If next week is any barometer, TNT is about to become Spy TV — for better and for worse. For better, as my video review above says, is the almost totally revamped Legends. Back for a second season on November 2, the Sean Bean-starrer has gone darker and more desperate than its first much more standard procedural season (which I have to admit I liked). For worse … well, that would be Agent X, which bows November 8. The undeniable talent of Sharon Stone is simply wasted in this ludicrously contrived and weakly executed tale of conspiracy revolving around the first female Vice President of the United States, coups, cartels and secret agents that serve to protect the Republic in times of crisis.
Jettisoning the supporting cast except for now-Rosewood star Morris Chestnut, the setting and even much of the premise of its first season, Legends, based on the writings of Robert Littell, has taken Bean’s persona-jumping ex-FBI agent Martin Odum home to the UK. Under the radar and on the run, Odum is trying to find out who he really is and how he got to where he is amidst all the identities, known as legends, that he’s taken on over the years and the toll that’s taken. Eurospies, remnants of national and ethnic conflicts, plus a rather novel secondary plotline from 2000 of Bean as Russian gangster Dmitry Petrovich bring a very watchable depth and complexity to a show that previously just hinted at such aims.
Season 2 of Legends, which like the excellent second season of HBO’s The Leftovers is really a whole new show that you barely need the first season of, borrows the best tone from the Bean-starring ITV miniseries Extremely Dangerous, some of the grit and blood of 24: Live Another Day, and the psychological and religious dramas of Homeland (worth noting that Legends EP Howard Gordon holds the same credit on 24 and Homeland and has obviously brought their bare essentials to this show). The real strength though remains the never-to-be underestimated Bean. As his role in Ridley Scott’s The Martian and of course that first season of Game Of Thrones shows, he’s an actor with wide-ranging versatility.
So check out my duel review of Agent X and Season 2 of Legends and tell us what you think. Being that TNT has put the first episode of Legends Season 2 up online, you can check that out too.
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