Intelligence 1×01 – Pilot

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So basically it’s about a spy with Google Glass?

Truth be told, this isn’t a terrible pilot. Yes it’s packed with exposition, but CBS’ new spy-thriller is serviceable entertainment that breezes on by with a healthy dose of action and charm.

One thing Intelligence definitely has going for it is its top-notch cast. Josh Holloway was excellent on Lost, and although Gabriel Vaughn doesn’t feel like a huge stretch from Sawyer, it’s still great to see Holloway play an unapologetic asskicker. The gorgeous Meghan Ory, one of the highlights of Once Upon A Time (a show I eventually gave up on), joins him as Secret Service agent Riley Neal. The bodyguard’s dynamic with Gabriel isn’t the most original (they trade barbs and googly eyes), but it gets the job done. Less effective are the writers’ attempts at building her up as a formidable agent; Riley needs saving several times in the pilot and unfortunately fills the damsel in distress trope. Rounding out the cast is Marg Helgenberger as Lillian Strand, director of Cyber Command. I was never a fan of CSI, but Marg is a reliable talent, and she infuses Lilian with just the right dose of authority and motherly instinct. I have no doubt they’ll give her some intriguing material going forward.

I was impressed by the Amos twist, as I was sure he was going to stick around as the witty IT sidekick. It would do Intelligence good to keep the twists coming, as I’m not too sure how the show’s core premise (Gabriel’s constant access to the “information grid”) can be sustained. The writers have to set limits soon, or his chip can turn into a deus-ex-machina pretty fast. The nifty sniper resolution however, was surprisingly inspired.

Thankfully, Intelligence doesn’t look like it will be a pure procedural. It’s no secret that I much prefer shows with a dense mythology and serialized storytelling, and we got enough tidbits in the pilot to keep me intrigued. First there’s Gabriel’s wife who may or not be a traitor (and who may or may not be dead). That’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but it at least adds some personal stakes to the proceedings. In addition, the pilot final moments were tremendously intriguing with the awakening of the second chip-subject. Here’s hoping the writers will manage to keep me hooked amidst all the missions-of-the-week that’ll undoubtedly befall us.

Conclusion
A conventional yet somewhat promising pilot. I’ll stick around for another episode or two before deciding if Intelligence is a keeper. Now is it too late to change the show’s title?

Nad Rating
B

6 comments

  1. Agree with every word you said, Nadim! The final few minutes of the show do make it a bit more interesting for me to stick around for a couple more episodes. And Sawyer is always welcome on my screen!

    I'm so glad you decided to review this show!

  2. Intelligence is pretty okay and I'll stick around for a few episodes. However, it's certainly no NIKITA and I'll be very critical of how this show tells it's tale. (Did you notice the character who played Heidegger is in it?)
    I'm most critical of their IT section. I'm doubtful they'll find someone who can be a Marshall and they certainly wont top Birkhoff's character.
    My review/response of the Nikita finale will be posted eventually, haha.

    By the way– have you ever seen The Blacklist? It's pretty good to be honest. I didn't expect to like it but I think it'll be good. It's on 1×13 now so you've got time to catch up.

    And I totally agree with you about the name. Intelligence? Really? It's like when Ryan in “One Way” asked Nikita what 'the group' was called. (After Ryan says “Just division?” with suspicion and she says “Pretentious, I know”.)

    Looks as though we have a new show to chat about. I'll talk to you soon!

    Alex

  3. Great to read your thoughts Alex. I saw the Blacklist pilot and wasn't too impressed. But I keep hearing that it becomes more serialized which I much prefer. Perhaps I'll give it another shot 🙂

  4. It's pretty good / worth watching.

    I wont, however, for a moment name it a great or terrific show. It provides very decent entertainment but at times I feel like I'm watching the FBI vs. serial killers modified/weaker version of ALIAS.

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