I was really up for this show. I love sophisticated spy series with a touch of romance. The set-up seemed promising: the goofy, innocent little sister (Mekia Cox), the hidden conspiracy for dragging the agents back into the field.
Undercovers feels dated and unsatisfying. Gerald McRaney’s grumpy spy master hits all the wrong notes. He seems patronizing and disaffected. (Interesting that he was the first actor cast for the show.) The super attractive couple (Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) are always on display but lack sexual charge.
Where it the authentic sense of menace that informed Abram’s earlier Alias? Despite the talent involved, this show is a failure of imagination. What does a fully sexual, romantic, affectionate black marriage look like? How do you place blacks in an established genre and make it seem fresh?
And can we get past the idea that just because a project wasn’t developed for black (or female or …) actors, that it’s automatically better? I’m not even sure how that kind of publicity helps (cf. Salt).
Nonetheless, I’m grateful for an hour with African Americans without any neck or eye rolling, hands on the hips, or witty catch phrases that date back to Good Times.
Here’s to Undercovers finding its voice and its edge.