See It or Free It: 'Intelligence'

Josh Holloway’s return to television is the sole reason to give this, yet another network procedural, a chance. The set-up is strikingly similar to that of NBC’s now departed, cult hit “Chuck”. In the case of “Intelligence”, instead of an ordinary man having access to top secret knowledge imbedded in his brain, is an intelligence agent (Josh Holloway). His gift comes via a super-computer chip that allows him to have his abilities, where in the case of “Chuck”, it was due to an accidental download.

All in all, Holloway’s character basically has Google Glass minus the abrasive headgear. This is where the series hits its first snag. There is considerable time spent exploring the various graphics that nests all of this information. The graphics simply aren’t that special to warrant such adulation. Viewers have seen this is in countless movies and in similar fashion on other TV shows. Less is more when it comes to this angle.

Holloway was a prominent fan favorite on “Lost”, where he brought his roguish charm and confident fortitude to the role of Sawyer. Here he brings his abilities with fervor and a straighter laced approach to his characterization of Gabriel. Sawyer 2.0, this character is not. He is a significantly cleaned up version of that entertaining archetype. 

On the other side, Megan Ory (“Once Upon a Time”) plays Riley, Gabriel’s pseudo bodyguard. Right off the bat, the physicality of this lean, mean fighting machine seems an impossible match for any professional attacker. A line mused by Marg Helgenberger in the pilot, meant to stir the audience in awe of Riley’s combat skills, fell amusingly flat.

As she described a multiply stabbed Riley, fending off more than one attacker and then still managing to get the President’s children home for dinner. Meant to impress, it sounded so outlandishly ridiculous that all one could do, is laugh. Ory’s performance is respectable though and she and Holloway share a convincing enough chemistry.

If the roles were reversed and the female protagonist was the chip-ee and the male protagonist, the bodyguard, the show would have arguably had more story opportunities. Brains vs. brawn can sometimes be the sticking point for the female/male dynamic.

Plus, if you have Ory’s character knowing all of Holloway’s character’s deep dark secrets, you have an automatic bone of contention between the pair. She would have known him better than anyone and he would resent it, due to its non-organic origination.

Episodes Aired: 1

See It or Free It: See It, Holloway as a series lead is worth checking out. How long the tiring villain of the week storyline can be fun to watch, will remain to be seen. In a season that saw breakout hit “The Blacklist” maneuver past the restrictions of procedural territory, the bar has been set mighty high and comparisons, are unavoidable.