It’s really refreshing to see a black woman, let alone a black couple, star in a television show that isn’t meant to be comedic. And at 8:00, a primetime slot, no less!
Unfortunately, the premiere of “Undercovers” — which follows the rather harrowing (and extravagant) lives of married CIA-agents-slash-caterers Samantha and Steven Bloom — was ridiculously generic to the point that I guffawed twice before even the first commercial. One would expect J.J. Abrams, the show’s co-creator and television veteran (“Alias,” “Lost,” and “Fringe” are his creations) to know what the public wants, but this one is a grave misstep on his part.
You know that the acting is sub-par when the first aspect of a character you can remember were those moments when he or she was topless. The main characters are gorgeous, and Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe) is a complete hunk, but acting skills? Nonexistent. A wooden cast of his body could do just as well.
Samantha Bloom, played by a talented Gugu Mbatha-Raw, receives commendation for trying so hard to develop her character. But any attempt at genuine acting was cut short by the weakest part of the show, and the part that makes my ears want to file a cease and desist warrant against the writers: the script.
I can’t even remember how many times they murdered the pun “sexpionage,” beat it until it was unrecognizable and hurled it off a cliff. The writing was so corny, and so predictable, that one has to wonder if they’re intentionally “dumbing down” the dialogue.
Discourse set aside, the plot itself was incredibly awkward. It somehow managed to be concurrently foreseeable and nonsensical. There are no transitions, no character developments; in an attempt to get a pilot out, the writers tried throwing ideas out, skipping from scene to scene with simplistic, rushed dialogue. The results are hilariously awful.
Then again, perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. The special effects were good — there were four rather unnecessarily-shot rocket grenades in the space of ten minutes, which is a point in my book — and the chase scenes are classic. However, this doesn’t change the fact that I’d have to flip a coin to decide whether to watch the next episode of “Undercovers” or a “Gilligan’s Island” repeat. (Wed., 8pm, NBC)
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