Monday, November 24, 2008

simply spy games

when i was little i always wanted to be a spy when i grew up. i specifically wanted to be a russian spy--which does seem rather unpatriotic--but in my defense they seemed more glamorous and sexy and more likely to be female during the cold war. and while i do enjoy spy movies (see simply bond), i really love spy shows.

"alias" is one of my all time favorite shows. the first two seasons are masterpieces, and though seasons three to five are roller coaster rides in terms of quality and even enjoyment, it still remains at the top of the list. what worked for the show in its first season was the balancing of life, friends and family, who lived outside the business of spying, the double agent suspense and danger, and the sexy spy handler. the latter being my favorite aspect of the show.

sydney bristow was the embodiment of who i wanted to be when i grew up. except that she wasn't a russian spy. sydney kicked some serious ass, rocked some awesome and ridiculous costumes, and had some serious romantic and sexual tension with agent vaughn. man, did i want an agent vaughn in my life. michael vartan was seriously sexy. even if compared to jennifer garner he was a complete wimp. i still love him.

anyway, i also really love "chuck". this take on the spy genre relies on fish out of water stories, but has a very charming and quirky group of characters. one of the things it seems to do well is avoid the pitfalls of its predecessor, "alias". instead of allowing itself to get sucked in to an insanely complicated mythology, the show follows a "bad guy of the week" formula, while balancing some of the things that worked so well for "alias" too: friends & family outside spy business, burden of living a double life, and sexy spy handler.

the overall tone of the show is more lighthearted and whimsical that the dark melodrama that occasionally overwhelmed "alias" and that's why this show is a keeper. sadly, it suffers from an anemic number of viewers, and though nbc has given the show an early full season pick up, it is by no means guaranteed to continue to air past its second season. so, if you haven't checked it out and you like spy games with a little heart and whimsy, this is the show for you. it is really good. and i can only hope more people will discover it. (i believe it might be airing after the "super bowl" this year, which will hopefully bring it to the attention of new viewers.)

anyway, i still say spies are cool, even if i no longer have any desire to be one. and i'm sure i'll be talking more about spies in the future.

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