Previews

TV Trend 2010: Spy Shows (Chuck, Undercovers, Nikita)

Over the years TV makers have relied (too) heavily on creating series about doctors, lawyers and cops. Lately, a fourth group is getting a lot of attention: spies. Don’t get me wrong, TV shows about spies have always been around. From The Avengers and Mission Impossible all the way down to Alias and 24, the life of a spy has been a popular subject to tackle. However, lately, these types of series have quickly become the go-to genre. The crowded field includes: NBC’s Chuck; USA Network’s Covert Affairs and Burn Notice; and AMC’s Rubicon. This fall two more quality spy-themed shows are being added to the mix: NBC’s Undercovers and CW’s Nikita. And now there’s an alleged James Cameron-produced TV version of True Lies being bandied about the rumor mill. Networks are increasingly addicted to turning stories that feature heavy doses of action, intrigue, danger, romance, glamour and exotic travel into the next big thing. And viewers are increasingly addicted to watching them. So for right now, greenlighting a spy series seems to be a no-brainer. And really, anything that prevents another medical, legal or crime procedural from getting the go-ahead, is a beautiful thing. Here are the three spy-themed shows that are hitting airwaves as I type…

 NEW SPY SHOWS

NBC’s Undercovers

Photo Credit: NBC

Premise:  A husband-and-wife catering team gets lured back into their spy lives.

Spy Cred: Alias guru J.J. Abrams created the series. He also directed the pilot.

First Impression: It’s a good show with a lot of potential and one of the most beautiful couples in all of television.

Recommendation: Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw have an amazing chemistry and head up a likable series. I’ll be watching this one for the long haul.

Premiere: Wednesday, September 22

When it airs: Wednesdays @ 8/7C on NBC

Broadcast Network Competition: ABC’s The Middle and Better with You, CBS’ Survivor, CW’s America’s Next Top Model and Fox’s Lie to Me

CW’s Nikita

Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/The CW

Premise: Nikita seeks to gain revenge on the organization that turned her into a spy.

Spy Cred: The story of Nikita has been told in movies (La Femme Nikita, The Point of No Return) and in television (USA Network’s La Femme Nikita). 

What makes this story different: The CW’s Nikita has already escaped the clutches of The Division. It’s not as much of an origin story. Also Lyndsy Fonseca plays Alex, an ally of Nikita’s. She’s a plant within The Division.

First Impression: Good pilot; great lead in Maggie Q.

Recommendation: I’ll definitely be watching this season on The CW.

When it Airs: Thursdays @ 9/8C on the CW (formerly Supernatural‘s timeslot) 

Broadcast Network Competition: ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy; CBS’ CSI; NBC’s The Office and Outsourced; Fox’s Fringe

RETURNING SPY SHOW

NBC’s Chuck

Photo Credit: NBC

Where it left off: Chuck’s dad was killed but managed to leave his son a secret spy lair; Chuck and Sarah are together; the Buy More blow’d up; Chuck told Ellie he’d quit the spy biz just before finding clues to their M.I.A. mom.

Reasons to watch Season 4: Chuck’s mom shows up in the form of Linda Hamilton; more Chuck and Sarah being together; other guest stars include Dolph Lundgren and Olivia Munn

Recommendation: Tune into Season 4. With every year, Chuck seems to change the game enough to keep things fresh and exciting. With the introduction of Chuck’s mom, things can only get even better. Although I do admit I’m going to miss Chuck’s dad. Scott Bakula was awesome on the show.

When it Airs: Mondays at 8/7C on NBC

Broadcast Network Competition: ABC’s Dancing with the Stars; CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement; the CW’s 90210 and FOX’s House

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