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TV Review: Whiskey Cavalier

TV Review, ABC, Whiskey Cavalier, Spy, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan

Synopsis: Following an emotional breakup, tough but tender FBI super-agent Will Chase (code name: “Whiskey Cavalier”) is assigned to work with badass CIA operative Frankie Trowbridge (code name: “Fiery Tribune”). Together, they must lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world – and each other – while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics.

TV Review, ABC, Whiskey Cavalier, Spy, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan

Review: Do you know that meme of the dog sitting in a cafe in hell, surrounded by flames, with a smile on his face and proclaiming that "this is fine"? That is Whiskey Cavalier in a nutshell. Airing on ABC as a special preview after the Academy Awards this Sunday, Whiskey Cavalier is the safe and formulaic successor to series like Castle. Tonally similar to The Flash (but without superheroes), this a series that accomplishes what it wants to do but never challenges superior programming like Alias or Chuck to do something better with the material. Like so many shows that came before it, Whiskey Cavalier focuses on being easy to digest and inoffensive in any way as to attract the widest audience possible. So, if you like your series as light and without needing much investment, this is right up your alley.

So, you may be wondering why we would even review a series like Whiskey Cavalier on this site? Well, the big reason is Lauren Cohan. Having previously appeared on NBC's Chuck and most recently as Maggie on AMC's The Walking Dead, Cohan was embroiled in a negotiation with AMC regarding her role on the zombie series that had her return for the current season up in the air for a long time while she tried to get a bigger payday. Some viewed Whiskey Cavalier as a tactic to force AMC's hand and give her a raise, but as you can see she is off of The Walking Dead and squarely on ABC's new show. Is she bad? Not in the least, but there is also a lot less depth to her portrayal of CIA agent Frankie Trowbridge. Cohan is sexy and affable enough to lead a series like this but she is a co-lead with Scott Foley. Had this been a solo effort for Cohan, it likely would have worked better.

TV Review, ABC, Whiskey Cavalier, Spy, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan

The biggest problem with this show is the lack of chemistry between the leads. Going back to his days on Felicity, Scott Foley has always seemed like a solid love interest for a female lead character. Having spent five seasons on Shonda Rhimes' Scandal, Foley has built a fanbase that will likely follow him to this show. But starting Whiskey Cavalier by showing Foley's Will Chase crying and listening to sad music after being dumped by his fiance instantly reduces this from being a spy drama to a comedy-drama with every joke dropping like lead. It is very difficult to laugh as the tone of the first episodes is all over the place and never feels organic or natural. Peter Atencio (KEANU) directs the series with a nice eye for action but one that never balances it with the dramatic or comedic beats.

This series echoes so many series that came before it and that have populated network television for decades that it never feels fresh or new. In fact, watching Whiskey Cavalier I felt the distinct tinge of deja vu. Writing this review forced me to recall so many short-lived spy shows I have seen come and go that it ceased to feel like it was even worth comparing. Because, like even the most generic of network shows, you can still watch it and enjoy what you are seeing. The problem comes in committing to a twenty-plus season of formulaic adventures and sexual tension that could not feel less organic. Foley and Cohan get along but at no point do they have a Jack and Kate or Mulder and Scully like attraction that emanates from the screen. It just feels like they were cast and no one bothered to check if they worked well together.

TV Review, ABC, Whiskey Cavalier, Spy, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan

Nothing about Whiskey Cavalier differs from what is presented in the trailers. There are gun fights and car chases as well as lots of double-crosses along with plot devices ripped from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and other far superior franchises. But, the title of the show is Whiskey Cavalier and is meant to be a star vehicle for Foley when it really should have been one for Cohan. The supporting cast, including Dylan Walsh, Ana Ortiz, Tyler James Williams, and Josh Hopkins are all fine but they never reach being good. Nothing is bad about Whiskey Cavalier but there is also nothing very compelling or original about it, either. This is the type of series that you will look back upon in a decade and have completely forgotten about or question how it ended up lasting for nine seasons. Neither is truly indicative of the quality of it which is middling at best.

Whiskey Cavalier previews it's first episode February 24th before it debuts in it's regular time slot starting March 6th on ABC.

Source: JoBlo.com

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