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The Telefile
Intelligence: Like Chuck, But With Less Nerdiness and More Cable-Knit Sweaters

Since you are reading Television Without Pity, there's a strong likelihood that you are familiar with a little show called Chuck that we talked about obsessively for a few years. Chuck was a nerdy guy who got his life flipped upside down when his brain got filled with a high-tech government computer, and then he got a super attractive handler, a secret identity and had a lot of adventures. This new CBS procedural has a remarkably similar premise, with a little bit of Six Million Dollar Man thrown in for good measure. The main difference between Intelligence and Chuck (aside from the obviously larger budget) is that they got rid of all the nerd factor and the quirkiness and increased the hotness. Here, Gabriel (Josh Holloway of Lost fame) is all clean-cut, former military and sporting cable-knit sweaters. He's got a lovely handler (hey there, Little Red Riding Hood) and still has the computer in his brain that makes him an asset and a weapon.

And on paper, it doesn't sound so bad. Chuck with a less geeky guy should appeal to the masses (and don't get me wrong, he does look pretty hot in those giant sweaters), but it just comes off like every other slick CBS procedural out there. If you like Person of Interest or NCIS of any variety, then you'll probably like this. Marg Helgenberger, a 12-season veteran of CSI, doesn't hurt, either. And that's fine. I'll cop to watching my fair share of procedurals. I can sit through an occasional Person of Interest or The Mentalist, and Hawaii Five-0 remains a guilty pleasure. But that doesn't make them must-see TV, and that pretty much sums up my feelings about Intelligence. I have a strong suspicion that I could tune into this show in eight weeks and not have a problem figuring out what is going on. Gabriel is still going to be searching for his wife and trading barbs with Riley (Meghan Ory from Once Upon a Time), while Lillian (Helgenberger) tries to keep them both in check as they keep Gabriel out of enemy clutches or use his supercomputer brain to solve a crime.

And I probably will tune in again sporadically, when DVR conflicts allow, because the cast is so darned likeable. I was happy to see that my science-nerd needs were being filled by Michael Rady (of the short lived Emily Owens, M.D. and that awful Melrose Place sequel), as all these sorts of shows need a techy guy, even if the lead has a powerful microchip embedded in his brain. I would love it if the series can overcome the rote premise and become some ridiculous soapy fun like Alias, or at least have fun twists like Scandal, but I'm not exactly what you'd call hopeful about that scenario.

Did you watch the premiere of Intelligence? What did you think?

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