Something interesting is happening over on the USA network. While most of us have been spending our summer TV time curled up with a ton of trashtastic reality shows and competition talent shows, the basic-cable network has been turning out a pretty extensive crop of quality scripted television. From established hits like Burn Notice and In Plain Sight, to third-season faves White Collar and Royal Pains, to newbie’s Suits and Necessary Roughness, the network has stacked its programming with compelling characters, action-packed storylines, and some good-ol’ fun.
But the show I’m crushing hard on right now is Covert Affairs – the hour-long series about the adventures of young CIA trainee Annie Walker. I’m kinda obsessed with the missions, the cast, and all the sexual tension flying around the show. And as Covert Affairs comes to the end of the first part of its second-season summer run August 9th (part two airs this winter), I’m already jonesing for some more one-on-one time with Annie and the gang.
I have a crush on Piper Perabo
Ever since I saw her dance up on that bar in Coyote Ugly, I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Piper Perabo. Back then, the buzz was that Perabo was the next big thing. But then Perabo’s career kind of … fizzled. She did the live-action version of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. And Cheaper by the Dozen. And Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Not the best showcases for the new IT girl.
But Covert Affairs finally gives Perabo the platform she needs. As Annie Walker, she’s showcasing a great range here. She’s charismatic and tough, beautiful and fierce. She spends just as much time chasing bad guys and kicking ass as she does catching up with her family. Perabo guides us through Annie’s duality by placing a slight emotional doubt behind every choice she makes. She’s confident, but scared at the same time – eager, but not always capable. It’s that realness that keeps us rooting for Annie – and makes Perabo the perfect center to this show.
Peter Gallagher’s Eyebrows
You loved them in Center Stage. You couldn’t look away from them in The O.C.. And you were a little bit annoyed by them when they threatened to take away Cher’s club like that in Burlesque. But now Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows are back – browin’ it up all over the place on Covert Affairs. Gallagher plays CIA Clandestine Services Director Arthur Campbell, a no-nonsense kind of guy who’s always putting out fires left and right. Which means that his lovely eyebrows get a total workout! Welcome back, boys. We missed you.
Shirtless Christopher Gorham
Christopher Gorham first popped up on my radar back on Popular. But I didn’t learn his name until season one of Ugly Betty, where he was playing Henry Grubstick – Betty’s nerdy coworker and future love interest. You always knew Gorham was hot, but it was hard to see what was going on under that button-up shirt and sweater vest. Until season 2, when Henry appeared multiple times without his shirt on. (Note: this made me simultaneously love Betty for getting the hot guy and hate Betty for not sharing him).
As blind special ops agent Auggie Anderson on Covert Affairs, there’s seemingly no reason we’d see Gorham without a shirt on. But that hasn’t stopped the writers from giving us countless scenes of those serious six packs. On Tuesday’s episode, we practically had 5 minutes of glamour shots of Gorham’s torso, while Auggie and his army buddies played football. Touchdown!
Sure, Gorham is more than just a hot body. He’s given Auggie a smart, sexy charm and confidence that I can’t get enough of. And I’m totally rooting for him to get together with Annie. But until that happens, I’ll take a few more shirtless scenes thank you very much.
Let’s face it: we miss Alias
When Alias went off the air in 2006, there was a huge void left in my TV-viewing mammoth. I longed for some female-driven hot, sexy, spy action. The disguises, the often hard-to-understand missions, the kick-ass action – none of it was there anymore. And then Covert Affairs popped up.
Covert Affairs is nowhere near as good as Alias. It lacks the depth of character development, storytelling, and overall mystery that wrapped around the ABC series. I mean, you wouldn’t see Rambaldi anywhere near Covert Affairs. They could never handle a plotline so involved. And let’s talk about how Jennifer Garner’s Sydney Bristow was a double agent! Think about how much paranoia and danger was built into that very premise alone! Sydney was always in danger of being caught by both the CIA and SD-6. The risk was insane. Over on Covert Affairs, Annie’s only really concerned her sister will find out she doesn’t work for the Smithsonian.
But really, none of that takes away from Covert Affairs’ fun. So yeah, Sydney Bristow could kick Annie Walker’s ass. And yeah, Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) was a way hotter handler than Auggie Anderson. Does that really matter? If both shows were on at the same time, I’d say yes – and totally choose Alias. But the fact is, I need a spy show in my life. And Covert Affairs is the best one around.
So even though the drama is not as high, and the mystery is not that deep, and the opening credits are completely awful, I’ll take Covert Affairs. They showed that you could do a spy show and just have some good clean fun. And really – isn’t that what we love most about summer TV?
What do you say, TelevisionByters – are you hooked on Covert Affairs too?