True Lies: Pilot
March 9, 2023 6:17 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

An unfulfilled suburban housewife is shocked to discover that her bland and unremarkable computer consultant husband is a skilled international spy.
posted by porpoise (13 comments total)
First impression: knockoff-looking actors. And not even of the original actors in the movie, like knockoffs of a TV adaptation.

By the end of the pilot, I could see that there are some maybe ok bones in this one.

It's a rough start being a movie spinoff that rewrites a 140 minute movie into 40 minutes of TV to start the series off after originalHelen got to tango with confidence.

The original movie (1994) might not be in my top 5 but it's in my top 10. Tough act to follow.

Second episode dropped yesterday.
posted by porpoise at 6:23 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]

I hated the movie so much--the treatment of Jamie Lee Curtis's character is so abysmal and so misogynistic--that I could barely get through it. (Actually, I think I ended up seeing it in chunks when it was on regular rotation on one of those movie networks.)

I was reluctant to watch this because the movie has left such a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, the pilot avoided the worst parts of the movie. It still feels like a really light, paint-by-the-numbers knockoff (that's the perfect description for it), but it's fine for filler.

(I'm enjoying The Company You Keep much, much more. I requested that both it and True Lies be added to FanFare, but so far, this is the only one the mods have posted.)
posted by sardonyx at 7:36 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]

I'm not terribly attached to the original True Lies; it's not a bad action movie (tho it's one of the prime examples for this tweet)'s just not a movie I feel particularly strongly about one way or the other. Although the premise (and character names) are obviously stolen straight from True Lies, this felt to me like it was also pretty strongly influenced by Mr. & Mrs. Smith and I think it definitely benefited from that influence.

It took me a little time to adjust to Steve Howey (a/k/a "the dopey-but-lovable bartender from Shameless") as a secret agent - and while his put-upon, exasperated-husband game is pretty strong (he had plenty of opportunity to develop that skillset working on Shameless), he still isn't as convincing to me when he has to be the kind of hypercompetent super-secret-agent we're supposed to accept him as. But maybe he'll grow into it. The rest of the ensemble all seems fine; no really standout performances in these first two episodes, but no obvious weak links either.

Anyways it's certainly not prestige TV, but I don't think that's the aim here. It's light and fun and funny and moves along quickly and confidently. That's good enough to keep me watching, for now. If it can keep up the energy and pacing, and the actors grow into their roles a bit, it could go from "okay" to "excellent"...on the other hand, the premise also seems like something that could, if not handled carefully, get stale really quickly. We'll see!
posted by mstokes650 at 8:06 PM on March 9

The Company You Keep

ooh, thanks for the rec!

(do you submit the imdb url or just the human-readable show name?

edit: I just submitted the imdb link, I wonder which of us will get a memail first that the show has been approved?)
posted by porpoise at 8:40 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]

I could be wrong, but I don't think I've ever received a notice that a media property I submitted was added.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong. I just use the contact us link, and drop a note to the mods. I typically put in a show name and an IMDB link.
posted by sardonyx at 9:04 PM on March 9

Do you check your memail?

Oooh. You need to go to 'Fanfare'

Click 'New Post' (at the top of the screen)

Select Category > TV

Click the "Suggest one" link

Past the url of the for the property

Click [Verify Show]
posted by porpoise at 9:34 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]

It's ok so far. It's a total cheese factory, but decently competent. Minimal character development aside from Mr. and Mrs. Tasker and the one workmate, but it's early days, so there's a chance it will develop in future episodes.

If we're really lucky it will turn out like Person of Interest, which was totally a wolf in sheep's clothing for pretty much the entire first season. Only after the fact was it possible to see the hidden ambition that existed in that first season.

Even if not, formulaic doesn't have to be bad, so long as it's competently executed and doesn't overstay its welcome. In this case, the kids may provide enough of a twist from the source material that it can manage to be at least somewhat unpredictable.
posted by wierdo at 11:48 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]

Thanks wierdo - my partner and I watched the pilot and... it was soooo much cheese. It's a McG gig, so that is to be expected, but it has a TV budget, so... (Sigh, I am getting sick of the trope where anyone looks through a pair of binoculars, while a digital overlay makes sense, the fact that those overlays are always animated stupidly, simply does not...)
posted by rozcakj at 6:05 AM on March 10

I got the confirmation memail for 'The Company You Keep' at Mar 10, 2023 5:38 AM. Saw your S01 Full Season post (March 11)!
posted by porpoise at 9:15 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]

I noticed a credit for La Totale! in the credits, and that's how I discovered the movie True Lies was based on a French comedy, which ... might explain a few things.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:30 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was definitely doing it wrong. I didn't realize that we could suggest new shows from the post page. I have no idea how I've missed seeing that option.
posted by sardonyx at 9:01 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]

Ugh, second episode is garbage.
posted by porpoise at 6:58 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Episode three is equally dire and just so badly written.

It's amazing that Matt Nix is involved with this. Burn Notice was good (for the most part). The Good Guys was watchable IIRC. This should fall into a similar niche (unlike The Gifted which was an entirely different beast).

I'm not McG's biggest fan, but I kind of had a soft spot for Fastlane--it was very watchable and entertaining popcorn--Chuck could be a lot of fun, Supernatural speaks for itself (good and bad) and yes, I was one of those people who watched all of Human Target and really wished it was better, but even at its worst it wasn't this bad. My half-baked theory about McG is that when he's involved in an original property with other creators working on something new, his odds of producing something watchable go up. When he's involved in an adaptation or reboot, it's strictly done for the paycheque with absolutely no regard for quality even watchability.
posted by sardonyx at 9:41 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]

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