Intelligence, maybe. Eye candy, yes

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IOL Intelligence ABC STUDIOS Josh Holloway

Debashine Thangevelo

WITH art imitating life and vice versa, Hollywood’s storyboard of ideas is undeniably saturated with pioneering concepts of myriad genres.

But groundbreaking does not a hit show make. The reality is that some series will prove to be goldmines for the network while others will remain fool’s gold, so to speak.

Of late, there has been an unmistakable fascination with cyber- and futuristic-themed offerings à la The Tomorrow People, Almost Human and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, only the latter of the three shows got the green light for a second instalment.

The jury is still out as to whether writers, in their resolve to generate an appetite for such offerings, are failing because their efforts are too ambitious or if there are simply too many shortcomings from the conception to execution phases of the series.

While that debate marinates in minds, aficionados of the genre are exposed to Intelligence.

If those TV trailers are anything to go by, this hi-tech espionage thriller piques curiosity with its casting of Josh Holloway (Lost), Marg Helgenberger (CSI) and Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time) and the Johnny Mnemonic-esque premise.

The storyline revolves around Gabriel (Holloway), an ex-Delta Force operator and now a hi-tech intelligence operative with a microchip implant that makes him an immensely powerful asset and a target at the same time. He reports to Lillian Strand (Helgenberger), who is director of the US Cyber Command. Given the daily external threats facing Gabriel, Lillian assigns Riley Neal (Ory), a former secret service agent and now a US CyberCom Special Agent, as his bodyguard.

I wonder whether this defiance of logic by having Gabriel, who can clearly hold his own with that imposing physique and skills set, assigned a sexy female bodyguard is what did the series in. In blatantly attempting to create some sexual tension/chemistry on screen, the writers’ “creative liberty” (more like logically impaired action) has proved to be more burdensome and preposterous than praiseworthy.

However, being the eye candy that he is with those deep dimples and chiselled features, I’m sure that the lanky actor will bag an audience in South Africa. Making inroads on the big screen with roles in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Paranoia and Sabotage, he is pretty chuffed about his next big TV outing after Lost.

In a chat with, he said: “First off, I have always wanted to play a spy. I had three brothers growing up and we have been playing versions of that game my whole life. So there was that. And I had a skill set there that’s not really been used. I have a movie coming out, very soon, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Ayer (director), called Sabotage, and David required us to go through SWAT school. It just trained me up. All of my skills are tight for this type of role. I thought that was fun, too.”

Being a sci-fi fan as well, Holloway thought the advanced technological aspect of the series lent itself well to real life and the techno-savvy populace.

Of his scenes and interaction with seasoned actress Helgenberger, he offered: “They have a deep respect and history that will be explored. She’s been in the military a long time, so has he. I love Marg and I love what she’s bringing to this character. It’s such a strong character. What she’s bringing to it is what I actually feel like women would bring to politics. They have a power in making decisions but an empathy because, by nature, women bring life and make life, where men conquer in their conquests.”

Amid the action, drama and intrigue, Gabriel is distracted by a personal mission – finding his wife who disappeared on a mission years ago. There is nothing like a bit of angst to propel the entertainment quotient. Pity it wasn’t enough to save the show!

Intelligence airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Friday at 7.30pm.

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