Good morning, and welcome to another Thursday here in my virtual living room! What's been on my tv this week, you ask? Death and deceit and double-crossing, mostly. No biggie. You know, the usual.
I've been watching a lot of super top secret spies in action lately; I think it's a reaction to all of the intake forms that I'm filling out in Corporate World these days. With so many fields in my life containing predetermined variables and alphabetized drop-down menus, it's all sorts of satisfying to watch people kicking butt and taking care of business. All while looking absolutely fabulous, of course.
Here, then, is my Top Five List of Super Cool Spy Shows. If I can't have the jet-setting schedule with the fake passports, or the gorgeous hair full of secrets, then at least I can curl up on my couch in the pocket-sized place with a bowl of popcorn and pretend that I do!
5) Covert Affairs
[caption id="attachment_2633" align="alignleft" width="323"] I want Annie's hair. Her super spy skills would be ok too. But I mostly want her hair.[/caption]
I'm about four episodes in to the fourth season of Covert Affairs, and there are already so many double crosses and triple agents that I can hardly keep up. I may have to bring some of my Corporate World spreadsheets home just to keep track of everyone's identities! But it would be worth it. Since this is a show on the famously blue sky USA network, the operatives all have outstanding hair, and their lives and missions are complicated (but not too complicated!) and unfold in exotic, sunny locations around the world. Plus, some episodes are shot here in my hometown of Toronto, so I feel like I could totally head outside and help Annie Walker with her mission, if she asked me to. If you like your action and adventure shows with a side of witty banter, then Covert Affairs might be for you! Click here to read my full review of the show (and to see Ryan Gosling! No, that isn't click-bait, I promise. Ryan really does stop by).
4) Burn Notice
Seven seasons and I can still quote the opening credits sequence of this one. Partly because the show has such a fresh and yes, funny, take on the spy genre, and partly because lead actor Jeffery Donovan really knows how to wear a pair of sunglasses. What I love about this show (in addition to those gorgeous sunglasses) is the way that the characters find time in between dealing with kidnappings, car chases, and Colombian drug cartels to be snarky and loving and exasperated and protective of each other. They're a family, even if they don't exactly sit down for your typical Sunday night dinners. Click here to read more about the show and to see those sunglasses in action.
[caption id="attachment_2638" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Hi, Michael. I like your ... sunglasses.[/caption]
I'm in a very emotional, very up and down relationship with this show. Season one blew me away. Season two was great ... up to a point. And this season, well, let's just say that Homeland and I are in a "down" phase right now. But I can't just break up with the cast and quit the show cold turkey, because a bad episode of Homeland is still streets ahead of much of what's on television right now. By now everyone knows about Claire Danes' Emmy wins and legendary chin-acting, but that doesn't change the fact that the acting is unlike anything else you’ve seen on television. Damien Lewis, Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin! all give incredibly layered, nuanced performances that bring complicated characters to life. You might not always agree with or approve of their actions, but you always, always want to see what they’re going to do next. Click here to find out the other reasons why I'll never leave Homeland.
Holy bananas does Chuck make me laugh. It's goofy and fun, and probably takes itself less seriously than any of the other shows on this list. It's certainly the least glamorous: Covert Affairs' Annie Walker has a cover working a prestigious job at the Smithsonian; Chuck Bartowski wears polyester and works at Buy More. He also just so happens to get the entire merged database of the CIA and the NSA subliminally embedded into his brain. Chuck is recruited by the CIA to use the knowledge he now possesses to help thwart assassins, international terrorists, and assorted other bad guys. In order to protect his family and friends, Chuck is forced to become a secret agent. He fights evil, saves the world, falls in love ... and still works at Buy More. The series ended last year, but Chuck still works as a pretty great television litmus test: if you crack up when I mention the nerd herd or Captain Awesome, chances are pretty good that I'll eventually let you see what's on my DVR.
If you like action-adventure shows at all, you were probably waiting for this show to make an appearance as soon as you saw the heading of today's post. Alias has it all: action, mystery, drama, romance ... and Bradley Cooper before anyone knew who he was. Alias was created by JJ Abrams, and it has that signature "super emotional scenes underscored by super emotional music that come moments before things start blowing up" style that he became known for on later shows like Lost and movies like Super 8. Plus, it has Jennifer Garner, who has the uncanny ability to look adorable and approachable one moment, and absolutely terrifying the next. She also looks good with every single hair colour under the sun, including neon pink and cobalt blue, which makes for a lot of really fun costume changes. Alias is the only show on this list that makes me cry when I re-watch episodes even now, and the only one that I own in its entirety on DVD.
[caption id="attachment_2639" align="aligncenter" width="560"] I mean, seriously, who else could pull this off?[/caption]
What's your favourite spy show? Did I leave it off my list?
Tell me all about it in the comments!