Undercovers Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated September 22nd, 2010 at 8:41 pm,

undercovers nbc.permiere Undercovers Series Premiere Review & Discussion

In an attempt to fill the void of a much-needed spy series on network television, J.J. Abrams brings up his newest creation, Undercovers, to NBC. With a slight nod to past series, Abrams intent was to take the typical spy story (or spies, in this case) and make it more personal and character based.

In order to accomplish this, Abrams set the plot of Undercovers around the Bloom family, Steven (Boris Kodjoe) and Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). This happily married couple were, at one time, the best spies in the CIA. Following retirement, the Blooms decided to open up a catering business, which is where we currently find them. Of course, as television would have us believe, you never really retire from the CIA. With that, our gastronomic duo are pulled back into action.

It’s been almost 6 years since J.J. Abrams directed a series pilot - Lost. Will Abrams and company have as much luck as they did all those years ago?

Preview (courtesy of NBC)

When fellow spy and good friend Leo Nash (Carter MacIntyre, American Heiress, Nip/Tuck) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss and agency liaison, Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, Deadwood, Jericho), to locate and rescue Nash. With assistance from resourceful CIA field agent Bill Hoyt (Ben Schwartz, Parks and Recreation, Bronx World Travelers), whose professional admiration for Steven isn’t hard to miss, the pair is thrust back into the world of espionage, disguises and hand-to-hand combat. Following leads that take them to cities spanning the globe, Steven and Samantha quickly realize that perhaps this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides exactly the kind of excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing.

Review

When a television series touts the name J.J. Abrams, it has a lot to live up to. Abrams has proven himself to be visionary in both television and film – something that has made him one of the most sought-after players in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, Undercovers doesn’t live up to the quality that one would expect from the geek idol.

undercovers nbc cast premiere Undercovers Series Premiere Review & Discussion

Set in the absurd world where a married couple owns a catering business, while also being ex-spies, viewers have no choice but to be confused and turned-off by such a convoluted premise. Fortunately, Undercovers is aware of their poorly realized setting and quickly shifts its focus to getting the couples back into the spy game and on a mission.

Throughout the pilot, we’re witness to many awkward jokes and “humorous” interactions as tracking down their generic bad guy of the week overlaps with the catering of a wedding, for which they were hired. Much of the interaction between the husband and wife consists of bickering about who’s going to feed the dog or, to a greater extent, who slept with who on a previous mission. This aspect, while completely over-done, does at times serve its purpose of elevating what would have been typically a boring scene. While the suzy-homemaker aspect of the series verges on annoying, the spy portion is pretty entertaining.

Almost every element of this series is mediocre compared to any other television show, past or present. Nothing is particularly well-executed, but you will find yourself truly enjoying certain scenes – something that I attribute to the two lead actors. If there is one thing that’s going to make this series work and have viewers tuning in week-after-week, it’s Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw are the perfectly cast couple for this particular series. While much of their relationship in the pilot consists of frivolous arguments and constant bickering, they are able to elevate themselves, and their characters, above the poor plot and weak writing.

undercovers premiere world 570x380 Undercovers Series Premiere Review & Discussion

In the end, Undercovers is much less about the spy world than it is about watching these characters interact throughout the various tasks that they were given. While some aspects of that work, it’s unfortunate that not much is revealed about what we may see these characters tackle in the future. There is no lingering subplot or greater evil revealed in the pilot. With that, viewers are left wondering if week-after-week they’ll witness the same type of story where in the end, the characters will come out on top.

While some people may take the wait-and-see approach with Undercovers, there are far better new series out there that instantly deliver. Take Lone Star, for example.

Final Thoughts

While Undercovers is entertaining, it feels as if we’ve seen this type of series before – not only on television, but specifically from J.J. Abrams (read: Alias). For those that tune in, you won’t see any groundbreaking television or sub-plots hinting that there’s something “larger” going other than what’s being shown – what you see is what you get.

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Undercovers airs Wednesday’s @8pm, on NBC.

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21 Comments

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  1. Cool Show. I’m watching it now.

  2. As exceptional as the first two seasons of Alias were, the show took itself very seriously. Undercovers seems to be having fun & the stars are charming & natural. It has styling similar to Chuck and even a bit of True Lies, in my opinion.

    Also, I thought Boris Kodjoe turned in one of the better performances in Resident Evil: Afterlife.

  3. the show was interesting and I will tune in again. Seems to be better than the Monday and Tuesday shows. Should do good.

  4. The chemistry between the two stars of the show made it worth watching. The fact that they are both ridiculously attractive does not hurt.

  5. Dope or Nope?
    Unfortunately, this show was really bad, as in the writing was God awful. Yes the actors have tons of potential but that potential has been squandered.. I’m always expecting a tour de force a JJ Abrams and this was drip drab at best, luke warm and vanilla. The showrunners have created an annoying double world, playing it very safe. Perhaps a good show for the kids, but I doubt a season 2 will be in teh works. For intelligent adults, the pilot was weak be any standards and by JJ’s yardstick this was a huge fail imo.
    So far The Event was excellent, and I have Detroit 1-8-7 qued up to watch, hope it’s great.
    Boardwalk Empire is by far the most compelling new show I’ve seen and I’m crushing on Dexter’s premiere coming up.
    Btw, after about 20 minutes in, I really liked Hawaii 5-0, it was funny and fast and fresh. A great action/cop episodic and I’m not a big episodic fan. So good on them. Scott Caan killed it 100%

    • I agree with you that the Event was EXCELLENT!!! TV at it’s BEST! I LOVED it :-)

      • Finally someone who saw what I saw. I was going for this show all the way cause I am a fan of Boris, however, I had to make myself watch the show, and I can not tell you what happened still. The fight scenes, fake, the acting not a spy drama””, the chemistry where did you people see any, the plot what plot. Even the preview for this week was the worse, by far this is one of the worse new shows on tv, will I watch it tonight, I will give it one more try if I can stay awake. Now, the Event good pilot, and Detroit 1-8-7, good pilot you knew what they were going for unlike Undercover it seems as though forget the writing, lets hope the audience will not care and just look at the attractivness of the actor/actress.

  6. i actually have ZERO interest in this show, i’ll stick to my Burn Notice and Covert Affairs. TVland is getting to be flooded with spy shows.

  7. I was totally psyched for this show. What a let down. I am completely flabbergasted that Abrams WROTE and DIRECTED the pilot.

    It was truly bad. It seems like something pulled out of the 80s. Reminded me of Heart2Heart.

    How is it possible this is an Abrams product?

    I had to go back and watch the amazing Alias pilot immediately after just to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

    Wow, now THAT was an amazing pilot!

  8. I enjoyed the pilot, I’ll definitely keep watching. As for the lack of “sub-plot” I don’t expect that from any pilot. And I thought Lone-star had tanked already.

  9. I thought the pilot was terrible. Yes it could have taken a page, two or the whole dang script from the Alias plot. There was no depth and I never saw SPIES smile so dang much. There were two points that the author got wrong in this review:
    1. there was a sub plot…the was a reason they were brought back in and they don’t know it yet.
    2. To be two EXTREMELY attractive (okay MAD HOT) people, they had no chemistry. My husband thought they had “married” chemistry, which meant they bickered well, but they didn’t sizzle.
    All in all I ended up turning the tv off with 20 minutes left to go because of a bad storm, but I can’t picture tuning in again.

  10. I loved the show. I thought the characters were upbeat, fun and attractive. I loved the fast paced action. I did not like Alias as it was too depressing and dark for me. The characters had too much angst in that show. Hopefully Gugu Mbatha-Raw damsel in distress abilities are put to full use.

  11. I liked the show-near the end was awesome. Brois Kojode is is SMOKING HOT HUNK!!!

  12. Extremely mediocre, I seriously could not believe that JJ Abrams directed this pilot. To go from “Star Trek” to this, I wouldn’t even think it was the same guy. This type of show/plot/premise has been done to death already, I wish they’d move on and find something that is actually fresh.

  13. Am I the only one that is completely distracted by Boris Kodjoe’s ridiculously-huge, bald head?

  14. I actually reqally liked this show. It was a bit slow at first but soon gained momentoum. The chemistry between the two stars is electric! They really wrok well together and make a believeable couple. I’ll watch it again. And yes it helps that they are both exceptionally attractive!

  15. Not even interested.
    Ask yourself, is this show anywhere near the quality of a Breaking Bad or Dexter,,,? if no, then why even bother.

    I recently watched the Warehouse 13 finale and was completly underwhelmed. Some seriously boring recycled cliche writting. And the premise was recycled as well.

  16. One of the worse new shows. Shoot. Really bad.

  17. I liked the show. The characters, hello=two African American leads!, are easy to watch. And they went to Madrid!

    • Yeah, yeah, and Paris and Moscow

  18. I love the show it is the best
    keep doing what you are doing
    I will watch all the time.