Friday, November 13, 2015

Pilot Review: Agent X

Agent X (TNT)
Premiered November 8 at 9pm

I almost missed the premiere of this show, mainly because I don’t watch anything on TNT anymore, following promising starts for both “Falling Skies” and “The Last Ship” and dwindling quality after that. I had no expectations whatsoever for this show, and therefore I found myself actually pleasantly surprised. This show isn’t excellent, of course, but it’s much more fun that I would have thought for its gimmicky premise. Why did the founding fathers give the second highest office in the country pretty much nothing to do? This show presents one possible answer, in the form of Jeff Hephner’s John Case, whose entire job is to be at the service of the vice-president for clandestine missions in the service of protecting the interests of the United States. This show actually contains more thrilling action than “Blindspot,” which is officially the most successful new show of the fall, and its antics are relatively engaging. I liked Hephner when he starred on “Boss,” and this is a fun role for Gerald McRaney, following more serious patriarchal turns on “Jericho” and “Longmire,” who here gets to be a sarcastic super butler who doesn’t like being interrupted to drive a getaway car while he’s eating a sandwich. Stone’s Natalie occupies the less enticing part of the show, the procedural side that also includes John Shea’s cocky President Eckhart. Jamey Sheridan from “Homeland” is no stranger to counterterrorism, and it seems that his FBI director is going to be the number one person looking into who Agent X really is. Olga Fonda’s Olga is also an energizing part of the show, playing well opposite Hephner in all scenes. I don’t know that I need to watch this show, but I’d argue that it’s one of the more solid new fall action offerings.

How will it work as a series? I don’t know how much Olga will be involved, but it seems that she’s sort of an ally rather than an enemy for John, like Sark from “Alias.” This show needs to focus on the fun of its premise rather than trying to play it literally, and then it could well be one of the most entertaining shows on television.
How long will it last? I have no idea. TNT tends to do well with action series, and this one didn’t get superb reviews, but I suspect that it will be right up the network’s alley and earn itself a season two renewal at some point. I don’t expect it to have too long a life, but it may well do fine.


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