Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guilty Pleasures: SHE SPIES

Back in 2002-03, there aired a two-season, late night syndicated adventure series called She Spies. Now, I never saw it when it was on television, but a few years back, MGM released the first season on DVD and sent me a copy for review. Needless to say, I was intrigued – "shes" and "spies" being two of my favorite things, after all.

Once I started watching the show, I found myself very pleasantly surprised. No, not that it was low budget and ludicrous – one doesn't expect much from a "jiggle" adventure series intended to air after midnight – but at how much I enjoyed the characters and how funny it was.

The first season of She Spies is a deliberate and knowing spoof of television adventure shows (and late night syndicated action shows in particular), loaded with broad humor, pop culture references and in-jokes. The premise – which is bluntly stated in nearly ever episode – is that the government has taken three gorgeous convicts: a con artist named Cassie (the stunning Natsha Henstridge – who was once rumored to have been cast as Modesty Blaise for a proposed Quentin Tarantino Blaise film) a streetwise tough girl (the sexy Natashia Williams) and a skillful computer hacker named D.D. (the astoundingly adorable Kristen Miller, whom I love desperately), and put them to work as agents for a secret federal agency dedicated to eliminating evildoers. Their "control" is a likable schlub named Jack (Carlos Jacott), who really needs for the She Spies program to work, since it was his idea.

Basically a rather blatant TV rip-off of director McG's Charlie's Angels feature films (which is why it's so amusing that four(!) people are listed in the credits as "creators;" I guess they all chipped in to rent the Angels videos), She Spies still manages to succeed on its own silly merits. The scripts are generally witty, sharp and occasionally heartwarming (yeah, I was surprised, too) the chemistry among the characters is great, and while there's clearly not much of a budget (which the characters are well aware of, too), the production values are pretty good. The humor in the first couple of episodes is too broad and over-the-top for my tastes, but the producers soon find a nice balance between plot and comedy, and by mid-season, the show evolved into something quite entertaining.

Now, I've never seen any episodes from the series' second season, which apparently removed all of the self-referential and fourth wall-breaking humor. They also replaced Jancott as the team's control officer with a couple of more traditional authority figures. Boo!

MGM's DVD presentation of the first season of the show is basic, but respectable. You get 20 episodes on four discs, in two twin slim packs. The show is presented in the standard TV 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. There are no extras whatsoever.

Three beautiful babes, self-aware humor, ninjas… it's perfect viewing for 2 A.M and as easily digestible as Jello. It might not be for everyone, but every once in a while, when I'm in the mood, I'll spin a disc and rewatch an episode or two. Fun stuff.


Brian Sheridan said...

The first season was the best. When they lost its sense of the absurd, the show really suffered. Also, it was not designed for late nite showings. It actually was made part of the NBC lineup for a few episodes before finishing on cable.

Christopher Mills said...

While the first four episodes did air on NBC television, the series was produced and sold to local stations as a syndicated program, and aired in late night slots in most markets.

NBC's syndication company was one of the producers of She Spies and the limited network airings were intended to give the syndicated series a bigger launch (and give NBC a month's less reruns during the Summer). It was never actually intended as a permanent NBC program.

RJR said...

Three gorgeous girls, and I liked season 2 better than season 1. The guy in season1 was toomuch of a joke. Cameron Daddo worked much better, and they started to move towards something happening between he and Cassie.

She Spies was not good, but it was good fun. I felt thesame way about the Pam Anderson VIP.