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.
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?