Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Pedigree: The show was created by W. Blake Herron (The Bourne Identity), who executive produces with star Sharon Stone, Suzann Ellis (A Lot Like Love), Peter O’Fallon (UnREAL), and Armyan Bernstein (Castle). O’Fallon directed the pilot.
The Cast & How You Know Them: The Agent X ensemble cast includes Sharon Stone (Casino), Jeff Hephner (Chicago Fire), Gerald McRaney (Longmire), Jamey Sheridan (Homeland), Mike Colter (The Good Wife), Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries), and John Shea (Gossip Girl).
The Premise: Imagine that there’s a secret section of the Constitution that says the vice president has, basically, the best secret agent in the world at his/her personal direction. There’s the show.
What Works: I really liked that this show has a sense of humor about itself from the start, with goofy spy music and fun credits. The premise is absurd but fun and leads to plenty of chances for history jokes, which are always something I look for in a show. (No … really.) There was a very nice shout out to my home state’s official state hero, Nathan Hale. The central trio of Stone, Hephner, and McRaney has decent chemistry, and the two-hour premiere was mostly just … enjoyable! Not great, but enjoyable.
What Doesn’t: The whole concept is obviously pretty silly, and it’s a kind of silly that works for me (at least for an episode or two) but won’t work for everyone. The less silly stuff is actually what didn’t work for me — the action scenes were fairly generic and I found myself tuning them out. And the pilot opens with a torture scene that’s supposed to be shocking but just feels tired at this point. In general, the framework and mythology of the show worked better for me than the cases of the week, so we’ll have to see how that balances out.
Our Favorite Line: “You just beat Lyndon Johnson’s record of finding the lock.”
You Might Like This if you like wacky alternate history conspiracy shows and spy stories with a sense of humor — there’s a bit of Sleepy Hollow and a bit of Burn Notice.
If You’re Interested: In Canada, watch the premiere tonight on Bravo at 9/8c. In the U.S., catch it on demand or on the TNT site, then set your DVR for Sunday at 9/8c.
(Image courtesy of TNT.)