. Maybe not seriously enough, as there’s seldom any real sense of peril. There’s one solid comic moment, one we’ve seen in the promos, in which the marrieds catch each other going behind each other’s back to take the new CIA assignment. The expression on Mbatha-Raw’s face is hilarious but, again, we saw it in the promo. Another highlight is when the gorgeous Mbatha-Raw pulls a Grace Park and strips down to her undies while working undercover. The signature Abrams lens-flare makes a cameo, as if to remind us how much better “Star Trek” was than what we’re watching. USA Today says:
… the plot moves in lockstep from clue to clue without building any excitement or tension. Mbatha-Raw and Kodjoe are appealing performers, but their approach here is so casual and heat-free that nothing ever seems to be at risk. …
The New York Times says:
… feels like a “Harry Potter” for bored, involuntary celibates in midlife. … The banter between the Blooms is so full of cloying sugar substitutes and so devoid of any real tension that there is no voyeuristic thrill to be had even from their — I’m just going to say it, because the show does — “sexpionage.” The gazes they exchange are part soft pornography, part Lifetime television. Someone just give these people a cooking show.
The Los Angeles Times says:
… The writers seem so concerned with ensuring that their characters are preternaturally decent and likable that they go for sunny skies when there should be storm clouds. In the pilot, the main source of tension — Steven believes that Leo has turned and Samantha does not — never quite gets off the ground or under either character's skin, which is a shame. …
The Washington Post says:
… For all its jumpy, shooty, sexy potential, "Undercovers" is going nowhere if the spy cases are all as boring and predictable as the first episode's. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… adds nothing to the spy show genre. …
TV Squad says:
… 'Undercovers' looks great. But if you're looking for anything more than superficial eye-candy, you may be disappointed by this J.J. Abrams-Josh Reims espionage drama, which ditches much of what was good about Abrams' previous spy show, 'Alias,' and replaces it with, well, a whole lot of pretty-looking nothing. …
HitFix says:
… a show that does many things reasonably well, but nothing spectacularly. “Chuck” does both the romance and comedy better (this show’s attempt to use the made-up word “sexpionage” as a running gag falls flat), “Human Target” has cooler fights (considering that Abrams is directing, the mediocre action is probably the most disappointing part of “Undercovers”) … Everything seems like it should be fantastic, but I wanted more.
The San Franciso Chronicle says:
… It's light but predictable fun and airs at the family-friendly hour of 8 p.m., even though lots of people die in the pilot. Even with all that gunplay, "Undercovers" proceeds slowly, emphasizes witty banter and, if you miss "Moonlighting" and, duh, "Alias," this could be a fine alternative, even though it won't surprise you. …
The Boston Herald says:
… a woebegone spy drama with nary a hint of intelligence. Call it “The Quantum of Stupor.” …
The Boston Globe says:
… one of Abrams’s weakest TV ventures, one that is as bland as “Lost,’’ “Alias,’’ “Felicity,’’ and “Fringe’’ are original. The light-hearted international espionage series is predictable, pointless, and, worst of all, cutesy. It’s as if Abrams and fellow executive producer Josh Reims spent an afternoon watching “Alias’’ and thinking about how to dumb it down and strip it of any emotional underpinnings. …
Variety says:
… the show itself in some respects mirrors the initial problem with the central duo's relationship -- comfortable, perhaps, but failing to spark the kind of passion necessary to elicit fidelity from viewers. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… breaks no new ground creatively, opting for formulaic chase sequences from one exotic locale to the next and wooden banter delivered by its attractive central duo that might have been zesty and delicious had Abrams and company had the good sense to cultivate the kind of Nick and Nora Charles-derived wit that fueled "Hart to Hart" through multiple seasons. Instead, "Undercovers" settles for deadly dull dialogue like "one more case -- we're in, we're out, we're done" that keeps the series and its young, sexy marrieds-under-fire trapped in its own lazy shortcomings.
8 p.m. Wednesday. NBC.
Follow Herc on Twitter!! Follow Evil Herc on Twitter!!
2 In Blu!!
140 Blu-rays Under $10!!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus