‘Intelligence’ Review: Google Glassy Eyed With Josh Holloway

'Intelligence' Review: Google Glassy Eyed With Josh Holloway

The former “Lost” star is too cool for CBS's dull drama

CBS's new “Intelligence” stars Josh Holloway as a person connected to the Internet at all times — like pretty much all of us.

Holloway plays Gabriel Vaughn, a government agent with a super microchip implanted in his brain that enables him to recreate crime scenes, hack into bad guys’ emails, and unlock doors. The one thing he can't do, of course, is get a full read on Riley (Meghan Ory) the pretty young operative charged with protecting him. (Will they or won't they? I don't care.)

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Their boss is played by Marg Helgenberger, who tries to make it all believable by keeping a straight face. But what the show needs is more passion.

The attempt to ground the show in reality feels unnecessary and not fun, because nothing here is all that unbelievable. Unlike the psychic machine at the heart of “Person of Interest,” another CBS procedural starring a beloved “Lost” alum, the device that powers “Intelligence” fails to fire our imaginations — or spark any big-picture questions. (“Person of Interest” at least makes us think about the ethics of fighting “Minority Report”-style future crimes.)

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Vaughn is basically just a guy who can Google things really fast and hack into stuff even better than our girlfriend's genius little brother. His main superpower is that he doesn't need to do it on his laptop or phone, because his little weapon is implanted right in his head.

It's kind of like Google Glass without the goofy-looking glasses — and of course it's quicker, enables its user to process things we mere mortals never could, and can sweet-talk doors, a la R2-D2. The problem is, it's not that exciting. Think of it as Google Glassy Eyed.

“Intelligence” tries to liven things up with Chinese operatives desperate to get the new technology, questions about who Vaughn can trust, and a mystery about his wife. I know I'm supposed to wonder whether he'll eventually go for the mysterious Riley, and wonder about her secrets, but it all just felt too telegraphed.

The show also tries to wow us with some frozen-in-time visuals that show us how Vaughn can see the world with his magic microchip. You know when Jean Grey freezes everything in the “X Men” movies? It looks like that.

Can we talk R2-D2 again? One thing that made him so cool was how nonchalantly he did the amazing things he did. He was just cool, in the way Holloway the actor is just cool. Almost everyone in the original “Star Wars” trilogy is cool, with the obvious exceptions of Luke and Threepio.

The golden boy or golden droid, with their respective powers to move objects and translate really fast, were not cool. Golden boys with too many powers tend to be a little annoying. It's why people prefer the too-human Batman to the powerful alien Superman.

Holloway should not be playing a golden Superman. He was at his coolest on “Lost” as the Han Solo to Matthew Fox‘s Luke. He should be cracking wise and shooting first. He should be flawed and a little scary and fun. Here, he's saddled with too much power to be cool — and doesn't even get cool powers in the process. Or the microprocessing.

“Intelligence” premieres at 9/8c on CBS.

  • serdude1968

    It's possible that the show will turn out well, but it has a major strike against it. You see, it is fine to put out a comedic take on a serious show after that show (or movie) has been seen. But putting out a serious/adventure show that seems to be based on a per-existing comedy show would seem to take some of the intensity out of the serious/adventure show. So, is this going to be “Chuck” but without the laughs?

    Well, at least Molloy didn't give away the end of the series like he did with Breaking Bad just a few days after the final episode.

    • tim.molloy

      I gave away the ending of Breaking Bad minutes after it ended, with a big ol’ spoiler warning. As for what I write a few days later, many apologies, but that's on you for reading the story. If I miss the ending of the greatest show ever made, I don't expect the whole internet to wait for me to catch up. I hope it wasn't ruined for you, because it was great.

  • David Perkins

    Does Gabriel ‘flash’ or ‘zoom’ to his intersect?

  • KloverJane

    It's the pilot episode. They're always pretentious.

  • Stuart W

    Watched “Intelligence” tonight and reasonably enjoyed the camera quality and plot.
    Actors are O.K with principals easy to look at. Much more impressed with
    this show than “Hostage”. Read your review AFTER seeing the show Mr. Molloy.
    My but aren't you the impatient one, wanting to see Gabe get into his “protector'” (Riley's ) pants in the premiere episode the while criticizing the productions “lack of passion”. You are nothing if not a class-act.

    Why am I reasonably at peace knowing there's no way you possess the chops to compose a superior script?

  • inthebusiness

    what a piece of crap network tv has served up again….same old plot line and characters…the long haired geek turned villian who uses bro anf booray in five minutes? the ervil chinesae? what a bore

  • Lynn

    I thought the tech and production quality were fantastic but if I'm going to honest Holloway was really the only thing I truly enjoyed about the show, which saddened me because I have always enjoyed Helgenberger. I'll cut it some slack since it was just the pilot and perhaps the cast chemistry hadn't had time to click yet…but besides that I'm not sure how the show will hold up on Mondays.

  • Nicole

    I like the show well enough… except that I find Helgenberger completely unwatchable in her role. All the women in this show have trouble convincing the viewer that they are anything more than pretty models, but Helgenberger in particular stands out as an unbelievable power player, relying too much on her face and body and putting far too little emphasis on confidence and intelligence. Women with that much power don't stroll slowly into a room as if they have nowhere else to go, and they certainly don't prance in high heels. Almost every move she makes is wrong and her line delivery is off. She needs to shadow an executive (outside of Hollywood) STAT.