Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Newest Recruit: Covert Affairs

For those who weren't aware (as I wasn't before Page48's post yesterday), USA's newest spy series "Covert Affairs" premiered last night (7/13) at 10pm. This is the first new show I've made a point of watching since...well, it's been a while. And I'm happy to say while I had a few annoyances with little things, I'm glad I stayed up past my bedtime to see it.

*** BEWARE: Some spoilerish content below***

The plot for about the first half seemed a bit weak, but got stronger toward the end with a few twists I didn't see coming. I didn't care much for the instant beach cheesy-ish flashbacks in the first scene, and the unnecessary dumming-it-down flashback toward the end of the "real" bad guy (uh yeah I remember him...just saw him 20 mins ago...). I do like the characters of Annie and Auggie so far. I'm undecided on their two CIA superiors at this point, but like the complexity their marriage adds to the dynamic. I wonder if the likable Auggie will end up being more than what he seems as the friendly blind tech-opps guy (w/ way more mojo than Marshall could ever hope for). Overall I give the pilot an A- for decent character development, good action (I liked the more realistic fight scene at the end that was anything but neat and pretty), and the possibility for interesting serial plotlines along with weekly mission fun. I believe I will be tuning in next week. :)

What did you think?

Photo from USA Network website

92 comments:

SRM said...

Reposting Robetron's thoughts from the previous article (and thanks for the congrats!)

*******

ALIAS reborn? Not even close.

Yet, Miss Piper Pebo brings a capable, tough, expressive sweetness that I can only characterize as Sydney-esque.

Something tells me that, while the premier cannot be compared to the absolute genius of "Truth Be Told", the makers of Covert Affairs are setting us up for some seriously decent story lines. I look forward to the next episode.

-R.

Page48 said...

Certainly getting mixed reviews.

On the negative side, this one isn't flattering at all.

On the other hand, this is a good deal more positive, while still finding room for improvement.

The best blog title I came across this morning: "There Is More Than One Sydney Bristow", although we already know that CA is, at best "Alias"-Lite.

Now, I just have to wait for that wacky illegal download before I can form my own opinion, so I likely won't see it till tomorrow night. Oddly enough, local broadcast TV brings me "White Collar" and "Royal Pains", both USA shows (that I have no interest in), but won't show me "Burn Notice" or "Covert Affairs". Apparently, there is no appetite for spy shows in Canada, which might explain why "Alias" came on at 4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoons (an abomination that I will NEVER forgive CTV for).

SRM said...

Huh, that first review sounds like it was done by a bitter ex boyfriend, or someone who tried out for a role on the show and didn't get it. Just seems extra biased against the show, and not w/ much real reason.

I think the second review is fairly on target, though I don't have as much annoyance w/ the main character as he does. I think the end of his review sums it up pretty well (not to mention I like all the Alias references :) ) --

"Returning to my bottom line, "Covert Affairs" is the week's new cable drama that seems most sure of what it wants to be, even if what it wants to be is just "Alias" through a USA prism and devoid of that pesky Milo Rambaldi and his prophecies. Is Perabo quite Jennifer Garner? No. Am I a bit worried about the way the show is treating Annie and her frivolous femininity? Yes. But that's a concern for a different essay and one that I'll maybe revisit after a second or third episode.

For now? "Covert Affairs" feels like a USA show and that's enough for a recommendation for now."

Page48 said...

Yeah, SRM, I thought that first reviewer sounded like he had his mind made up before he watched the show. I think spy shows are probably not his thing.

I thought I would highlight an interesting (for followers of JJ Abrams) quote from this review:

"Though I should say that it's a hundred times better than the awful Undercovers pilot I watched, and only slightly better than CW's attempt at Nikita"

Wow, 100 times better than "Undercovers"!!! Maybe JJ will start to reconsider some the poop he heaped on "Alias" if this turns out to be the popular sentiment regarding his NBC effort.

I made this comment on Nik at Nite a few days ago regarding "Fringe", which JJ promised would be the anti-"Alias":

"On the subject of "Fringe", I think "Fringe" is JJ's third best series (so far). The first 2 seasons have been plagued by far too many unsatisfying standalone episodes and momentum robbing hiatuses. Fortunately, I think (hope) that "Fringe" has arrived at a point in the story where it can no longer return to the gooey freak-of-the-week autopsies that it reeled off in the first 1.5 seasons without losing credibility with viewers that have come this far.

Sure, when JJ was out pimping "Fringe" in 2008, he took every opportunity to throw "Alias" under the bus for being opaque, and he assured would-be fans that "Fringe" would never dream of committing similar crimes against humanity by alienating the coveted "casual viewer" who felt like dropping in for 3 or 4 episodes a year. But, like it or not, "Fringe" is now crossing the border into commitment territory, where JJ's faithful band of casual viewers have to decide whether they're in or they're out.

IMO, "Fringe" will be a better show when it cuts the casual viewer adrift once and for all, and becomes the hardcore serial it should have been from the beginning. So what if JJ and Grunberg can't follow along?"


The short version of that long version is that I think Bad Robot is finding it difficult to live up to JJ's foolish promise that "Fringe" would be a show where uncommitted viewers could drop in 3 times a year and have a freaking clue what's going on.

As "Fringe" becomes more serialized (as it should) and should "Undercovers" be rejected for being a modern-day "Hart to Hart" fluff piece, JJ may (if there is any justice) live to regret his unsavory comments suggesting that "Alias" was an unwatchable mess.

Oooh, 100 times better than "Undercovers". Ouch!

uncle111 said...

No cable, so I'm watching online and logging comments as I watch. There are Alias ties.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:











































1- Syd would never have commented to someone else on the quality of sex with a boyfriend.
2- the note on the nightstand from the mysterious lover- The truth is complicated- sound like anything we've heard before???
3- Nice music. A little Aliasish.
4- Fun, and good occasional humor.
5- Good action on her first mission.
6- Alias seemed to like women with high foreheads and what my brother and I fondly refer to as bunny teeth- large upper two front teeth. Our covert agent and the female reporter both share the characteristic of wide mouths. Another casting pattern.
7- In one of the final episodes of Alias, Jack, trying to get a picture of a member of Prophet 5, asks a DC tourist if she would take a picture of him, and asks her to try to get the Capitol building in the picture. They just did the same thing here.
8- She rooms with a civilian who doesn't know she is an agent.

uncle111 said...

*

Page48 said...

There's Bunny Teeth and then there's Bunny Teeth.

Page48 said...

Alrighty then, I polished off CA tonite.

Generally, I was pretty pleased with it. I wish CA (and BN for that matter) would ratchet up the tension and importance of each episode. These are short seasons (about 13 episodes), so there isn't a lot of time to waste on bad date nights, etc., like we saw with Annie in the pilot.

"Truth Be Told" turned Syd's life upside down in a pilot episode, and "Alias" had 22 episodes to work with. By the time TBT was over, our heads were exploding with twists, turns, betrayals, heartache, murdered loved ones, loyalties called into question, strained relationships. It was an adrenaline rush.

CA was a lot more laid back, as if there was no urgency to break out the crazy sh**. Personally, I love the crazy sh**. I love the double dealing, backstabbing, trust no one kind of story. CA definitely has the "(Slow)Burn Notice" flavour to it, which can be a little frustrating.

I was glad to see that CA was not as comedic as I feared it would be. And, it's clear that they are setting up the twisty aspect of the show with Annie's BF back in the picture and keeping tabs on her. What we need to see soon is a bad guy, an enemy, or in Buffy parlance, "the Big Bad".

Just a few points:

-I'm not sure I can buy Auggie as Annie's Dixon
-Annie's sister is going to waste a lot of time, unless she gets caught up in her Annie's reality, like Will and Francie did.
-I like the use of a few pop tunes, which really worked on "Alias"
-we didn't see Sydney as a newbie and I look forward to Annie becoming more confident, although she handled herself well in the pilot
-Piper is only 4 years younger than Jen, but she's playing a 28 year old Annie

I'm going to keep watching. CA will never be a mind-blowing series like "Alias", but some creative writing could make this an enjoyable ride and it's not like there's much else on.

uncle111 said...

From another site:

Did anyone else watch the premier of USA's new series "Covert Affairs"? I tuned in out of curiosity but I couldn't help think it was like Alias
light. I tried not to compare the two shows but it was hard not to. Annie works for a section of the CIA that doesn't even have badges, she has to do things without being caught and denies being CIA.... Plus there's that whole thing at the end where you find out that the CIA chose her because of
the guy she dated, not so much that she wanted to join, and that they're
using her for bait....

I'm going to tune in again but I'm not sure if this will be one of my must watch shows.

With that said, I like her partner, it's an interesting concept that they
are using a blind guy (who wasn't always blind as we found out) in that type of position.
A

Excellent points, Amy. I didn't like that last part about the connection with her former boyfriend either. To find this out after she had been right when her
boss was wrong and she had given 110% to the assignment shows disrespect for
women's abilities. I guess it shows that sadly the more things change, the more
they stay the same. I hope upcoming episodes show the CIA coming to appreciate
her for her abilities and not as bait.
M

What I found really weird was the bit about how they only date within the organization and of course marry those folks.
A

I watched, and as an uber-Alias fan I was making comparisons. There were
indeed gimmicks and themes they picked up from Alias.

Don't over analyze the show and look for PC or non-PC moments. They are
weaving a story that has a deeper mystery. Spy stories and life and death
conflicts aren't based on or judged by intent or effort, but on results and
consequences. She doesn't get a merit badge for effort when Russian
assassins and mystery men who lurk in the background guiding and protecting
a new agent are involved.

And remember this is by the people who brought us the Bourne movies. HE
didn't receive any commendations. HE was fodder for his superiors goals.
That's just their entertainment view of the spy world.
Me

Oh, yeah, you're right about them weaving a story and I'm not looking at it as
PC or not. After all, her immediate boss is a woman who seems to have some
emotional issues of her own. Still wish they didn't hire her as bait though.
Interesting that you mention merit badges and commendations since they did give
her one toward the end of the episode. I found that odd. Pretty sure the CIA
doesn't give their agents awards for successfully completed missions, especially
since she wasn't the one who shot the bad guy.
M

The award thing was strange, unless they are setting her up to keep being
bait- motivate her to keep doing what they say.
She may have slept with her TKD instructor, but she really needs to learn to
fight to kill, especially when she's fighting a Russian ASSASSIN!! When she
was on his back she was in a perfect position to apply a sleeper choke (with
the sleeper he would have no fight left after 6 or 7 seconds, and would be
out cold in 10), or even finish him by crushing his windpipe.
Me

Ah, yes, but if she had made quick work of killing the assassin there wouldn't
have been a reason for her mysterious ex-boyfriend to shoot him in the subway at
just the right moment to save her. Gosh, how many times have we seen a
character behave stupidly/inefficiently/not in their own best interest just to
propel the story?
M

Yes, that's the tension we observant, experienced and thinking viewers
continually suffer:)
Me

SRM said...

I actually really liked the end fight scene between Annie and the Russian dude BECAUSE it was sloppy and awkward. I think that's true to the unpracticed skills that Annie would have being pulled from training a month early and on her first mission. I would hope we get to see her skills, including and especially fight skills, progress as she gains more experience.

Page48 said...

I'm unclear about what set her Prof. off about her being in the CIA. Because she asked about the Russian (Estonian) word for kitten? I have to admit, my first thought wouldn't have been, "oh, no, Annie's in the CIA".

Page48 said...

Some clown on Televisionary had this to say about the pilot of CA:

"I really disliked Alias (HATED the Rambaldi stuff) and enjoyed the pilot of CA much more. I understand why some people are having trouble not comparing the two though--I was never able to see Alias as anything more than a subpar La Femme Nikita ripoff."

That prompted me to read this article from Billie Doux, comparing "Alias" and "Nikita" from her point of view.

I watched enough episodes of "Nikita" back in the day, and it was often pretty good, but it never made the impression on me that "Alias" did. The Televisionary blog comment was very dismissive of "Alias" as being a rip-off, but I'm all in favour of ripping off one show if you can take what's good about it and punch it up with more and better action and spend more money to beef up production values, etc...

Right this minute, I wish some TV bigshot would rip of the best bits of "Alias", and improve on the weaker elements and then bring it on for my viewing pleasure. In fact, if you're out there TV bigshot, what the heck are you waiting for?

uncle111 said...

Page,

There have been some similar comments on the Man From UNCLE forum about Alias being a LFN copy. Obviously these people never really watched Alias. And I suspect that the people who had problems with the Rambaldi elements have imaginations that are limited by more secular, the-only-thing-that-exists-is-what-you-can-see brain cells. There are a lot of things I don't believe in that can still tickle my imagination.

Page48 said...

"Truth be Told" is the only episode of "Alias" that Piper Perabo has seen. What did she think of it? She thought it was 'genius', of course.

Robetron said...

The nit-wits commenting on other blogs notwithstanding, it looks like you all came to the same conclusions I did on CA.

That's why LTA is and always was the best place to go to discuss our favorite TV shows: it is a gathering of the most intelligent non-profit TV critics in the blogosphere.

I've transitioned to a 2nd shift for the summer, so it looks like I will have to catch my favorite TV off the internet whenever the networks get around to posting them. Good thing Burn Notice and Covert Affairs are really my only interests until September.

Uncle, your last post was so good, I was looking around for "Like" link to click. Here, here, my friend.

-R.

Page48 said...

Robetron, "non-profit TV critics". Yup, that's us.

Welcome to the 'getting your TV via the internet' crowd (at least for the summer). Personally, I love watching TV shows and movies on my laptop with earbuds plugged in. It really focuses my attention, which tends to drift when I get caught up in the tug of war between TV and computer.

uncle111 said...

Page- that's my experience watching Alias on my iPod.

Robetron- Thanks for your comments! I do think we have a superior group of commentators here. There ought to be some way to turn that into some kind of influence.

Bonkers for Bristow said...

As many of you have said, I found CA promising. Now that I’ve seen two episodes, I have a few pluses and minuses. One, I’m enjoying the newbie factor of Annie. In Alias we met Syd as a fully functional agent who let very little faze her in her professional life. Annie is learning that training doesn’t mean much in the field and that there’s a lot more to being an agent than good language skills and some kick boxing lessons. It irritated me, but seemed appropriate when all she wanted to ask the double agent was if he meant what he said about family. I couldn’t help but think Syd would never have said that.
And that bring me to the minuses. I am having a hard time not comparing the two shows. Sometimes the camera shots are so reminiscent that it snaps me right out of the show. For example, every time they do a shot with people walking over the CIA seal in the floor, I flash back to the Alias pilot. And all the mentions of the “walk-ins” last night made me compare Annie’s trailer with Vaughn’s office.
I will definitely continue to watch (even with Mohinder from heroes joining the staff – blah!) and hope that the show will come into it’s own.

PS: Can anyone tell me where I’ve seen Annie’s boss before? She’s so familiar that it’s driving me crazy.

Page48 said...

Bonkers, I think the only show I've seen Kari Matchett on before was "24", where she spent half a season a few years back.

She is Canadian, so I may have seen her in commercials or something, but she does look more familiar to me than she should, considering her long list of previous roles that I would definitely not have seen.

uncle111 said...

I was glad to see they decided to teach her real fighting techniques.

Still waiting for the show to grab me, though.

Page48 said...

Well, in keeping with USA's "Burn Notice" formula, CA is setting the stage for a frustratingly standalone style of series, with precious little big picture advancement.

After the 2nd episode, this doofus has gleefully declared that CA has a "way better" soundtrack than "Alias". I, along with the help of several others, did what I could to set him straight.

uncle111 said...

Page-
I just added some thoughts about CA.

Page48 said...

Right on, Uncle. I couldn't help but notice there are still a few "Alias" devotees out there. I wasn't even the only one to reference the "No Man's Woman" scene.

Page48 said...

Very favourable review of "Salt", and its star, Angelina. When you get to the words 'clandestine cheesecake', cover your eyes.

I've taken note on Fringebloggers that many of the participants there are heaping big praise on "Inception", which features a couple of Jen's old co-stars, Leo DiCapprio and good Canadian girl Ellen Page.

Page48 said...

For anyone who's never visited io9.com's "Morning Spoilers" (an excellent resource for keeping up on the latest sci-fi projects in the works), they always include this instantly recognizable screen cap of Sydney in their rotation, so it pops up from time to time.

First time I saw it, I thought they had "Alias" news for me, but I was sadly mistaken.

Page48 said...

"Burn Notice" prequel movie (but apparently no Michael or Fiona).

Oh, yeah, "Alias" definitely ran on the WRONG network.

Robetron said...

RE: Annie's boss - Remember when when we would sit around the keyboard, anticipating, speculating, and theorizing all week waiting for Thursday evening to come around so we could watch the next installment of ALIAS? Many of us would even give a running commentary while the show was on, but after, we would all run back here to talk about the mind-blowing twists that kept us all in expectant anxiety.

Very probably, we all left the TV on while chatting. There was a little, one-season, "body-snatcher's" rip-off called "Invasion."

You might remember Annie's boss in the CIA as the woman-doctor who had died in the water during the "hurricane", but mysteriously returned to the world of the living as though nothing had happened.

I have seen this same actress in many different made-for-tv dramas, but that's the one that I think we all might remember in association with all the glory that is ALIAS.

-R.

SRM said...

Dang it, I completely forgot to watch CA last night, lots going on, was it any good? Have people found any sites to watch it online?

uncle111 said...

SRM,

I watch it on Hulu.

Page48 said...

Ha! Robetron, how many body-snatcher ripoffs are there? Oh, well, I never seem to get tired of them, but I never saw that one.

The most recent one I saw was the Nicole Kidman/Daniel Craig affair from 2007, which was quite entertaining.

Speaking of Daniel Craig, I see he has signed up for the Hollywood version of "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". Haven't cast the girl yet.

And, here's a photo of Mr. 007 himself in Orci/Kurtzman's "Cowboys & Aliens".

Robetron, on your recommendation, I'm now about 14 eppies into S1 of "Veronica Mars". Too bad Kristen Bell's career is rolling down the rom-com embankment these days, too. Maybe she could sign on with Daniel Craig and be the GWTDT. Kristen and Noomi Rapace are basically the same age, 30ish.

SRM, you can watch CA right on USA's website. I can't (unless I use Hotspot Shield), but you can.

"Rubicon" debuts on Sunday night on AMC, presumably with a rerun of the pilot.

uncle111 said...

Well, I'm really trying to give CA a fighting chance, but I don't see much fighting going on. The characters still aren't appealing to me; not much in the way of development. No real emotional content. Stories are not exciting. And certainly not much intensity or action to recommend it as being from those who brought us Jason Bourne, as they advertized.

Shugging my shoulders and saying, "Is that all you got? You hit like a girl!"

Page48 said...

Uncle, I think the fact that SRM (I'm still getting used to that)forgot to watch 1.3 is a testament to the fact that CA is NOT addictive TV as "Alias" was. "Alias" was the the ultimate TV drug, one hit and you're hooked for life.

I think executive producer, Doug Liman is the sole thread linking CA to Jason Bourne. The writers/creators of CA have basically zero experience, according to IMDB.

CA is not ambitious enough to be an "Alias" replacement and with only 13 episodes in a season, the story should be pedal to the metal already if it was actually intending to go anywhere. Mind you, I have the same complaint about BN, but at least BN has a strong cast of likable (and professionally experienced) characters, which, so far is not the case with CA. There is a formula that USA is looking for, but they haven't nailed it yet with Annie Walker and Co.

We need the next "Alias", but still we wait.

uncle111 said...

Anyone seen SALT yet?

Page48 said...

Uncle, I haven't seen "Salt". I tend to not see new releases until after they're out on DVD.

Page48 said...

Opening credits for "Cagney and Lacey", including a youthful Carl Lumbly. Carl, your 'stache is trash.

uncle111 said...

Page,

One of my UNCLE customers was one of the regular writers for the show.

Page48 said...

Caught "Rubicon" 1.2 tonite. I can see where this is not going to be an action thriller, but what I like so far is that it is not a dramedy (enough with the dramedies already) and it is a serial.

It's true, there is someone out there who is not afraid to do a TV show in serial format. Talk about yer balls of steel, AMC must have 'em.

And, for good measure, we're dealing in a world of murky secrets and we're finding out that "trust no one" is always solid advice.

Page48 said...

Buzz about the new 10 episode series of "Torchwood: The New World" is picking up steam. Pity filming doesn't even start till next year, though. This next story will take place in the U.S. of A.

I totally enjoyed the 5 episode "Torchwood: Children of Earth" last year, so adding 5 episodes and bringing our beloved CIA on board sounds good to me.

Page48 said...

Alrighty then, I just finished my hasty viewing of S1 of "Veronica Mars", and I have to go along with Robetron and say that Kristen Bell would do very nicely in an "Alias" spinoff role.

It's just a pity the direction her career has taken since VM, eerily reminiscent of JG's embarrassing downward spiral.

uncle111 said...

Rubicon is looking good. CA is looking the same. Burn and Warehouse 13 are good. Can't wait for Human Target and V, but mainly HT.

I was just reading some in the Encyclopedia of TV Spies, which has the section on Alias that I (ahem)edited, and noticed this show that I would like to see:
Jack of All Trades. It is a 2000 spy comedy starring Bruce Campbell. " American spy/adventurer Jack Stiles is sent by Thomas Jefferson to the tiny South Pacific island of Polau Polau to work with British spy Emilia Rothschild to stop the advances of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte in his bid for world conquest." It ran 22 episodes and I just noticed they are all on IMDB for viewing.

Page48 said...

I don't watch "Eureka", so the W13 crossover novelty was wasted on me this week, but then I find out that W13's Claudia crossed over on this week's "Eureka", so now I have to go back and watch that.

I saw bits of "Jack of All Trades" on Youtube a while back. That was a much younger looking Bruce Campbell, although it was only 10 years ago.

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uncle111 said...

Page,

I have watched parts of a couple of episodes. The dialoge is fast and filled with sexual innuendos. Don't know that I will watch much of it. I cqan see how it could get old fast.

Something I did stand out to me was the executive producers:
Kurtzman and Orci. This was prior to Alias and all that has followed.

Page48 said...

Uncle, Orci/Kurtzman have presided over some stinkers. The Legend of Zorro comes to mind, not even bolstered by the presence of Benjamin Linus in the cast. Hopefully "Cowboys and Aliens" will be an improvement.

Certainly has a respectable cast with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig (not to mention Newly from "Gunsmoke").

uncle111 said...

Page,

I liked AB's first Zorro movie better, but I still liked Legend. I grew up with the Disney Zorro and I liked this modern treatment of the legend. But don't confuse the old Disney Zorro with their modern comedic one. Comedy was a REAL stinker!

Page48 said...

Uncle, I've never had a huge appetite for "Zorro", but I also watched the Disney show as a kid. I think it was on after school or something.

I don't remember much about it except for the sound of Zorro carving that 'Z' with his sword.

uncle111 said...

We have the full DVD set for Disney's Zorro. We recently read something written by the fencing master who coached actors in old movies and TV. The three most famous were Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power and Guy Williams (who played Disney's TV Zorro). He said Errol Flynn had no talent with the sword, that Tyrone Power wasn't bad, but that Guy Williams was a gifted fencer. As a fencer I've notice that much of his fencing in Zorro was typical stage fencing, but every now and then I catch some of the moves of the gifted fencer.

uncle111 said...

So glad I got the 47th post:)

Lori Robinett said...

I enjoyed it. Looks like a fun show, and the characters of Annie and Augie are well-drawn. I think there are layers there that will be revealed along the story arc. I hope, at least! Love me a good spy show!

SRM said...

Well, I've found the last two episodes of Covert Affairs more entertaining than the two before, but I don't think it's worth staying up past my bedtime to watch. I may keep watching it on Hulu if I have time, but there's really nothing pulling me back to watch it every week. The thing that irks me is, if you think about it, Alias season 1 always had a "mission of the week" too, but the difference was they'd end the episode in the middle of the mission with Syd in some life-or-death situation instead of wrapping it all up with a nice little bow like CA does. Whatever happen to a good ole cliffhanger?? Sigh.

Page48 said...

SRM, haven't you heard? Cliffhanger is the new 4-letter word.

Not only is there no cliffhanger, but there is no enemy. No Alliance, no SD6, no Prophet 5. All CA has is Annie's ex and we're half way thru S1 without any clue about him or his motivations.

If I didn't know better, I'd say they're not even trying. But at least JJ and Greg could follow this one.

Page48 said...

Looks like ABC has solved their lack-of-a-spy-show-when-everyone-else-has-a-spy-show dilemma.

Robetron said...

If ABC adopts the habit of trying to promote a particular world-view and push a political agenda the way MI-5 did in Brittan, I'll not watch more than the first episode; and, you can count on another failure because that stuff will not fly in the US.

I guess I had better get caught up with Covert Affairs. I've missed a ton, working the night shift.

RE: Kristen Bell in an Alias spin-off.
I know, right?! Wouldn't she make a great Isabel Vaughn/ daughter of ... granddaughter of...? They better move quickly, though... KB won't keep her hip style and youthful looks forever.

uncle111 said...

SRM,

This episode was the best so far, which unfortunately isn't saying much. The use of a disillusioned former agent, but mostly more of Annie's illusive mystery lover/protector pushed it up a few notches. The IML/P may end up being their Rambaldi device and create a mini serial element.

So let's get with it and make Annie a competent agent already!

Page48 said...

Robetron, I don't think ABC will go too far out on a limb politically with their spy deal. "Alias" completely ignored the administration of the day. I'm not an insider, but I suspect all of these shows are written with an eye toward syndication in the future. I think syndication would be a tough sell if the material was "of the day".

"Burn Notice" is apolitical, ditto "Covert Affairs". I suspect that by the time ABC gets done retooling "MI-5", it won't be recognizable to fans of that series.

Uncle, it's time "Covert Affairs" was about something. The season's half over and we're covering the same ground every week. The pilot let us in on the fact that Annie's IML/P was following her every move and keeping her out of trouble. All we've done in the subsequent eppies is rewind and play again.

I'm looking forward to Annie's "Phase One". Yeah, right!!!

Robetron said...

After watching more of CA, I can see why its not doing so well.

If the writers flop around like a carp while trying to give the dialog, it's no wonder they can't manage a decent plot. There's so much exposition and poorly contrived lines going on in the dialog that I can barely watch it. These are definitely not the same writers as Burn Notice.

Good writers hired by major networks ought to know that you show the audience what is happening, rather than tell them.

Who could imagine Alias' "Director Kendall" walking up behind Jack Bristow and saying, "Ahh... the most difficult part of what we do... convincing people to leave their lives and everything they know behind," and then patting him on the shoulder and walking away?

I promise you, I thought I was watching an episode from "Charlie's Angels' of the 70's, or some other terrible private-investigator show from the 80's.

Piper Perabo is attractive, but not enough to keep me coming back to have my intelligence insulted. She can't sustain the show all by herself.

Page48 said...

Robetron, that's just it, CA has writers with such stellar credits as "The Bionic Woman", "Six Million Dollar Man", "What About Brian", "Grey's Anatomy",etc...There must be a "Charlie's Angels" in there somewhere.

Hell, the only writing credit attributed to the creators of CA is the Danny DeVito comedy, "Deck The Halls". That's pretty shaky credibility to bring to the table for a wannabe spy show.

uncle111 said...

Well, with a third episode of Rubicon having aired, AMC has gone from 2 episodes available online to the only the first episode being available??????

Page48 said...

Uncle, don't look now, but 4 episodes of "Rubicon" are in the books. Why don't they put the really bad shows on cable and send the good shows out OTA so we don't have to jump through hoops or sign up for extra channels?

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uncle111 said...

This is a CA item more than a 47 item, but I saw 6 47's on a printout of expenditures they shot in close up on CA last night.

Page48 said...

Whether warranted or not, CA gets renewed for S2.

uncle111 said...

Well, AMC isn't giving us an more Rubicon episodes online, but they do have the complete original The Prisoner series. I didn't watch it when it first aired in the 60's, but I just finished episode 2. I like it enough that I plan on finishing the series and I recommend it to all here.

I like the spell check feature we now have here.

Page48 said...

I dont kneed spelle chek.

Robetron said...

After looking to all areas of media, I am finally caught up with Chuck.

Excellent show. I see homage's to ALIAS in his discoveries regarding his parents. For an occasionally silly show, they do take on some serious themes. If there is anyone who hasn't taken the time to watch it, Chuck is definitely a cool drink of water for an Alias-drought.

I never get tired of Burn Notice either. I don't mind the slowness of the broader story arc - perhaps because the characters are so compelling, and the one-off stories are cleverly written also. There isn't any other show of its kind that gives you the inside-baseball look at spy craft by way of a noir-esque monologue. I just dig it.

Unless I'm in desperate need of something to watch, I guess I'm giving up on Covert Affairs. There was such potential there; it's really too bad the writers couldn't hold up their end.

Pretty bored with Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles. I remember commenting when... one of the good shows of the past, not sure which one... that followed it, there seemed to be a formula to every episode that did not seem to vary. I'm finding that I may well have been correct about that. I don't know. I might keep going back for something to watch since its free on Netflix online.

Is it autumn yet? How about some more Human Target? And... um, what else are we looking forward to seeing? I forget.

It has been a while since returning to ALIAS. I've tried in the past, but for some reason, I couldn't stay with it, and by the time I'd return, it had been too long and I had forgotten where I left off. I am completely back into it now, watching at least an episode per night before going to sleep. I just keep saying... "TV genius. I love this show."

I remember now why LOST and BSG, and various other great shows were all a distant 2nd to ALIAS. I just cannot imagine someone topping the first two and 1/2 seasons. It was the start of a new TV standard and an era of much improved TV shows.

Who's with me?

Page48 said...

Seems odd that we have to turn to Chuck Bartowski to feed that "Alias" hunger that's been missing since May, 2006, but that really is the case.

BN, as entertaining as it is, refuses to go there. CA has shown early on that it has no intention of going anywhere. We can rest assured that "Undercovers" will go out of its way to avoid a wrong turn onto "Alias Avenue". Who knows when Spooks/MI-5 will debut?

So, while no one else in TV-land seems to "get it", we turn to a constantly on-the-bubble cult spy show about an underachieving box store computer geek and his wacky friends to take us places that we haven't been able to go since Sydney and Vaughn moved to their island paradise.

And now(speaking of Sarah Connor), in a move oh-so reminiscent of "Almost Thirty Years", the stage is set to meet Chuck's mom (Linda Hamilton).

So "Chuck" is must-see TV for me, but I would still like to see one of the upcoming spy shows not only get away from the dramedy formula, but also tell an ambitious, complicated story that isn't afraid to go over the top when the situation calls for it. Never mind playing it bland and safe like CA.

Someone out there must have a License to Thrill. I'd like to see them use it.

Page48 said...

Every once in a while I get nostalgic and start rifling thru the LTA archives. Tonight I located my first official post (aside from the anon. posting I did for the first couple of months). It was a real humdinger.

What's kinda depressing is to look at all those familiar names that have dropped off the radar since the halcyon days back in 2006. Four years later and it's just us grizzled veterans keeping the lights on now.

SRM said...

I'm still planning on seeing Salt in the theater, has anyone caught it?

I'm overall disappointed w/ CA too, though I may watch this week since it's supposed to focus on Auggie and I like his character. This is a small little pet peeve: it would be nice if Joan didn't dress like she was going to a dinner party while on the job, just really doesn't fit w/ her character's job imo...

Page48 said...

I'm "Salt"-free so far.

I think we're all in agreement that the makers of "Covert Affairs" lack a certain understanding of what makes a great spy show a great spy show.

We can already assume that "Undercovers" will disappoint. When a network uses the word "sexpionage" to create buzz for a new series, we have to reign in expectations until proven wrong.

So, all we have left to pin our hopes on for the coming season is "Nikita", which, IMO, doesn't impress based on the available trailers. Hopefully, Maggie Q. will have me eating my words, but she looks like a hunger-striking runway model, not a damaged and dangerous assassin on a mission to kick her oppressors collective asses. However, I will give her ample opportunity to impress the daylights out of me, and I hope she does. I'd love to be wrong about "Nikita".

uncle111 said...

Sydney was the unquestioned star and focus of Alias. It appears that Annie is just one of the CA characters.

Page48 said...

Annie had her share of screen time this week, but she didn't do squat with it. This was ladies' night at the Agency, as Auggie doffed his duds long enough to shag Christopher Chance's FBI babe AND his Russian ex, Natasha. I guess we call that a two-fer.

MIA was any big picture story about Annie's former mystery man, and this was the 2nd eppie in a row without Joan's hubby. The season arc, assuming there is one, was given the night off. Hey, when your entire season is about 13 episodes, why get bogged down in big picture stuff?

NBC is ramping up the promo action for "Undercovers". I could buy Gugu as a spy, but Boris? He doesn't look the part to me.

It's a shame that NBC is too gutless to bring this on as a serious spy show. They have "Chuck" covering the lighter angle (brilliantly), so why not give us a little balance?

Page48 said...

"Chuck" gets even with "Alias".

"Alias" had a guest appearance years ago by James Bond (Roger Moore) and now another Bond (Timothy Dalton) has agreed to show up on "Chuck".

Page48 said...

For some inexplicable reason, I feel the urge to Taiwan on, but tomorrow is a work day, so maybe not.

Word out today that Bad Robot is lending out a classic "Alias" episode title to "Fringe" for early on in the upcoming season. No word on whether "The Box" will center around McKenas Cole, but somehow, I doubt it.

SRM said...

Ugh, spammers are so annoying. Anywho...

My husband and I finally went out to see Salt on Saturday, only to find that evidently the cinema's online info. was incorrect and they no longer had a 9:40pm show. :( Man I was bummed. I was all in the mood for double-crossing-hair-dying-woman-kicking-ass fun. Though the not-so-stellar reviews I've seen make me think that it may end up being rent-worthy only.

Instead we went home and watched the pilot of Firefly (second time around for me). I still fail to understand how a show that awesome didn't get a second season. That one episode had more depth and character development than we could hope for in an entire season of Covert Affairs. Probably two entire seasons...

Page48 said...

"Firefly" is awesomey goodness.

I noticed that this week's "Rubicon" was written by Zack Whedon. No sci-fi, but great TV nevertheless. TRUST NO ONE!

Page48 said...

I should have known that there was no way I could wait for "Salt" to come out on DVD, such is my love affair with spychicks. So I checked it out tonight.

I read a couple of reviews when it first hit the theaters, but I haven't seen anything recently, good or bad. I have to think that any serious criticism of "Salt" has to come from people who just don't get how much fun the whole spy thing can be. People who hate "Salt" would never enjoy Bourne or Bristow and would likely be better off staying in and watching "Dancing With the Stars".

If you've ever seen Angelina's action movies ("Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", "Wanted", etc...), you know going in that the stunts will be way OTT and that she'll play a good guy. No surprises there, and, anyway, that's kinda why people go to see her stuff.

So, "Salt" is no different. It combines elements of "MacGyver", "Alias", the Bourne Trilogy. In fact, several scenes gave me flashbacks from from each of those projects.

"Salt" is good guys vs. bad guys, it's fun, it's fast, it's over the top, and you just don't know who you can trust. Plus, it's got the assassin dude from "Serenity". And, it should send you home feeling satisfied that, while you're sleeping all comfy in your bed tonight, someone's got your back and she's not afraid to kick a few asses so that you can enjoy your weekends and have a nice life.

For me, the one part of the movie that I just couldn't accept was a scene where Angelina tries to fool White House security into thinking she's a man, and it actually works. If you see it, you'll know exactly what I mean and you won't buy it, either. However, suspension of disbelief and all that jazz.

So, I guess my bottom line is that if you're tired of Annie "Bland Affairs" Walker, and you miss the professionalism and confidence of Sydney Bristow, why not rub a little "Salt" in your festering "Alias" wound. It's not a cure, but it will provide some relief.

Page48 said...

It is with great sadness that I note the passing of alias-media.com.

A great "Alias" resource GONE.

SRM said...

Well crap, now where am I gonna get screen captures from for our articles... :(

Page48 said...

Robetron, Kristen Bell is a bulldog about getting "Veronica Mars" flick done.

Pity Jen doesn't have a similar passion for an "Alias" movie.

Robetron said...

I've seen Kristen Bell in a lot of different roles since the show was canceled, but I do not think any of them suited her like Veronica Mars did.

Like JG was to Sydney Bristow, no one else could have drawn out those unique qualities from the character they way they did for those two. I think that's why the viewers loved them.

It would be nice to see JG recognize the role that gave her the Hollywood lifestyle she now enjoys.

Page48 said...

Yeah, I see KB is set to appear in "Sream 4", which raises 2 questions:

1) what is she thinking (okay, she's thinking $$$$) and,
2) who cares about "Scream 4"?

And, as for Jen? Well, 4 years without a dramatic role and only 1 dramatic role since "Alias". Never mind "Catch and Release", how about Crash and Burn?

Page48 said...

It gave me considerable pleasure to watch Scarlett Johansson briefly go all Sydney Bristow in "Iron Man 2". She reminded me how much I miss the real Sydney.

What I didn't realize until tonight was that Iron Man is part of the upcoming "Avengers" movie (written and directed by Joss Whedon), which will feature more of Scarlett in the same role, implying more quality ass kicking on her part. Unfortunately, I have to wait another 2 years to watch that one.

Page48 said...

Marshall (KW) Flinkman back in the Bad Robot fold, if only briefly.

Page48 said...

Suddenly, everybody's scrambling to get in the spy game. CBS may be tapping into Jason Bourne's world for a show about "Treadstone". That's the good news. The bad news is it comes from CSI's creator. I just don't watch that CSI stuff.

uncle111 said...

I watched TBT this week. Covert Affairs will never be great, unless they get different writers and completely rework the concept.

uncle111 said...

How was Nikita?

Anything else up for review?

Page48 said...

Uncle, "Nikita" debuts 9:00 p.m. tonight, Sept. 9th. I'll be watching, but who knows how it will go? Fingers crossed, cuz, as you say, CA isn't doing much to raise the spy-show bar.

uncle111 said...

In the 1960's my favorite show, a spy series, ran 29-30 episodes per season. Each episode ran 50-52 minutes. Now days a good one runs 16-20 episodes at 41-42 minutes each. We used to get 50-75% more viewing time in a season than we get now.

Imagine if Alias had been given 50-75% more airtime time per season.

Page48 said...

So, I think what Jace at televisionary is saying is that "Nikita", which influenced "Alias", is now influenced BY "Alias".

Now, if "Alias" could comeback one of these days and be influenced by itself, how cool would that be?

SRM said...

I know I'm totally late in the game with this one, but how fun is Chuck?!? I just started watching it and am getting such a kick out of it. I do miss the drama of Alias, but definitely enjoy Chuck's goofy character and getting to see Sarah kick some arse Bristow-style. I've seen the first three episodes so far, most of them are shown for free on the WB's site of all places. Very fun!!

uncle111 said...

SRM,

I didn't get in on Chuck till part way through last season. I really liked it right off and I'm looking forward to it starting back up.

On Nikita- the pilot looked really good. It seems to be more of what we hoped CA was going to be but isn't. I loved the twist at the end. It is on my don't miss list now.

Page48 said...

SRM, by getting into "Chuck" at this late day, you have the added advantage of not having to sweat the cancellation talk that swirled around "Chuck" after S2, which triggered the famous Subway Campaign.

What I don't understand is why good shows like this are constantly on the bubble, while cookie cutter procedurals like CSI or "Law & Order" endure for generations.