15 thoughts on “CBS’ New True Lies Series Had a Shockingly Bad Pilot

  1. The premise of True Lies isn’t one that adapts well to an ongoing series. But I don’t think the movie holds up. I rewatched it a few years ago and despite the spectacular stunts it doesn’t hold me as well as Terminator or Die Hard. On top of which the treatment of Curtis doesn’t rewatch well.
    And even on first viewing “the nuclear bomb only went off on an uninhabited island in the Florida keys so it’s no problem” was ridiculous.

  2. The hotel scene with Curtis is one that I’ve always fast-forwarded after the first viewing. It’s so uncomfortable watching her dance knowing that it’s against her will. I don’t care that it’s her husband.

    Never mind the things going on behind the scenes with the stunt coordinator being a creep.

  3. I think this show is a major misfire. The wife character emotes “Housewives of Who Cares”… too superficial. And the outed husband spy is just too sappy. Not sure if its the writing, the casting or the acting… all the above??

    Really wanted to like this new show, but the True Lies series is a definite “swing-and-a-miss” in my view.

    Disappointed 😞

  4. This series may not last a year. The poor casting, lame plots, and robotic acting makes you wonder if the producers saw the original movie. I eagerly awaited this series and felt betrayed after the pilot and 5 minutes of the second episode. The faster it is flushed the better.

  5. They can take Helen out of the show all together. Her whining voice adds nothing but irritation. When they have a shootout scene they don’t need to add all that loud heavy metal music. There is enough going on without all the loud music. Steve Howie is better than what this show has to offer and paring him up with a whiny woman does not do anything for the show. I will not be watching it until it gets better if it does.

  6. Even with its questionable, flat writing and poor adaptation from screen…the incredibly poor casting of this show is the nail in the coffin. There is zero chemistry between Helen/Ginger and Harry/Steve — both actors who have been stellar in other roles but are flailing in the full-on lack of sparks between them in this unfortunate series. The casting of the leads is sooOOOO obviously pestilent, it makes me wonder if the casting director ever even saw these two actors reading together on stage — or just greedily grabbed at their recognizable faces from the audition pile and called it good in a feverish yet miserably failed attempt to add some intrigue to this stale TV fart. Really a shame, as the movie could have, should have been a fabulous base from which to build a solid series!

  7. I don’t know how they planned to make the plot of the movie into a long running series, especially if she finds out he’s a spy in episode one. Then where do the “lies” come in? I hate to crib off of an anime here, but there’s one called Spy x Family that does this very well because *both* of the main characters have a secret life that they aren’t revealing to their partner. That makes sense and adds drama in a way that lasts.

    Creating a tv series that just rehashed the movie plot, but worse, was always a weird, unsustainable choice.

  8. I had no idea that a television series based on the film True Lies was on the street, until I read it here. (Then, again, I have no idea of current television programming at all.) But, from Mr. Cronin’s review, it seems to be a distorted version of the 1980’s series Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

    I saw only sporadic episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs. King during its original four-season run. (Little things like trans-ocean deployments got in the way.) But recently, I binge-watched the show on Roku.

    For those who came in late, the premise of Scarecrow and Mrs. King kicks off when an espionage agent, fleeing from enemy agents, is forced to rely on an ordinary housewife to complete his mission. This opens the door for the housewife, Amanda King, a divorced single mom (hence. the “Mrs. King”), to get involved in future operations.

    In watching the show over a month, I noted a few things which the series True Lies seems to lack. The chemistry between Scarecrow‘s two leads, Kate Jackson and Bruce Boxleitner, is undeniable.

    Most interesting, the show developed logical thematic arcs over its course. For the first fifteen episodes or so, Mrs. King is a housewife but with keen intuition whom the espionage agency turns to when the agent, Lee “Scarecrow” Stetson, needs a simple cover (e.g., he posing as a suburban husband and needs a wife), and the agency knows it can trust Amanda.

    If the scripts kept doing this, it would stretch belief. Instead, over the course of the series, she grows into her new rôle. The agency hires her as a civilian administrative assistant. She receives training in basic espionage skills. By the third season, she’s an apprentice agent, and by the last season. she’s a full-fledged, if inexperienced, operative. Her evolution is handled subtly and believably—a progression evidently missing from the True Lies series.

    In fairness, sometimes the drama in Scarecrow ran a little thin—especially during the period when Juanita Bartlett was the executive producer and she tried to turn the show into another Rockford Files. But many times, the missions in which Mrs. King was embroiled were legitimately serious with realistic danger. Especially the first eight or ten episodes. The show walked a fine tightrope between spy drama and fish-out-of-water comedy. Sometimes, it slipped. But, mostly it stayed in the wire.

    (The other arc—in which agent Stetson goes from being irritated with having a civilian involved, to worrying about her safety, to gradually admiring her, to falling in love with her, and marrying her—also evolves naturally. But it has no parallel in True Lies.)

    I’m tempted to doubt True Lies will go for four seasons (without serious overhaul), but the modern television audience loves stuff that I couldn’t sit through five minutes of. So, what do I know?

  9. Yeah, it definitely was more of a Scarecrow and Mr. King riff than True Lies, per se. But now CBS has canceled it after just the one season. It was their lowest-rated show by far.

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