Saturday, January 11, 2014

Intelligence - Pilot

Ever wonder what Chuck would have looked like as an action-drama if taken 100% seriously. Yeah, me neither. However, much like they did with taking Psych's basic concept and creating The Mentalist, CBS is now giving us a straight drama about a spy walking around with all the government's secrets neatly tucked away in his head. Working for United States Cyber Command (which is a real organization stuck with a ridiculous name which makes you think they work with Megaforce) Josh Holloway stars as Gabriel Vaughn, an advanced intelligence agent with super-computer microchip in his brain.

The "Pilot" introduces us to Vaughn and Secret Service Agent Riley Neal (Meghan Ory), the hand-picked officer assigned to protect America's biggest asset by Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger), the head of Cyber Command. During Riley's introduction to the facility and her new assignment we learn a bit about the agency and the top secret program known as Clockwork which Strand refers to as "this generation's Manhattan Project."

Aside from setting up the characters and basic concept for the show, the Pilot is mainly focused with the kidnapping of Dr. Shenandoah Cassidy (John Billingsley), a former leading member of Clockwork team responsible for building the chip inside Gabriel's skull. Cyber Command may have been unaware that Cassidy made a second experimental chip but that fact hasn't gone unnoticed by by Chinese Intelligence officer Jin Cong (Will Yun Lee) who forces the good doctor to implant it into to an agent named Mei Chen (Grace Huang), one of the few people that meets specific makers for the procedure (i.e. lazy TV reasoning on why the government hasn't mass-produced the chips).

Despite the initial friction between the pair, Vaughn and Riley eventually begin to work together to save the doctor although they loose Mei Chen and the mole (Elden Henson) within their midst who alerted the Chinese to the existence of a second chip. As pilot episodes go Intelligence offers a pair of likable stars with good chemistry and some impressive special effects when Vaughn recreates and enters one of his visions, but its hard to take such goofy plot at face value when the show takes everything super-seriously. There's also an ongoing subplot involving the truth about Vaughn's wife who may be a traitor, dead, or both which I grew tired of well before the end of the first episode.

I enjoy both Psych and The Mentalist, but from the short glimpse we get here I have some serious doubts whether Intelligence can ever become comparable to Chuck. I'm willing to give it a few episodes to see how the story unfolds (mission of the week, I'm guessing?), and whether CBS can sell me on a different version of a concept that I already enjoy. (As the did with Elementary.)

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