Have you ever found yourself wondering what Mr. & Mrs. Smith would have looked like if they actually had cast really, really attractive people? If you answered yes, then this J.J. Abrams-helmed spy dramedy is for you, because Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw sure are pretty, and wouldn't you know it? They can act, too! (Relax, Brangelina fans, we're just joking. They're not terrible on the eyes, either.)
Is Undercovers more than just a couple of pretty faces? Read on...
Premieres Wednesday, Sept. 22, 8-9 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Survivor (CBS), Lie to Me (Fox), America's Next Top Model (CW), The Middle (ABC), Better With You (ABC)
Cast: Boris Kodjoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Gerald McRaney, Ben Schwartz, Mekia Cox
Status: We've seen the first episode.
We're sure that as soon as you saw "J.J." and "spy drama" in the same sentence, your mind immediately went to Alias. Not so fast. Cocreator Josh Reims says, "The goal of the show was to not be Alias." Hmph. For better or worse, we suppose. Judging from the first episode, Abrams and Reims achieved their goal: There's no crazy mythology at play here, just good ol'-fashioned marriage—mixed with a catering biz and butt-kicking espionage. Abrams tells us, "It's much more a throwback to the Hart to Hart days of really light and fun, kind of breezy romantic, sexy type show."
Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw star as Steven and Samantha Bloom, former CIA spies who retired after getting married and now run a catering business. Their marriage is solid, but as of late, spice has been restricted to the kitchen. The couple reluctantly gets pulled back into the game when a colleague goes missing. While tracking down their friend, they also find the passion their marriage has been lacking. Rounding out the cast is Gerard McRaney as Shaw, the duo's CIA liaison and crusty boss; Ben Schwartz as Bill, a spy-in-training with a serious man crush on Steven, and Mekia Cox as Lizzy, Samantha's ditzy younger sister who works for her catering company.
When it comes to the spy stuff, Undercovers really sizzles. Globe-trotting, glamour, witty banter and sexpionage (yes, you read that right)—it's got it all. "Rob a bank with me" has never sounded so seductive. The show falters slightly with the couple's catering business (shades of Francie in that restaurant kitchen), which distracts from all the glitzy fun and ruins the pacing of the episode. Then again, how can soufflés stand a chance against Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw's sexpionage? We want more, please.
Verdict: Watch. It's J.J. freaking Abrams, y'all! Though the pilot didn't totally wow us the way Alias did, this series holds serious promise.