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October 8, 2015

'Undercovers' Season 1, Episode 3 Recap (VIDEO)

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 7th 2010 12:30AM
Undercovers['Undercovers' - 'Devices']

'Undercovers' is one of those shows that sounds better when you talk about it than when you actually watch it. There's actually less here than meets the eye. So what I thought I'd do this week is talk about the plot of tonight's episode and what was good and bad about it -- it was the typical spy plot in which our heroes are looking for a code-breaking device that turned out to be a person, not a machine, a plot used a thousand times before -- I thought I'd list three ways that the show could still improve.

Of course, with ratings like this the show might not even finish its first season, but that doesn't mean we can't talk about improvements, right?

1. Make the show a little darker. This show wants to be a modern 'Hart to Hart,' mixing the lovey-dovey marriage banter in with the spy work. But I don't remember Jonathan and Jennifer arguing as much as Steven and Samantha do, even if the arguing is usually light. The marriage stuff really isn't working. While 'Hart to Hart' was more glamorous than this show, it also managed to have more edge than this show, somehow.

So while it's interesting to have each episode start with the murder of several people, there seems to be no bite in the rest of the episode. Bad guys are dispatched by dart gun instead of machine gun, there's always a humorous tone that interrupts the action, and the heroes are put in faux-dangerous situations that you know they're going to get out of. It's disappointing, really.

2. Get rid of the catering business altogether or make it the center of the show. No in-between. It's fine that the spies have been retired for five years and Gerald McRaney comes and activates them again for missions while they continue to work at their catering company, but some of the light, funny catering interludes just get in the way. So I say let's have the entire show set at the catering company, sort of a headquarters for the spies that the other employees know nothing about. Maybe McRaney can build a secret room where they can meet.

I know what you're thinking: That sounds like 'Chuck!' It does. I really like 'Chuck.'

3. More Leo and Hoyt. The comedy with these guys actually works. They're funny and personable and occasional irritants for our heroes, but unlike a lot of shows like this they're also actually very competent in their spy work and add something to the team (even Hoyt the techie guy is good with a gun). Tonight's episode was the best episode of the three so far because it was a true team effort, and that angle is working more than the husband and wife spy work is.

Actually, I'd watch a show centered around Leo and Hoyt. Or Samantha and Leo. Or Steven and Hoyt. Maybe some episodes can focus on different teams on different missions. Something has to be shaken up here.

4. We need a mythology/bigger plot! Do big mythology stories get in the way on TV shows sometimes? Yes. Do fans sometimes revolt against mythology arcs and plead for shows to get back to "story of the week" episodes? Yes.

So what?

This show is so light and predictable -- tonight was yet another episode where the case was solved in a really pedestrian, quick, neat way, the bad guys arrested and McRaney briefing the spies -- that you forget about it 12 minutes into 'Law & Order: SVU.' So 'Undercovers' needs a meaty, bigger story that the spies can focus on and try to solve. It's a spy show. They're made for that type of continuing story.

At this rate, the season-ending cliffhanger is going to revolve around some catering supplies that don't arrive on time. Will the customers refuse to pay?

If they don't want to do a big mythology or conspiracy story, how about a big bad guy, an assassin or some other mastermind, who always gets away? That could lead to some exciting episodes and a built-in season-ender (if we get that far), Steven and Samantha chasing him around the world.

Of course, that could be in the works already. But I don't know if NBC is going to continue to hang on to this show. Since it's J.J. Abrams it might need more time to catch on, but it's still on shaky ground. I can't imagine the show continuing too much longer unless they change some of the pieces, and the above suggestions can only help.

'Undercovers' airs Wednesdays at 8PM ET on NBC

[Follow Bob on Twitter.]

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Heroes being put in danger that we know that they'll escape from is a reality with pretty much any action/adventure series. You can't just say that about Undercovers alone.I loved 24 but we knew each hour of that show that Jack was going to pull off a miracle & remain alive.I find the Hoyt character a tired old cliche.A nerd tech guy who is nervous,insecure with women & provides comic relief.Nothing new there.

October 07 2010 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1.Make the show a little darker.
Couldn't agree more on that one.Light Banter is fine,but the full on comedy mode doesn't work for me..at all.
2.Get rid of the catering business alltogether or make it the center of the show.No in-between.
Actually,it does provide a good cover for them,it just needs to be woven into the story better.Although,You tell me how two retired relatively young spies can afford the start up capital for that business/fabulous kitchen and I've got a bridge somewhere to sell somebody.
3.More Leo and Hoyt
Any MORE of the 'blues brothers' and I stop watching.The Show is called UNDERCOVERS,not Leo and Hoyt,
and if it turns into the Samantha and Leo hour,I'm shooting out my very expensive television.They should take a page from the old Equalizer series with the late,great Edward Woodward and have a recurring guest roster of agents they used to work with.And besides,WTF? More Leo and Hoyt=more comedy,I thought you wanted a darker show.
4.We need a mythology/bigger plot!
Definitely,but with the caveat that this is only the third episode and not Lost.Stand alone episodes are fine right now.SVU that follows it mostly does stand alone episodes,so can Undercovers.They just need to improve on them.

October 07 2010 at 5:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Do big mythology stories get in the way on TV shows sometimes? Yes. Do fans sometimes revolt against mythology arcs and plead for shows to get back to "story of the week" episodes? Yes."

Really!? People like "Story of the week" more than a Bigger Plots that unfolds as the season progresses? I seriously never knew that and now it makes sense why the CSI's, NCIS's and all the Police Dramas are on the air so long.

Jeez, this show is so boring. Is it bad that I only watch it for the Black people? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's bad...

October 07 2010 at 2:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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