I’ve been following My Own Worst Enemy starring Christian Slater since it started.
I really enjoyed it and I found it well written. It intertwined an evolving storyline over a number of episodes that was interlaced with good, old fashioned drama, character tension and one heck of an underlying humor theme between the two personalities the Slater played.
Apparently the complicated theme was too much for viewers – as the ratings were just plain trash from day one and NBC has canceled the show.
Christian Slater played a spy who had a brain chip implant that switched personalities between the No. 1 spy in the agency and his cover, a family man. I found it a confusing premise because I thought there were better ways to have a spy lay low, besides having himself turned off and then risk exposure by raising a family.
The chip breaks and they have no control over when either one would show up. Now in my book, sending your best top-notch spy into action when he could revert to a know nothing family-man is stupid. I admit it. There. I do have a practical perspective.
What I did find engaging was the family-man personality, Henry Spivey, once he understood the situation, struggling to cope with the fact that he is a manufactured personality that never really existed except in the chip. As he tries to deal with this situation, he fights to take control of the life he thinks he knows. But spy-master Edward Albright quietly discovers the deeds that Henry pulls off and thwarts him at every turn.
It’s the master battle of siblings, within the same body!
The humor I found entertaining was the way they took shots at each other:
-Henry broke his own finger to try and keep Edward from going on missions. Edward got even by not taking pain meds.
-Henry give Edwards favorite watch away in a deal. Edward gets it back, and messed with something of Henry’s.
It was this constant subterfuge of little things that kept some levity to the show.
The funniest part was when Edward would spend “quality” time with his (Henry’s) wife. The next morning, Henry would find his wife extra lovey and ask him why he never did the hummingbird before? After a moments thought, he understood and wasn’t happy. After that, on and off Henry would wake up, look under the sheets, and cuss.
Yet they could work together and Henry was catching on to the spy game, so there was a good balance of teamwork and angst.
Though I really enjoyed the show, realistically I didn’t think it was going to last. This show HAD to have been followed from the onset to understand the complicated story line or you’d never get it. And that is why, IMHO, the ratings have floundered every week and Enemy has been canceled. I felt the writing and character development were on par with Journeyman, but the subject was just too plain convoluted and doomed to failure. The Nielsen families just wanted to go home and relax. Not have to wrap their minds around an intricate story line. It probably didn’t help that the show followed the floundering epic tale of confusion called Heroes either, and people could only take so much convolution in one night.
If they had dropped the malfunctioning chip crap and just had Henry, as himself, dealing with Edward’s enemies if they had discovered his home life, it just may have been a doable, more understandable story line. I applaud the original idea, but they needed to make it simpler. Just one man dealing with his cover and his job. Instead, they kept adding other split-chip personality agents to the storyline and I was getting confused of and on despite being on-board from day one.
In days gone past, if a show was floundering, they’d inject a hot looking character in the story and hope that would work. It was always my warning bell when this happened to shows I liked. But in this economy, sponsors and advertisers are acting more swiftly to recoup their monies when and where they can.
Oh well. I know some of you are probably happy that Slater will be out of your hair, but I enjoyed Slater in this temporary role and hope something else comes along. He brings an intensity to the screen that I enjoy.
They are going to wrap filming their 9th episode, and write off the other 4 of the 13 episodes they had ordered. I think NBC should stick to the commitment and really go out with a bang instead, but that’s just my take.
I’m bummed and I don’t think any mass campaign to save the show would work, Besides, what would we do? Mail them thousands of old memory chips from our old computers?
Sorry about the crummy news, Slater fans.
Source: TV Guide