What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this adult-oriented series about married CIA agents gets most of its punch from fast-paced violence, including gun battles, knife fights, explosions, and hand-to-hand combat. Sexual content is on the tame side for prime time, although there are a few semi-steamy bedroom scenes involving lingerie, etc. Language is limited to words like "hell" or "damn," and even social drinking is kept to a minimum.
What's the story?
Five years after walking away from jobs with the Central Intelligence Agency and becoming professional caterers, husband and wife Steven and Samantha Bloom (Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) are recruited back to work as agents to help the government find an operative who's gone missing. Splitting their time between exotic locales and their Los Angeles home, they're doing their best to balance busy double lives. But their covert affairs also bring some much-needed spice back into their relationship.
Is it any good?
Even though it's got the J.J. Abrams seal of approval (he created the series and directed the pilot), UNDERCOVERS doesn't run off with any prizes, particularly when it comes to writing and story. (Could it get any more ridiculous than married caterers who double as CIA agents? Well, it does when Samantha tries to settle a catering "crisis" involving dry chicken from her cell phone in a speeding car with a criminal in the backseat.) Maybe it's a case of great expectations. After all, you kind of expect that the guy behind slickly produced hits like Alias and Lost will always deliver a winner.
That's not to say that Undercovers falls short on all fronts. Along with good looks, Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw bring strong chemistry and a sense of fun to the proceedings, and Ben Schwartz ponies up with a spot-on but sparse comic turn as a fellow CIA agent with a bit of a man-crush on Kodjoe. We get the breezy nod to classic series like Hart to Hart and Scarecrow and Mrs. King -- but it would be nice to get that style with a side of substance.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the show uses violence. Does it advance the plot, or is it merely meant to entertain? Is the level of violence realistic, or does it ever feel overblown?
How do Steven and Samantha measure up as role models? Do their jobs give them a little leeway when it comes to iffy behavior? How do you think their partnership compares to the experiences of real-life government agents?
How does this program compare to other TV shows about spies? What does it do differently, and does it work?